|In 1983, Commodore released
a game called Jack Attack for the Commodore 64. The object of the game was
to maneuver your character, Jack, a rather non-descript
looking bug-like character, around a screen made of platforms and blocks while
trying to smash monsters. To kill the monsters, you could jump on them or "smush" them
by moving the blocks around the screen. I'm guessing that a lot of the readers
out there are too young to remember the Commodore 64 computer. In its heyday,
it was one of the premier gaming platforms. Looking back, it seems amazing
that so many people spent so much time playing a lot of the games for it. They
now look really antiquated. Looks, however, can be deceiving. While many of
today's games have graphics that can really drop jaws, many lack the sheer
gameplay and fun of many older, less fancy-looking games from the 1980s. Jack
Attack was one of those games that lacked graphical prowess, but made up for
it in addictive gameplay.
Seris Applications has revived Jack's
quest to "smush" the monsters
in Jack Attack 2, an updated version of the original game. Original designer
Kevin Kieller is back at the helm, along with some graphics and musical helpers,
to reintroduce the game to a new legion of gamers. Does the game still have
what it takes to compete in today's marketplace?
Attack 2, like its predecessor, isn't much to look at. Jack's new rendered
3D appearance doesn't do much to disguise the fact that he's just a 2D sprite
character. The rest of the graphics -- what little there are anyway -- are
simply 2D drawings given a slightly 3D look via shading and perspective effects.
And, like its predecessor, the graphics don't really mean much. The object
is still to kill the monsters as fast as possible and gain the platform bonuses.
The player, as Jack, can push and pull blocks to smash the monsters. Jack
can also jump on top of the blocks to reach platforms (and to jump on the heads
of the monsters.) Some of the platforms are unreachable and the game tempts
you to figure out how to reach them before time runs out. Once the timer expires,
the platforms disappear, meaning the bonuses obtained by touching them all
disappear as well. The meat of the game comes in trying to kill all the monsters
while figuring out how to reach those platforms.
A new addition to the game is the cooperation and competition aspect of gameplay.
Now, two players can play at the same time, choosing to cooperate or compete
for the bonuses in each of the over 100 levels.
Trying to review a game like this
poses some odd problems. One of the game's assets is that it's so simple
to learn, there's not much to describe. It's
also hard to describe why a simple game like this is fun to play without being
able to let you to play it. (Currently, no demo version of the game exists.)
So, I'll boil it down to whether or not the game is worth the money. The answer
is, "Yes." However, there's a catch. It's worth it so long as you
realize that this isn't going to make anyone get too excited about the graphics
or audio found in the game. It's a puzzle/action game, not Half-Life. People
still buy games like this and the people that do will (or should) find this
game to their liking.
Tested on: Pentium II 233 MHz, 192 MB RAM, 32X CD-ROM drive, Nvidia TNT 2
w/ 32 MB, Logitech MouseMan mouse, and Windows 98.