Bomb Jack

aka: Arcade Archives: Bomb Jack
Arcade Specs [ all ]
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Buy on Amiga
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Description official descriptions

In Bomb Jack, the player controls Jack, who must collect all the bombs in order to complete the current round and go onto the next one. This sounds easy, right? Wrong! Making Jack's task difficult are numerous enemies such as birds, mummies, turtles, and orbs.

In each round, collecting a number of bombs results in a bonus coin appearing, and collecting this coin will make the player's score increase 2 to 4 times. More often than not, the "power ball" appears, and when you collect this, you can defeat enemies and have more time to collect all the bombs. There is also the "E" coin, which gives Jack one additional life, but rarely does this coin appear.

The more you progress through the game, the more difficult it becomes, as enemies travel more quickly to get you.


  • アーケードアーカイブス ボンジャック - Japanese Nintendo Switch / PS4 spelling
  • ボンジャック - Japanese spelling

Groups +



Credits (Commodore 64 version)

4 People

Level music adapted from (uncredited)



Average score: 74% (based on 27 ratings)


Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 78 ratings with 3 reviews)

A truly classic arcade game brought to life superbly

The Good
The action is fast paced, with excitement building up extremely quickly, as you attempt to find a gap between the enemies in order to grab the remaining bombs. Controlling the character as he jumps and falls is crucial, and the margins of error are often slim. You need to plan a strategy and execute it perfectly, all in split-second precision.

The varied backdrops are pleasant, and well-implemented under the Spectrum's limited colour palette. The castle looks particularly impressive. This is easily the equal of Elite's excellent Commando conversions. Jack himself is a well-drawn sprite who moves dynamically and smoothly.

The game's design is extremely fair, as the enemies don't immediately take effect when activated, or as they return from having been tokens - meaning that every time you lose a life, you know it's your own fault.

The Bad
There's no simultaneous 2-player mode, and the death sequence isn't the same as in the arcade or ST versions.

The Bottom Line
Bomb Jack must jump around the levels clearing them of bombs, negotiating differing layouts of barriers and ledges, while avoiding the movement paths of the enemies (some of which have pre-programmed movement, while others are intelligent and home in on your position). Tapping the fire button produces a short jump, while pushing up as you do so produces a much larger one.

Power ups appear in the form of hexagons with a letter in - E grants an extra life, P turns the baddies into edible tokens, and B doubles the points value of the remaining bombs.

It's essentially a combination of ideas from Pacman, Kabooom! and Jumpman, but executed superbly and full of thrills. Tellingly both Tecmo (Mighty Bombjack) and Elite (Bombjack II) attempted to advance the game style, but both made a mess of its inherent simplistic beauty. This really is a game anyone who's halfway interested in retro games should play, one way or another (and if you're not, you might be after a few goes)

ZX Spectrum · by Martin Smith (81365) · 2004

A very fun arcade game

The Good
You play as a superhero who has to defuse the bombs on each screen/level (called round) before some unknown bastard blows up an array famous landmarks. Your abilities are jumping high (almost flying) and gliding with your cape. Each level has an assortment of nonsensical foes spawning in a specific order (the mummies multiply, the birds follow you, etc). There are 5 landmarks repeating trough 20 different levels.

The gameplay is simple, frantic and addictive. I had trouble to get into it until I figured out the proper controls (up+fire button=high jump; left/right+tapping fire button while falling=gliding; fire button has to be held down to execute the jump and as soon as you release it you start falling). The game can be played two ways: casually (just collecting all the bombs), or precisely (collecting the flashing bombs IN SEQUENCE) for higher points. The latter requires that you master the above mentioned controls. Some areas are hard to clear out because the monsters keep dwelling there, but there is a trick: when the monsters have spawned, before they turn around for the first time, they cannot harm you! Bonus pills, and invincibility pills (à la Pacman!), and extra life appear at certain times that you have to catch.

There are barely any sound effects, but the music is superb! Mark Cooksey replaced the cheerful melodies from the arcade original with some powerful tunes. Gameplay music it is a rendition of Jean Michel Jarre's Magnetic Fields Part 2.

The graphics is not that great, but it works. For some reason Bomb Jack looks like he has pointy black hair instead of the blue mask/helmet he is supposed to wear, even tough it is referneced on the figrures on the live counter.

The Bad
The in-game music gets annoying because it gets interrupted with other tunes all the time. The levels are very short, they can be beaten in less than a minute, or likewise you can die within seconds, and then different tunes pop in acknowledging that, then the tune restarts from the beginning. The problem is, the MUSIC is actually WAY TO GOOD TO BE INTERRUPTED! You never can hear the full loop because the gameplay is just too frantic. One way the arcade original is more reasonably tought out because it fittingly has a short looping music. The C64 version makes me want to keep listening to Magnetic Fields!

When you loose a life, the animation looks naughty. Okay, I get that it is supposed to be a halo and an angel appearing over the upside down body of Bomb Jack, but I cannot unsee it being a literal representation of the phrase "You are fd!" X(

*The Bottom Line

Elite once again produced a very good C64 game based on a Japanese arcade coin-op license (and took some artistic liberties). It is a classic and a must play in the C64's library.

Commodore 64 · by 1xWertzui (1135) · 2017

A little different to the coin-op, but just as much fun!

The Good
When Tecmo released Bomb Jack in the arcades in 1984, it was without a doubt a surprise hit. Shortly afterwards, developer Tehkan and publisher Elite Systems got the license to create and publish the game on the home computers available at the time. These ports were well received, but it was the Commodore 64 version that stood out the most. Not only was the original game very much intact, but the developers put in some of their own ideas so that the game would push the machine to its limits. These ideas worked well, and the Commodore 64 version turned out to be one of the best known home versions of the game. These new ideas include the increase in difficulty level by placing more baddies on screen, a new death sequence (Jack turns upside down with wings coming out of him!), and re-worked music. The idea that worked best was the re-worked music. The in-game and title music are one of the best tunes to come out of the Commodore 64s SID chip... They are just so memorable!

Bomb Jack is a lot of fun. It's simple nature and gameplay will keep you coming back for more. The game itself is very challenging... trying to beat the top score will take you ages! Collecting bombs have never been so much fun!

The Bad
It's not quite like the original. With more baddies on screen, different music and death sequence, you might be disappointed in some way or another.

The Bottom Line
It may be a little different, but that doesn't stop this being a classic. A fantastic and brilliantly playable game that I would recommend to anyone!

Commodore 64 · by pottyboy (68) · 2005


Subject By Date
Browser version Mtik333 (24366) Dec 5th, 2020
What does the burning bomb fuse mean? porg (1) Nov 30th, 2010


1001 Video Games

Bomb Jack appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Background graphics

The two sides of the original tape for the C16 version had different background graphics

BBC Micro version

The game was also in development for the BBC Micro, before Elite abandoned the system in late 1987. There are rumours that a few fatally bugged copies hit the shelves before being recalled, but nothing has yet been found.


The A BGM of the original arcade game is in fact a cover of the theme song of the animated TV series Spoon obasan (Mrs. Pepperpot), sung by Mari Iijima.


  • Computer Gamer
    • February 1986 (issue #17) - Included in the list Spectrum Collection (the best Spectrum ZX games since 1985 by editorial staff choice)
  • Happy Computer
    • Issue 04/1987 - #20 Best Game in 1986 (Readers' Vote)

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Identifiers +


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Katakis | カタキス.

Wii added by Lance Boyle. Amiga added by B.L. Stryker. Nintendo Switch added by Rik Hideto. Arcade added by FatherJack. PlayStation 4 added by Sciere. Commodore 16, Plus/4, SG-1000, Mophun, J2ME added by Kabushi. Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum added by Martin Smith. Game Boy added by festershinetop. ExEn added by Eric THOMMEROT. PC-88 added by Terok Nor. Atari ST added by Servo. Windows added by big jim.

Additional contributors: Sciere, Martin Smith, Игги Друге, Patrick Bregger, Grandy02, Rik Hideto, Jo ST, FatherJack.

Game added July 8th, 2003. Last modified September 19th, 2023.