ZX Computing

Bomb Jack II

Publisher: Elite
Machine: Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #38

Bomb Jack II

Well, that's it, the end of an era. Bomb Jack II arrived in the office and once I'd clubbed all the competition senseless I won the honour of loading it up and getting to review the sequel to Bomb Jack, one of the most addictive games in the history of the entire universe. But to be honest, it was a bit of a disappointment.

The basic format of the game is more or less the same as in the original arcade game - you guide Bomb Jack around dozens of screens full of platforms and bombs, in an attempt to defuse them all - but somehow the 'feel' of the game isn't the same. The main difference between the two games is that, in Bomb Jack II, you now have a 'stab' button that allows you to fight the reptiles on the earlier screens. Somehow though, I don't think that this really adds to the game since it actually removes some of the element of high speed panic that was so much a part of the first game. This does help if you're trying to rack up a high score but isn't as much fun as all that leaping around and trying to defuse the bombs in the correct order at the same time as avoiding the monsters that are patrolling the platforms.

I would have expected the graphics to be tidied up a little too. The original Bomb Jack suffered from some quite bad masking problems when sprites overlapped. These have been improved, but the graphics now look a little bit cramped an the figure of Jack looks a bit like a small man in a flat cap rather than the dynamic caped sprites that we're all use to.

To be fair, Bomb Jack II isn't that bad a game but I simply didn't find it as compellingly addictive as its predecessor. On the other hand, the original Bomb Jack is included on the other side of the tape so if you haven't already got it, then it's probably worthwhile buying Bomb Jack II and getting both games for the price of one.