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|Designer(s)||Michitaka Tsuruta, Kazutoshi Ueda|
|Mode(s)||Single player, 2-player alternating|
|Arcade system||Main CPUs: Z80 (4Mhz)|
|Sound||Sound CPU: Z80 (3.072Mhz))
Sound Chips: 3 x AY8910 (1.5Mhz)
|Display||Standard resolution raster|
Bomb Jack (ボンジャック Bon Jakku?) is an arcade platform game that was released in 1984 by Tehkan (known today as Tecmo). It was followed by two official sequels, the console and computer title Mighty Bomb Jack, and the arcade game Bomb Jack Twin and the licensed for computers only Bomb Jack II.
Plot and gameplay
The player controls Jack, a superhero who can leap and glide. Someone has planted 24 bombs at famous tourist sites (the Sphinx and Great Pyramids, the Acropolis, Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, and two cityscapes resembling Miami Beach and Hollywood, which appear only as screen backgrounds rather than unique game locations). Jack must fly around the screen to collect the bombs. Each screen uses a different configuration of platforms upon which Jack may run and jump. Eventually, the levels reoccur a number of times with increasing difficulty.
Jack "defuses" the bombs by simply touching them. As soon as he has touched the first, he triggers a sequence in which another bomb's fuse lights up, and so on. A player can score a bonus in each round by touching 20 or more bombs in the correct lit-fuse sequence. Jack may also defuse an unlit bomb by touching it, but this impedes his opportunity to score the bonus for that screen. It also delays the appearance of the game's bonuses and power-ups.
Bomb Bonuses are triggered when Jack touches the first of 24 onscreen bombs. It is possible to collect the remaining bombs in fuse order, the maximum being 23 (the top score possible on a level). Expert players would combine this with X5 'b's for the largest multiplier score available.
The lit fuses have no strategic purpose other than the bonus; a lit bomb left unattended does not explode, although the onscreen enemies become faster the longer Jack is flying around and they eventually start to follow him at speed. At this point, new enemies appear in the form of flying saucers, that 'lock on' to Jack and are difficult to avoid.
Enemies such as birds, mummies, turtles, and orbs float around the screen, making Jack lose a life if he touches them. Collecting bombs will increase the bonus meter at the top of the screen (collecting lit bombs increases it more). When the meter is completely filled up, a circular bouncing "P" appears, and when collected, it will turn all the enemies into bonus coins for a short period during which Jack may collect them. Other similar bonuses are the B (Bonus) which increases the score multiplier (up to 5x), the E (Extra) which gives an extra life, and the rare S (Special), which awards a free game.
The Twin Galaxies highest scores for Bomb Jack on the MAME (arcade) platform are 73,378,560 on marathon settings, and 4,888,740 on tournament settings (5 lives only), achieved by Paul Kearns of London. He has many videos and a walkthrough tutorial on his YouTube channel.
- 1985: Sega SG-1000
- 1986: Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 16
- 1988: Atari ST, Amiga
- 1992: Game Boy
- 2003: Java ME
- 2004: Playstation 2 (Tecmo Hit Parade), MSX (Unofficial "homebrew")
- 2005: Xbox (Tecmo Classic Arcade)
- 2007: Wii Virtual Console (NES version)
- 2008: Atari XL/XE (Unofficial "homebrew")
- 2009: Wii Virtual Console (Arcade version)
- 2012: 3DS Virtual Console (NES version)
- 2014: PlayStation Network (part of the Arcade Archives series)Wii U Virtual Console (NES version)
Crash magazine gave the Sinclair ZX Spectrum version a 92% rating with the comment "A great arcade conversion, don’t miss it", while Zzap!64 was less enthusiastic for the Commodore 64 version giving it 47%. Commodore User gave the Amiga version 6 out of 10 citing that the Amiga should be well capable of doing better on such an old arcade game. (At the time of release the game was four years old).
Bomb Jack's Round 1 music is the ending song from the Japanese animated cartoon series Spoon Obasan (Mrs. Pepper Pot), sung by Mari Iijima. Round 2 was set to the music of the Beatles' Lady Madonna, which had been licensed by Tehkan. When the game was re-released on the Tecmo Classic Arcade compilation for Xbox, the music from Mighty Bomb Jack for the NES was used, due to the music licensing issues. The Commodore 64 version used Jean-Michel Jarre's Magnetic Fields Part II.
Bomb Jack II is a confusing licensed follow-up developed for 8-bit home computers by the British games publisher Elite Systems in 1986. The game went to number 2 in the UK sales charts, behind Leaderboard. This game marked quite a radical departure from the concept of the original game (Jack no longer has a cape, his helmet only has horns in the artworks, not in the actual game, bombs have now inexplicably become sacks of gold, the revolutionary control mechanism that made the original game such a joy to play has been ditched, and Jack is now armed with a tiny knife with which he may choose to stab ineffectually at enemies in order, not to kill them, but rather to push them to their doom from the platforms to which all moving characters are now locked. The enemies still evolve, but that fact and the 'idea' of having an ideal bonus sequence for what you are collecting are really the only similarities between the glorious Bomb Jack and the head-scratchingly peculiar Bomb Jack II). Mighty Bomb Jack is a platforming arcade game that was released in 1986 It is very much more in keeping with the original title, although it largely was identical to the original game in almost all factors except that the same screen layouts from the first game in the same sequence were now linked in a map-like continuous form by Super Mario-esque scrolling passages and there are now chests everywhere.
- "Bomb Jack". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 5 Oct 2013.
- "Bomb Jack he [Coin-Op] Arcade Video Game by Tehkan [Tokyo, Japan]". arcade-history.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "Paul Kearns' Youtube Channel".
- "Kralizec's Bomb Jack for MSX2". msx-universe.com. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
- Your Sinclair Top Ten Games, Your Sinclair (7), July 1986, retrieved 2013-09-29
- "Review - Bomb Jack". Crash (27): 20–21. April 1986. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
- "Review - Bomb Jack". Zzap!64 (28): 14. June 1986. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
- "Review - Bomb Jack". Commodore User (28): 14. June 1986. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
- Your Sinclair Top Ten Games, Your Sinclair (17), May 1987, retrieved 2013-09-29