Jaws Unleashed is a 2006 action video game inspired by the 1975 film Jaws. It was developed by Appaloosa Interactive (developer of the popular Ecco the Dolphin series) and released by Majesco. Like the Grand Theft Auto series, the game features open world gameplay, with the player being able to roam freely throughout the water, feeding on other animals and even on humans; all the while destroying everything in its path. Jaws Unleashed was released for Microsoft Windows, Xbox and PlayStation 2.
Amity Island is growing, making corporate connections with prestigious companies like Environplus to improve the Island's economy. Unfortunately the increased population around the Island and recent industrial activity has also attracted one of Earth's most fearsome creatures and the game's main character: a great white shark. When the Environplus CEO's son is eaten by the ferocious beast, the CEO hires renowned shark hunter Cruz Raddock to track and kill the shark. Meanwhile, Marine Biologist Michael Brody tries to capture the shark for research. Players are introduced to the controls and abilities of Jaws in a tutorial, where the player kills several divers, learns to attack swimmers at a beach, and must destroy a set of docks. Michael shows up at this point, and captures Jaws and transports him to a waterpark, similar to Sea World.
The CEO puts Jaws in a holding tank, where Mayor Vaughn and Michael are arguing about what to do with the shark. The Mayor wants Jaws to be killed as he is endangering the beaches. After they leave, the shark eventually escapes from his holding tank, and destroys the waterpark. In one of the exhibit tanks, there is an orca battle. After this, the player is free to roam.
The Shark finds his way into a beach party in the middle of the night, and attacks the swimmers. When a truck starts throwing explosive barrels in the water, Jaws grabs one, and throws it at a pipe line filled with oil. The barrel explodes, causing a chain reaction as the oil ignites that causes the entire Environplus refinery to catch fire and collapse into the ocean. After this he causes more carnage such as destroying an underwater facility, destroying an oil shipment and finally killing the mayor. Seeing this as the last straw Cruz sets to blow up Jaws, but he is killed when his boat is destroyed. Brody looks down at the blood and wreckage of Cruz's boat, The Orca II. To make sure the shark is dead, he drops a bomb over the devastation zone. As Brody, aboard the Coast Guard helicopter flies off into the sunset, Jaws reveals himself to be alive when his single dorsal fin rises above the water line and begins to follow the helicopter as the game ends.
In Jaws: Unleashed, the player assumes the role of the shark Jaws. The shark first enters the island from the southern end and the player finds itself in a cove. The cove has tutorials to allow the player to become familiar with the controls, such as the ones for moving the shark and attacking other creatures. The shark has a menu for upgrades as well. These can be accessed from either the main menu or the pause menu. Upgrade points are earned by causing destruction around Amity Island (in levels and in free-roam mode), completing levels, and/or collecting bonus items, the most frequently found of which being treasure chests. There are numerous upgrade criteria to choose from. Players can choose to upgrade the shark's power, speed, hunger, health, or accuracy. During gameplay, there is a HUD in the lower-right corner of the screen. This HUD has four meters and a sonar that informs players of the positions of important objects, prey, and enemies. The two parallel meters above the sonar are for Jaws' health (right side, red-colored), and hunger (left side, green-colored). As Jaws becomes hungry, its health will diminish, forcing the player to "eat" constantly. The health bar will also diminish as Jaws takes damage. The last two meters are used to charge the shark's tail-whip and head-butt attacks. The more each meter fills, the stronger the attack is. The meters are on the left quadrant of the sonar, running along the arc with the head-butt meter on the outside and the tail-whip meter on the inside. The head-butt meter is orange when charging, flashing when fully charged, and is the same with the tail-whip meter, but it is purple instead of orange. Jaws has unique attacks in its arsenal. The shark can ram objects with its snout, whip others with its caudal tail, bite, and when the player earns enough points to upgrade Jaws' abilities, new attacks become unlocked, such as the "corkscrew" and the "body bomb." To perform a corkscrew attack, charge up the head-butt meter and tail-whip meter; head-butt first, then release the tail-whip button and the shark will spin around, causing damage to anything caught in its wake. To perform a body-bomb, simply charge the head-butt meter, point the shark upward, release movement button and the shark will fly up in the air, and smash back down.
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Jaws Unleashed was met with mixed reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PC version 60.12% and 55/100, the Xbox version 53.75% and 51/100 and the PlayStation 2 version 53.02% and 52/100. Most complaints against the game center around the game's glitches and freezing up and its camera problems. One of the most positive reviews came from IGN, which rewarded the game with a score of 7.4 out of 10 while calling it "Grand Shark Auto". Some other reviews however were far more harsh such as GameSpot who gave the game a rating of a 3.8 out of 10, while Official Playstation Magazine gave it a 1.5 out of 5. Game Informer magazine gave the game a sub-par 4.75, saying, "This game reaches a new level of video game absurdity, going well out of its way to make a complete mockery of the license it's based on." When the game was released on PC, players experienced a better overall performance, handling, and fewer problems during game play were reported, thus indicating the later released PC version to be better than the console versions, with an average score of 60%. The same has been thought to be true in the PAL (Europe) version as indicated by higher reviews scores (such as a 7/10 from OPN UK). Despite this, the game was a commercial success, selling over 250,000 copies on Xbox alone, therefore earning it GameSpot's "Worst Game Everyone Played of 2006" award.
- "Jaws Unleashed Release Information for PlayStation 2". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Jaws Unleashed Release Information for Xbox". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Jaws Unleashed Release Information for PC". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Jaws Unleashed (PC)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Jaws Unleashed (Xbox)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Jaws Unleashed (PS2)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Jaws Unleashed (PC)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Jaws Unleashed (PS2)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Jaws Unleashed (Xbox)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- Official Jaws Unleashed website
- Official Majesco Entertainment website
- Jaws Unleashed and Martha's Vineyard where Jaws was filmed
- NTSC-uk's Jaws Unleashed Review
- Jaws Unleashed at MobyGames