Jaws

Moby ID: 14032
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Loosely based on the fourth movie "Jaws: the Revenge", players take control of a ship to sail the ocean in the search for the killer shark. Along the way, the ship will stop to allow a diver to swim out and kill baby sharks, jellyfish and manta rays to find conch shells. The conch shells are used to buy upgrades for the boat. Extra conch shells can be earned in bonus rounds where a sea plane flies over the water to bomb jellyfish (think the bonus rounds of Galaga with reversed perspective).

The diver will battle Jaws several times in an attempt to wear down his life meter. If the player is lucky, they can find a submarine to increase their firepower and defense.

If the diver manages to wear down Jaws' energy, they take back to the boat again, launching strobes into the water in an attempt to lure the shark out of the water. If close enough, the player can use the boat to ram Jaws in an attempt to kill him and win the game.

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Credits (NES version)

4 People

Programmer (uncredited)
Graphics (uncredited)
Music (uncredited)
Cover illustration (uncredited)

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 41% (based on 13 ratings)

Players

Average score: 2.3 out of 5 (based on 31 ratings with 3 reviews)

I'd rather get crushed by Jaws' teeth than see this game ever again!

The Good
Well, I won't talk much about the good stuff about this game, because there isn't much to give this game "praise" for.

Quite a few people have been asking me to continue reviewing good games and bad games. Since I received quite a lot of positive feedback from the people who read my game reviews, I decided to start again by reviewing the infamous and terrible game; Jaws for the NES.

Now, like I said: there aren't many good things about this game. The only thing that seems a slight bit redeeming is that, well; it's JAWS: the great big hulking shark that kills people.

I recently saw the first Jaws movie and I couldn't be more relieved that there was a Jaws game for the NES. However, this was just another disappointment just like E.T. and Predator.

The Bad
Well, practically everything in this game shouts out, "GODAWFUL".

When you start off the game, you are told to head off into the ocean in search of (you guessed it) Jaws. This doesn't seem like a TOO bad idea, I guess someone has to do it. As soon as you start traveling, the screen will pause saying,” You’ve hit something!” You think it might be Jaws or something nasty, but it's NOTHING!

Just for this, you have to take a dive into the vast underwater area. As soon as you get lower, all you see are a bunch of harmless manta rays and jellyfish; they don't seem to bother me, so I (unwisely) chose to go near them! And if you touch ANY of them just once, you're a goner!

There's no way to get back to your ship, so the only way to get out is to kill a certain number of enemies. So after that mess up, I chose to go to the the local naval base just to find something to do. And I can't enter because (Get This) I DON*T HAVE ENOUGH SEA-SHELLS!

In order to get in, you have to kill more boring enemies in order to get into the base in order to get a radar in order to track down Jaws. Now, is there any point in getting the radar? I mean: He keeps on showing up out of nowhere and starts chasing you, so it isn't THAT hard to track him down!

When you eventually start fighting the big lug, you realize that something is terribly wrong; Jaws is too small and he is too hard to kill! And just to make matters worse, another shark pops out of nowhere and starts helping Jaws. At this point, I only focus on Jaws just to get the game finished as soon as possible.

When you finally get Jaws' health down to zero, all you have to do is shove a harpoon through his heart in order to end this torture. If you mess up here, you have to fight Jaws all over again. Eventually after the defeat of Jaws, you are treated to one of the world's worst endings ever.

The Bottom Line
You definitely shouldn't play this game, not even if you are the world's most patient gamer. This game was another attempt to catch the thrill of a great movie but failed.

If someone ever sold you this game, you were RIPPED-OFF and humiliated. This game is one of my least favorite movie-based games I have ever played. It's almost as bad as E.T. (see review)

Therefore, with all that said; Jaws receives a meager 0.5 out of 5.

NES · by Arejarn (7353) · 2008

Sharks Don't Get Revenge. Why Does This Game?

The Good
For the time, the graphics were recognizable. You knew exactly what manner of sea creatures you were fighting against, and when your boat was destroyed, you definitely felt vulnerable trying to stay alive. That feeling of helplessness was probably one of the most interesting aspects of the sea battles.

The bonus levels were also entertaining, playing out like a reverse Galaga. They were kind of fun and challenging.

The main Jaws theme was recognizable, and it had various tasks and perspectives to play through. The overworld map screen to purchase upgrades and power-ups, the ocean level which scrolled "deep" into the dark waters, and the first person final shark attack. The best and most interesting upgrade was the mini-sub, which actually improved gameplay a lot.

The Bad
The fourth Jaws was an illogical movie. This also holds the same for the game. Why this shark is so bent on coming after you personally is never explained, and I don't think ever rationally could be. Other aspects of why the hero would take a sea plane out just to bomb cheerfully dancing jellyfish in the bonus levels.... Well, it's best to just not question a man who does something like that.

While it does have the Jaws theme, the rest of the music is bland. Not horrible or grating, but it's not something you're going to want to find a copy of the soundtrack for.

Control as the diver was spotty, but almost forgivable, as the player was underwater. And fighting Jaws was a chore. It took hundreds of hits to actually engage him in the final battle, and is only made tolerable by the "Turbo" setting on a NES Advantage or Max. The last battle is also very boring, and any sense of accomplishment is wiped away by an almost non-existent ending.

I also felt disappointed that this was a bloodless game. There were some NES games that had just a hint of blood. Fighting a killer shark and remembering the first movie, I wanted a blood stain, a missing arm.... something. Sadistic? Perhaps. But that's why you went to see these movies at the time. The original Jaws just happened to be backed by a great story among the gore.

The Bottom Line
During the time, LJN released a grip of movie-themed games to the NES, several of them focusing on popular horror films of the time.

The game said "Jaws", not "Jaws: The Revenge". I was young and naive, and thought I'd be filled with hunting down the shark like Quint and Brody did, weary from the epic battle that could come from this. Only my fingers were weary after pumping countless mini-spears into the shark, and wondering why we were even having this unpleasant confrontation in the first place.

It's an average game. It's not horrible, but it's one that can be played, beaten, and set aside in an hour or so. If the battles had been more varied, and the final confrontation had been more interesting, perhaps it would have been a more satisfying experience. As it stands, I'm looking forward to the next incarnation on the Playstation 2. That looks to be a more satisfying experience, John Williams theme and all.

NES · by Guy Chapman (1748) · 2006

Jump The Shark

The Good
The Jaws film franchise had basically "Jumped The Shark" by the time that the final film was released. What had started out as a groundbreaking and downright terrifying 1970s horror film had, by the 1980s, grown tedious, silly and downright stale.

This did not bode well for video game adaptions, especially when it was in the hands of the folks at LJN. With very few exceptions, no video game was ever released with the LJN label that was not an epic failure.

True, Nintendo had strict "family friendly" censorship polices for all games made on one of its systems. True, even without the censorship guidelines, their were practical limitations concerning what a cartridge-based video game for a 8-bit home console could realistic be in terms of interactivity.

However, even taking into account these realities, "Jaws" is one of many LJN games that seemed to exist to insult all gamers, especially fans of the film or comic book that the video game was based on.

The Bad
Jaws features substandard video game graphics, animation, sound, music. Even for the late 1980s, the game's visual and audio effects were below average.

Yet, perhaps the worst thing about this game is how LJN decided to adapt the film. Game play mechanics are not remotely entertaining and seem only vaguely related to the film.

The player controls a fishing boat with the singular goal of getting the boat from one port to another and back again. Each time this is done, the game rewards the player with particular upgrades that are needed to beat the game.

While moving back on forth between the two sea ports, the boat is randomly attacked by sea creatures. When this happens the player then controls an underwater scuba diver as he shoots sea creatures in order to collect items.

Sometimes Jaws attacks the boat, in which case the player can attempt to hit the nefarious fish a few times, before being taken to the underwater scuba diving sequence.

Assuming that you do not die, you will eventually have enough upgrades and items to defeat Jaws. If you die, well then you get to begin from the beginning of the game. If you manage to kill the shark, you get a lame ending and, yes, get to start the game from the beginning.

Frankly, you will probably want to quit the game long before you have beaten it.

The Bottom Line
By the late 1980s, the "Jaws" film franchise had "Jumped The Shark", and it would seem that the Nintendo game adaption of the, once great, horror film, franchise suffered a same fate.

NES · by ETJB (428) · 2012

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Guy Chapman.

Additional contributors: Apogee IV.

Game added July 14, 2004. Last modified September 1, 2023.