It's a gas, gas, gas

Jumping Jack Son logo

MUSIC has always come a poor second to visuals in computer games. It's always graphics first, then slap in a few bings, bongs and perhaps a tune if there is one handy. Rarely do the sonix actually play an important role, which is why I was actually quite looking forward to playing this game. I'd seen it on the ST, so I knew the Amiga version was going to be something my over-sized aural receptors would enjoy..

Big sprites are the flavour of the day. Big, colourful bouncy fun-to-be-with, cutely lovable sprites. All bouncing around a typically tile-effect landscape, avoiding baddies and collecting little awards and bonuses. Not quite mind-numbingly original perhaps, but well executed.

It was a surprise to see the scrolling background didn't have some form of parallax effects after the incredible number of hacker-type copper bar displays whizzing around the place. Parallax would make it just a shade more eye-catching.

But never mind, the important part of the game is the ear-catching part. The object is to collect - and I quote here - good old rock 'n roll records. There are several records on each level, and you are awarded one each time you can colour-match a group of tiles. As you pick the disks up, they start spinning on the Old Bang & Olufsen.

Thus the tune builds up, starting with the drums, then a bass riff joins in with a bit of a melody - it's actually quite good fun. The music is a groovy, funky blues-scale affair, made from good samples and generally quite pleasant on the ear, assuming you can stay alive (ah, ah, ah, ah, staying alive, staying alive... oops. Sorry. Got a bit carried away there) to listen to it. Unfortunately it stops if you get knobbled.

Of course, if it had started playing "Wish You Were Here" or "The Great Gig In The Sky" I would have rushed out and personally bought every copy I could find.

The opening credits music must get a mention because of the brilliant idea of adding an audience clapping and cheering. The first piece of sampled music?

So I'm sure you get the picture by now: Good, simple gameplay, lots of brainless fun and a darn good musical soundtrack. Whether the young, macho "shoot first, read the manual later" type of game player will be too embarrassed to be caught playing it remains to be seen.

Trying desperately to avoid being sexist and failing miserably, it's more of a little sister type game. Which is a pity, because the two sets of 16 levels provide quite a good challenge. I don't mind admitting it. "My name is cough... cough... Duncan Evans and I enjoy playing Jumping Jackson".

Jumping Jack Son logo

INFOGRAMES £19.99 * Joystick

Hands up who likes Rock music! That many, huh? Well, imagine a place where there is no more rock and only classical music remains. Sounds pretty dull, doesn't it? This is the situation in Infogrames' latest 'jolly' offering - remember Bubble Ghost? Creaky old conductors rule the world of music with their dusty horns and creaky oboes, keeping lovers of rock music in a state of despair. But there is a solution...

One solitary copy of the King's (Elvis Presley's, dim-wit) first recording still exists, guarded by the classical tyrants. If it could be liberated and brought to the masses, then the world would be a happier, if not noisier, place. Who is the man for the job? Who else but a descendent of Jumping Jack Flash - the one that made it all right (in fact he made it a gas) in the Rolling Stones' classic hit.

Jumping Jack Son must travel through the strange dimension where the recording is kept, revealing and playing any other rock recordings he can find before the classical instruments destroy them. This is not as easy as it sounds, since the records are all hidden in zones built up of square platforms. Certain sections of the zones have to be turned to the same colour, by leaping on them, which makes a record appear. Jack can then pick it up and take it to the correspondingly-coloured record deck in order to set it playing, building up the tune with drums, bassline and harmony.

Once all the records have been placed on the decks, Jack can go on to the next level. Spirits sent out by the classical tyrants wander around the zones trying to stop him from completing his quest, giving Jack a good biffing if they can catch him.

Jack can drop a limited supply of cassettes in front of his enemies to hold them at bay for a while, as well as picking up items along the way to help him. These include sleeping pills to put the instruments to bed, hard-man rock shades to scare them off or coloured Walkmen for magic powers such as invisibility.

At various stages throughout the game 'challenge' stages appear. On these Jack must find a route through the level to enlarge glass orbs, but each square can only be crossed once. If this task is completed, then a password to higher levels is given. If Jack fails then he gets nowt!


Bouncy platform games really need to have bright, colourful graphics, and bop-along sound to work. Fortunately, Jumping Jack Son has both in abundance. The levels are colourful and sprites have a jolly and humorous look. Jack himself is a fine figure of a bubble, with cool shades and a multi-coloured floppy haircut. The overhead platform view is reminiscent of the superb puzzle game Bombuzal, but with its own definite character. The 'raunchy' rock music pushes the gameplay along nicely, being more Rolling Stones than Guns 'n' Roses, with a boppy, 'fun' feel to it.


The gameplay starts easily enough, to get you into the feel of things, but soon gets hard enough to challenge the most dedicated puzzle fans. Passwords save the tedium for impatient players, allowing you to concentrate on the more difficult screens - but they have to be earned! The 16 levels get progressively more difficult, making you learn new tactics. Even when all 16 levels have been completed, there is a totally new set to keep you busy for another couple of weeks.


It is always fun to play jolly puzzle games and when they are as well put-together as this it is a real treat. The format is basically a reworking of an old theme, dating to the days of Q-Bert, but with enough twists to turn it into an original product. It is not the best puzzle game ever, but the fun presentation and compulsive gameplay make it one well worth checking out. Now, I wonder if anyone can do the same sort of thing for indie music...

Jumping Jack Son logo Amiga Joker Hit

Harte Zeiten: Der gute alte Rock ist tot, die klassische Musik hat alle Macht an sich gerissen! Wer noch einen Funken Rhythmus im Blut hat, greife zu Infogrames neuem Tüftel-Spaß und starte zur großen Rettungsaktion.

Die originelle, aber leicht wirre Hintergrundgeschichte weiß davon zu berichten, daß die Seele des Rock 'n' Roll auf die erste Rockscheibe gepresst wurde - von keinem Geringerem als King Elvis persönlich! Da es von dieser Platte weltweit noch zehn Exemplare gibt, wird so lange Trübsal und Posaunenklang herr-sehen, bis man die Dinger wieder beisammen hat. Aber zuvor gilt es noch, etliche andere heiße Scheiben einzuheimsen.

In der Praxis wird der Spieler zunächst mit einem witzigen Loadingscreen samt einer starken Coverversion von "Satisfaktion" eingestimmt, dann geht es ins Auswahlmenü. Hier hat man die Wahl zwischen Ein-und Zwei-Spieler-Modus sowie einer schwereren Version des Spiels.

Außerdem kann ein Paßwort eingegeben werden (dazu später mehr), und man darf ein Demo oder die Highscoreliste der Top 1000(!) bewundern. Gesagt, getan - schon finden wir uns im ersten Level wieder.

Grundsätzlich setzen sich alle Spielstufen aus zahlreichen Bodenplatten zusammen, von denen jede einen Schritt der niedlichen Spielfigur markiert.

Manche dieser Plattenspieler (ebenfalls farbig). Wenn Jackson nun auf den bunten Platten herumhüpft, wechseln diese mit jedem Sprung die Farbe, sobald alle nebeneinander liegenden Platten die gleiche Farbe haben, taucht eine entsprechende Schallplatte auf.

Diese muß nun eingesammelt und auf den dazugehörigen Plattenspieler gelegt werden, der dann zu spielen beginnt. Sobald alle Plattenspieler eines Levels bedient wurden, stellt man unseren Mr. Music auf eine Bodenplatte mit Schachbrettmuster, und er wird in den nächsten Abschnitt gebeamt.

Da in den höheren Leveln zudem noch jede Menge Gegner (orchestrale Musikinstrumente!) auftauchen, und Plattenspieler oder Farbplatten oft nur über eine komplizierte Anordnung von Teleporterfeldern erreicht werden können, ist für Stoff zum Grübeln reichlich gesorgt. Die fiesen Trompeten, Pauken, etc. können nur erledigt werden, indem Jackson eine Musik eine Musikkassette fallen lässt, über die kurzfristig nicht hinweg können - man sollte also tunlichst versuchen, die wildgewordenen Instrumente in einer Ecke einzusperren.

Außerdem finden sich gelegentlich noch Extras, um den Bösewichten beizukommen, wie z.B. eine Sonnenbrille (Jackson verwandelt sich in einen Rocket vor dem die Viecher Reißaus nehmen), Schlagpillen oder zusätzliche Leben (anfangs drei) in Form einer chicen Lederjacke.

Nach jeweils vier durchspielten Leveln taucht eine Bonusstage auf, in der man versuchen muß, möglichst viele Kugeln zu überlaufen. Das Problem bei der Sache ist, daß jede passierte Kugel sich vergrößert - man kann sich also sehr leicht selbst den Weg zum Ausgang versperren. Aber nur, wer diese Bonuslevel erfolgreich meistert, erhält ein Paßwort, um bei nächster Gelegenheit nicht wieder von vorne beginnen zu müssen!

Jumping Jack Son bietet nicht nur ein sehr originelles Spielprinzip, sondern auch ganz entzückende Grafik, hübsche Animationen und jede menge Gags. Um z.B. die Farbe der Bodenplatte auf der man gerade herumturnt zu erkennen, wechselt die Haarfarbe des drolligen Wichts. Und das Beste: Satte 400 KB feinster Rockmusik machen das Game zu einem wahren Ohrenschmaus!

Infogrames neues Produkt ist wirklich ein kleines Meisterwerk an Spielbarkeit, Präsentation und vor allem Motivation. Wer Spiele wie "Bombuzal" mag, wird sich in Jumping Jack Son auf den Schlag verlieben: Diese Scheibe ist ein Hit! (ml)

Jumping Jack Son logo

PRICE: £19.99

This is a very attractive and enjoyable puzzle game in which you play a sort of London Philharmonic buster. As Jumping Jackson, rockstar extraordinaire, you have to revive the flagging spirit of 'rock and roll' by wiping out classical music and giving bass, drums and axe the airplay they deserve. What would Nigel Kennedy say?

There are 16 levels to the game, each plagued by nasties such as violins and classical acoustic guitars. Complete with leathers and teased hair, you are on a mission to collect limited edition records, each on colourd vinyl, and place them on the appropriately coloured record deck.

To claim each disk, you have to turn a strip of floor tiles one colour by bouncing on them. When you have done this, the corresponding record appears for you to go and collect it.

Many of the levels are complex mazes, carefully constructed from disconnected floor tiles and random teleporters. And you are pursued by the vicious classical instruments, all of them fully paid-up members of the Orchestra of Doom, who rather annoyingly follow you through the teleporters.

I knew I was in for something special the second the intro tune started. A far cry from the usual plinky keyboard line and poor synth drums that make up 90 per cent of Amiga music, JJ opens with a very clever "live" recording of Jumping Jackson's band playing their anthem "Jumping Jackson" complete with audience singalong. To my ear it sounds very much like an old KISS track, which is no bad thing.

The graphics are everything Amiga graphics should be. Cartoony, colourful and full of character. Add to that smooth scrolling and lots of cute little touches, like Jackson's end-of-level dance, and you have a great looking game, and one that is very playable. Sixteen levels is not really enough but, for what you have, Jumping Jackson is a very good product. A few more levels and this game would be terrific.

Jumping Jack Son logo

Infogrames, £24.99

Imagine the music world with no Kylie Minogue, no Jason Donovan, and no New Kids On The Block (My Fave! - Sub Ed!). It might be most people's paradise but Jumping Jack Son is a bit peeved now that classical music has taken over and rock'n'roll is dead.

Jack is determined to save the few remaining rock records. On each level he jumps around square platforms, avoiding angry classical instruments. Certain squares change colour when jumped on: When a group of them is made all the same colour, a record appears for Jack to place on the relevantly coloured record player. Playing records gradually builds up a rock tune - when all the records are playing, Jack can teleport to the next level.

Occasionally, special tiles appear which can give our hopping hero such extras as a jukebox (to carry more than one record simultaneously) and sunglasses (cause classical instruments to flee in terror!). Every four levels, there's a challenge round where Jack must hop once on every platform to gain a password.

Phil King This is great fun with plenty of humorous touches to raise a smile. The way the tune builds up is particularly good with each instrumental part. The game concept is a simple but addictive one, and with loads of different level layouts and extra features (plus a few surprises) it never seems to get repetitive. But maybe I just love the music!
Robin 'Robb the Rev - Aggh! A satanic film planner!' Hogg Jumping Jack Son is full of humour with a wacky plot and a particularly cute hero. The music is great to listen to with a brilliant Rolling Stones-style title song and classic in-game blues riffs. The simple action won't exactly tax your brainpower but it's great fun to play and should bring a smile to the grimmest of players (I heard that! - Ed.). The challenge levels are a particularly good idea, providing both extra variety and passwords to avoid frustration.