Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone

Archive Review: Jumping Flash! (Playstation)

Seldom does a game come along that is as much fun and endlessly entertaining as this masterpiece from Sony's in-house software division. Far from being just another platformer-mascot game, this takes the whole genre into a new level of realism and excitement. Jumping Flash! takes two disparate genres the cute Japanese platform game and Doom into a wildly inventive game that leaps over artificial boundaries and creates something almost entirely new. In the game you play as Robbit, a cyborg rabbit. Your mission is to recapture the pieces of your world that have been stolen by the evil Baron Aloha. In each of the levels you have to jump around and explore each world while you look for 4 jetpods, collect all four of these jetpods and you have to go to the exit you jump off the exit and fly to the next world. But it isn't quite as simple as that, the evil robotic minions of Baron Aloha are also afoot. 

They all have different ways of hurting your cause. when you shoot them, they explode, causing either coins or powerups to appear. You should grab these. Each level a miniature world, meaning you can jump and explore the whole thing, but beware: there are many traps and some of the jumps are difficult, this can cause Robbit to fall of the world and lose one of his lives. The enemies are all polygon based creatures, complete with bitmaps and texture mapping. The effect they have is at once realistic and surreal, these are in keeping with the rest of the game. There are a few enemy bosses, which look really neat as well, you should save your powerups for when you face these baddies: most of the regular enemies tale only a hit or two to destroy anyhow so it's best to save your big ammo. This makes the game much more immersive. Of course, all this sounds fairly rudimentary, until you realize that the game takesplace in first person 3D. When you jump, robot automatically looks down, causing a realistic sensation of jumping or falling. This gives the game a palpable sense of realism and personal danger that is missing in other games of this genre. 

The simulations of vertigo and speed the programmers were able to program are nothing short of breathtaking. This is one of those rare designs that make it impossible for the player not to suspend their disbelief and assume the role of Robbit, it's quite an amazing feat when you consider the legions of games that have tried and failed at this approach. Of course all this would be for naught if Jumping Flash! wasn't fun to play. Luckily it is. It's a blast to play, it's not that difficult to play the game for hours on end. The missions are challenging though not too difficult and highly enjoyable. The variety of the eye-popping landscapes is great. While there are only about 15 stages, they differ greatly from each other, each is it's own mini-world. These range from grassy country locales complete with church bell towers and cheery complicated carnival parks to dark caverns and Tokyo on acid. The controls in the game are also fabulous, even novice players should have no problem controlling Robbit's jumps and descents. Experts will learn to use his shadow as a guide. Its quite a thrill to pull of a dangerous jump, especially when it brings you to one of the cool bonus levels. The smooth controls make the game irresistible. The designers have chosen a brightly colored fantasy land for most of the levels . Sharing the company of games like Mario and Sonic, Jumping Flash! has a quality like a childhood dream on acid. The music is absolutely charming and fits this perfectly as well. Sorry to sound like an advertisement but Jumping Flash! is right up there with the best the Playstation has to offer. From a technical standpoint, it's above the rest, the scaling, rotation and look of the game is almost flawless. One especially good effect is the layer of fog that obscures the lower levels when you're on a platform high above the playing field below in the clouds.. As you fall spinning toward the earth, don't be surprised if you find yourself getting dizzy. This isn't a game for people who are afraid of heights. 

While many complain that the next generation systems haven't delivered their promises yet, Jumping Flash along with a bunch of other high quality innovative. games prove the naysayers wrong. while some say that 32-bit systems offer nothing that can't be achieved on 16-bit systems, I challenge them to find a game even close to Jumping Flash!, they can't What makes this game stand out isn't the plot, or the technically excellent graphics or the addicting gameplay alone, it's a combination of all these that makes Jumping Flash such a joy to play. It's a truly innovative, original and irresistible game that players will find themselves hopelessly addicted to. If you haven't already, Jump over to your nearest software store and grab this game. It's nearly guaranteed that you'll love this game. If you've passed over Jumping Flash! because it looks like a "kiddie game", you haven't seen the future of gaming. Anybody who tells you otherwise doesn't know what they are talking about.

Gameplay  9
Control   9
Graphics  9
Sound/Music  9
Innovation   9
Overall  9

> Originally appeared in "The Laser" #15 - May 1996

By Michael Palisano