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9  |  Jumping For Joy (Or Explosives, Or Something...)
Darryl B. , 4/28/2006 8:48:57 PM
When Jumpman came out, it was a pretty good time for gaming: arcades were still doing decent business, there was plenty of software available to choose from for all kinds of home video game consoles, and computers, originally thought to be boring devices for stuffy grown-ups, were becoming a bit affordable and offered many more services than boring grown-up stuff by having games as well (funny, since nowadays the majority of computer usage IS for entertainment, for downloading music, playing games, getting online, etc., as Atari was rumored back then to create their line of personal computers just so you could play games on them [what heresy!]).

Plus, with computers being more powerful than most games-only consoles, games like Jumpman, Lode Runner, Boulder Dash, etc. made console-only owners sit up and take notice, as those games provided many levels (something a lot of console games didn't have, rather than just screens of stuff to shoot), a variety of challenges to overcome, and a bunch of puzzles to solve, and some of them had bonuses added as well, like creating your own levels.

Nowadays, though, Jumpman wouldn't be a whole heck of a lot to raise any young gamers' eyebrows at first glance that were raised on polygon graphics, sweeping cinemas, highly textured backgrounds and realism, etc. The game's not in 3-D. The majority of the time your character, the Jumpman, just jumps around, collecting things, like a ballet dancer with springs on his feet (luckily he isn't wearing a tutu on the box cover, though). There's no voice synthesis, any cinemas to speak of (except for when he dies [I guess], which I'll get to), nor even any MUSIC, for crying out loud (if I remember correctly, it's been a while since I've played it)! However, due to the level of difficulty and variety and all, it can still provide a challenge to the newer breed of gamers nowadays as well.

The object of the game is to gather all explosive devices in a level so you can make it to the next one. Actually, all of the so-called explosive devices look more like big dots to me. Yes, the graphics in this game weren't that great, but the details to everything were a bit small, so they actually weren't that bad for back then.

Some levels require you just figuring out how to gather all of the dots while just a lone bullet tracks you. This is kind of a strange nemesis, as it just floats around the playfield until it lines up with you either horizontally or vertically, then it takes off like the shot that it is. I can understand it wanting to do you in, due to the very non-macho act of jumping around for everything, but I don't know what makes it hover until before then, unless it has to do with the game being set in outer space (with little or no gravity), which has you float around and jump rather slowly. Good going, Twinkletoes.

Other levels, though, have dreaded robots and all as enemies, and at times you're allowed a weapon to dispose of them. This is where the game gives you a nice variety, which is why I think that, out of playing Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Sonic and Knuckles for the Sega Genesis, the only Sonic games I own to this day are the original and the Sega CD version, since I get tired of running all the time, as sometimes I just want to bleepin' SHOOT something as a defense; running around is just boring to me, and gets old at times (unlike how most gamers, in general, say to get all of the Sonic games, which I don't agree, but I'm in the minority there). Bleah...

With the game being a pretty decent challenge, changing it's rules around, giving you a variety, and being addicting, about the only bad thing I can say about it is that there was some miserable glitch that made you die at times for no reason, and I don't mean that you were so low to the ground that you didn't see the bullet appear and it killed you, I think it was on the screens that involved a moving ladder that you must climb onto in order to navigate the screen (I can't say for sure, since, like I mentioned earlier, it's been a while since I played it). I think what the deal was that, at times, it looked like you had a handhold on something, then you bit the dust anyway (for no apparent reason that you could tell). Oh well, Jumpman would fall all the way down the screen whenever he died, collecting all the dots that he could on his way down (dunno if he was that dedicated to his job, or he was just desperately trying to gain a handhold as he fell), so you couldn't get too mad at the game, and that glitch became so well-known that the sequel of Jumpman Jr. was touted as to being "without bugs!" (as one magazine's blurb read back in the day) when it was released.

So, if you've got any young punks that think old fart games like this are lame, see if THEY can beat it. Go ahead, punks! If it's so lame, how come you can't get past the first five levels yet? Huh? Huh?! (menacingly waves old man gamer's cane in punk's face) Make my day, polygon-loving boy! Your new Tomb Raider game sucks!9/10

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