Jumping Flash! North American box art featuring the protagonist Robbit
|Developer(s)||Exact Co., Ltd.
Ultra Co., Ltd.
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Genre(s)||3D Platform game
|Distribution||1 × CD-ROM|
Jumping Flash! (ジャンピングフラッシュ!) is a video game released in 1995 as a launch title for the Sony PlayStation. It was developed by Exact Co., Ltd. and Ultra Co., Ltd. and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. Jumping Flash! is a 3D platform game played from a first-person perspective.
Though Jumping Flash! was well received and did spawn a few sequels, the game was quickly overshadowed by other 3D platformers of the changing game generation. In 2007, Jumping Flash! was re-released in the PlayStation Store as a downloadable game for the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3.
An evil and demented astrophysicist named Baron Aloha has removed giant pieces of land from the Crater Planet, using his gigantic land-lifting machines, to turn into his own private resorts. Aloha has also removed and hidden away the Jet Pods that propel each world. As the residents of Crater Planet call for help, the Universal City Hall sends one of their agents, a robotic bunny named Robbit, to find the Jet Pods, stop Aloha, and save Crater Planet from emptiness.
Aloha surrounds himself with creatures called MuuMuus, small, white, five-limbed creatures with palm trees on their heads. Many of the game's full motion videos feature the MuuMuus in an izakaya, humorously recounting their defeat at the hands of Robbit.
The gameplay in Jumping Flash! is noted as being nearly identical to Geograph Seal, an earlier game by the same developer released in 1994 for the Sharp X68000. The game is presented in a first-person perspective, and the player can freely walk in three-dimensional space and rotate the camera in any direction. The user interface resembles that of viewing through Robbit's eyes. The top part of the screen shows the time remaining, the player's score, and Kumagoro, Robbit's sidekick who offers the player warnings and hints. The top left shows firework items, while the top right contains the radar, showing the location of various objects including enemies, power-ups, Jet Pods, and enemy projectiles. The bottom is filled out with a health meter on the sides with the number of lives in the center of it.
The core of the gameplay is centered around the player's ability to make Robbit jump. Robbit can jump up to three times, once off of a surface and twice in mid-air, allowing him to reach extreme heights. Unlike other platform games which continue to face horizontally when the player jumps, Jumping Flash! tilts the camera downwards when a double-jump or triple-jump is performed to allow the player to see Robbit's shadow and easily plan a landing spot. Jumping-chains can be performed using enemies and some projectiles.
The player has the ability to shoot a low-powered beam where a target indicator is centered in the middle of the screen. In addition, the player can find and use special items for Robbit in the form of fireworks to do massive damage to enemies, which include cherry bombs, rockets, Roman candles, and twisters.
Other power-ups scattered across each world come in the form of picture frames representing carrots to extend Robbit's health, extra lives, Time-Outs that stop the clock and freeze all the level's dynamics for a few seconds, hourglasses that extend the player's time, and Power Pills that make Robbit invincible for a short amount of time. Coins worth points can also be picked up by destroying enemies. The enemies are often of animal-like creatures such as kiwis and penguins, but also robots and plants. Most have simple actions such as wandering around aimlessly, shooting or throwing projectiles out randomly. A few, however, have more intelligence such as the bomb-forming beetles or missile-shooting pigs.
Jumping Flash! is composed of 6 worlds with 3 levels each, totaling 18 main levels, of which there are 7 boss levels and an extra 6 bonus stages available. In the main levels, the objective of the first two levels of each world is to collect 4 Jet Pods with the letters "E", "X", "I", and "T" on them. After collecting them, landing on the "EXIT Pad" is all that remains in finishing the level. The third level in each world is a boss fight. The level designs vary, from Egypt-style desert to a roller coaster-filled theme park. While most of the levels are large outdoor excursions, two of the game's levels are enclosed within a narrow interior and are somewhat maze-like. The hidden bonus levels feature various blocks with balloons in them; popping the balloons yields either coins or power-ups. A time attack mode is available for any level the player has completed. Upon completing the 18 main levels, the levels can be played again with objects rearranged and a more difficult setup.
Jumping Flash! was co-developed by Exact Co., Ltd. and Ultra Co., Ltd. The game was first introduced in early 1994 under the name "Spring Man" as a technology demonstration for the then-upcoming PlayStation hardware.
The music for Jumping Flash! was composed by Takeo Miratsu. Many of the tracks were included with tracks from Jumping Flash! 2, which Miratsu also composed, on the Jumping Flash! 2 Original Soundtrack. The soundtrack was published by Antinos Records in Japan in 1996.
Reception and legacy
Jumping Flash! received positive review scores after its release, including a 4.1/5 from GamePro, a 4/5 from Next Generation Magazine, and an 8.6/10 from Electronic Gaming Monthly. The game was scored a 34 out of 40 by Famitsu, ranking it among the magazine's top 120 PlayStation games of all time in 2000. IGN's original review gave Jumping Flash! a 7.5/10, stating that despite some the relatively small worlds and easy difficulty, it is "a great, genre-pushing game". Game Revolution cited the same complaints, but calls the graphics "mind blowing" and the game itself "totally unique", giving it an A- score. Albert Kim of Entertainment Weekly stated, "Perhaps the most euphoric sensation comes at the height of a turbocharged jump, when you can look below and see the world quietly slip away."
Despite its innovation and critical acclaim, other 3D platformers such as Super Mario 64 would go on to become a standard for the genre. In 2007, Matt Casamassina of IGN described Jumping Flash! as the third most underrated video game of all time. Jumping Flash! did manage to produce a few sequels. Jumping Flash! 2, also developed by Exact, was released worldwide on PlayStation a year later. Two loose sequels, Robbit Mon Dieu on PlayStation and Pocket MuuMuu compatible for the PocketStation, were released exclusively in Japan by Sugar and Rockets.
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