All on your Jack Jones against a wicked demon

Mighty Bombjack logo

Publisher: Elite Price: £ 24.99

Back in the days when the Amiga was a mere twinkle in Commodore's eye, Elite released a conversion of a fairly run of the mill arcade game called Bombjack. No one expected it do to particularly well, but we were all proved wrong when it positively soared up through the charts, earning Elite a fair few pounds in the process.

Well, the good news is that Elite have wheeled ol' Bombjack out of the deep freeze, set him on thaw and the result is Mighty Bombjack, a multi-screen platform affair that is as fresh as ever. Ok, it does nothing to promote originality, but who cares anyway!

The plot goes something like this. Once upon a time (I love an original intro) there was a goody king called Pamera, who was a just sort of fellow. He had managed to maintain peace within his kingdom for many years, so it was inevitable that someone would eventually try and muck it all up. That someone was Beelzebut, a wicked demon if ever there was one.

Beelzebut decided that it was about time old Pamera was put in his place, so he decided to plot against the king to bring about his downfall.

Upon hearing of his wicked plans, the brothers Mighty set forth to conquer old Beelzebut. Unfortunately, things didn't go too well. Indeed, only one brother survived the confrontation - Jack. Licking his wounds, he vowed to return to defeat Beelzebut. Eventually he does - but he'll need your guidance to do it.

You must guide Jack through 16 levels of platform action, collecting bombs and bombs and bonuses as you go, whilst avoiding the baddies that have been sent out to get you.

Ok, we've seen it all before, but Mighty Bombjack still manages to deliver the same addictive qualities that made the original such a hit.

Mighty Bombjack logo

ELITE * £24.99 Joystick

Several years ago, a cutesy little arcade game called Bomb Jack was plugging away gaining quite a crowd of armirers. A few years later, Elite released a conversion of the game on the Amiga. Now the latest game in the series has appeared in the form of Mighty Bomb Jack.

Have cape will travel
You play Jack, the hero of the game, who is blessed with the mighty ability to leap great distances in a single bound. The idea of the game is to leap around a series of platform-filled levels trying to defuse bombs by simply crashing into them. The task is made more difficult by the presence of small scuttling robots which drop in from above occasionally.

After walking around the scenery for a short while, these robots turn into all manner of nasties, from evil birds to deadly floating skulls. One touch of these baddies causes instant death for our little hero.

Fortunately, there are a few things that Jack can use to battle the foe. The first is a floating coin which is either hidden in one of the treasure-filled chests or appears bouncing on the screen. If Jack collects this, robots momentarily turn into glowing orbs, which can be picked up for a bonus.

The second weapon is Jack Mighty Weapon. The power for this is increased by collecting tokens from the chest and when released, it allows Jack to storm through the enemies without a scratch!

Other hazards along the way appear in the shape of some tricky platform puzzles, with jack needing to find a way of getting past seemingly blocked corridors. But watch out! The robots are gaining!

Boom, Bang-A-Bang!
The original Bomb Jack coin-op was great for its time, and is still worth the odd ten pee every now and then. However, no one seems to really have done the game justice on home machines. The first conversion was a disappointing representation of the arcade game, and, unfortunately, Mighty Bomb Jack seems to have progressed very little since then.

There have been a few additions, such as the scrolling levels and the Mighty Weapon, but much of the game is the same as the original apart from a few aesthetic changes. To begin with, it's great fun leaping about and opening the treasure-chests for extra loot and the odd bits of humour (such as the torture room for greedy players that hog the loot) are quite amusing. However the fact that the game design is rather dated and over-used starts to creep in after a few games and the going begins to get a little dull.

Still, if you're an avid Bomb Jack fan, or just like the odd cute little platform game, then Mighty Bomb Jack may be worth a game or two. On the other hand, if you like your games to have a fair amount of frantic action, then Mighty Bomb Jack is unlikely to hold your interest for long.

Mighty Bombjack logo

Es war einmal ein kleiner Wicht, der auf den Monitoren der Welt dazu verdonnert wurde, Bomben aufzusammeln. Dieser Tage hat sich Tecmo des ulkigen Helden erinnert und eine aufgepeppte Fassung auf Disketten gebannt.

Auch bei der dritten Auflage ist prinzipiell alles beim alten geblieben: Jack muß über Plattformen hüpfen, Bomben einsacken, ehe sie explodieren, und den Ausgang der (jetzt mehrere Screens großen) Level finden.

Allerorten stehen Schatzruhen herum, die durch Draufspringen geöffnet werden. Mit etwas Glück findet man darin Kraftmünzen, Geldbeutel oder andere nützliche Gegenstände. Die sind auch dringend erforderlich, denn unsere Mischung aus Red Adair und Mickey Maus wird unablässig von Feuerkugeln, Vögeln, Totenköpfen und anderen Widersachern belästigt.

Leider hat man nur drei Leben, und das ist zuwenig, denn so besonders "mighty" ist Jack nun auch wieder nicht. Ganz im Gegensatz zum Vorgänger wurde diesmal in puncto Schwierigkeitsgrad etwas zuviel des Guten getan - das Teil ist ja kaum noch spielbar!

Dabei wäre Mighty Bomb Jack technisch ganz in Ordnung: Die Hintergründe sind leidlich ansprechend, die Animationen putzig, und das Scrolling geht auch halbwegs ruckfrei vonstatten.

Zwar sind die Akteure allesamt winzig ausgefallen, dafür ist die musikalische Begleitung unaufdringlich und hübsch. Jack läßt sich mit dem Joystick sich und genau steuern, per Keyboard ist er etwas schwerfälliger unterwegs.

Alles schön und gut, bloß von Bombenspaß kann halt keine Rede sein - bombig ist hier eigentlich nur der Frustfaktor! (jn)

Mighty Bombjack logo

Elite's cloaked hero returns for a third outing, this time adopting the impressive 'Mighty' title. As in the first two games (only Bomb Jack one of which actually made it to the Amiga), bomb defusing is the aim of the game.

Whereas in the first game this dangerous mission took place on several single screens, the action is now spread over a number of eight-way-scrolling levels. This allows the basic theme of the game to expand a little, and it now incorporates Mario-style bonuses in the form of treasure chests, whilst retaining the familiar baddies and bonuses for clever defusing.

Despite the small sprites, Mighty Bomb Jack features some very nice graphics. The scrolling is extremely smooth, and the backdrops are colourful and detailed without cluttering up the screen and rendering the pursuing sprites invisible.

What's more, despite offering limited variety, the actual game proves to be mildly addictive, and, whilst you won't be playing it solidly until the next hot release, Mighty Bomb Jack is a fun and untaxing platform romp that is worth a look. It's a game that you'll return to again and again. Bombs away!

Mighty Bombjack logo

Elite, C64 £9.99 cassette, £12.99 disk; Amiga £24.99

A classic early Eighties Tecmo coin-op, Bombjack began life defusing bombs on a series of static screens, cape fluttering as he flew from bomb to bomb. Although the original C64 conversion (47%, issue 14) and Amiga conversion (39%, issue 43) were a disaster, success on other formats led Elite to develop their own C64 sequel (80%, issue 22). Three years later Tecmo themselves developed a sequel for the Nintendo, Mighty Bombjack, which was so hugely successful another Elite conversion was inevitable.

The plot follows the Japanese fashion for unpronounceable names and general weirdness. Apparently once upon a time King Pamera ruled the world in perfect peace, which was all far too dull to make a computer game so the demon Beelzebut kidnapped him and plunged the world into chaos. Each of the king's sons took on the demon in turn, all failing until only one remained - Bombjack!

Just to make Bombjack feel at home, Beelzebut filled his fortress with bombs, but not all of them are explosive. The seventeen main levels scroll either horizontally or vertically, and the scattered bombs only offer bonus points. Bombjack's main objective is to find the exit. When he does there is a static bonus screen much like the original game: to open the exit, all bombs have to be collected. If you get the fizzing bombs in order there is a special bonus.

To defuse or collect a bomb, all Bombjack has to do is touch it. What makes life difficult are seven types of monster, including a Heel (which is a skull!), a shape changing Mummy, and Billy - a flying vampire rabbit! These materialise in unexpected places and pursue Bombjack relentlessly. Unarmed, his only tactic is skilful evasion.

Pressing fire makes Bombjack fly upwards, and you can move him in flight, stop him by pressing fire or even hover by rapidly pressing fire. Bonus points can be earned by opening treasure chests which also contain coins, extra time, sphinxes (revealing hidden exits), Power Balls (briefly changes all enemies to coins) and Mighty Coins. The latter allow Bombjack to have magic powers so he can open treasure chests by just touching them, or even transform the baddies into coins by holding down fire. However if Bombjack gets too greedy he is locked in a static torture screen where he must survive with dozens of baddies for forty seconds.

Phil King There is no doubt that the C64 version is the best of the two, simply by having a faster, nippier hero who makes the game infinitely more playable tan the sluggish and irritating Amiga version. The only problem is that this makes it perhaps a little too easy: I managed to complete the game in a handful of attempts. Nevertheless there are four different endings to keep you playing, along with loads of hidden bonuses to find, making for a great high score game.
Stuart Wynne Mighty Bombjack is a fairly basic variation of the tired old platforms-and-ladders theme; dodge the baddies, pick up the treasure and find the exit. It is not that complex, although the control system takes a little mastering - especially on the Amiga where Bombjack is a bit slow and creates materialize with minimal warning. Overall, unremarkable graphics, tough gameplay and little originality make £25 hard to justify on the 16-bit side. Both versions also suffer from a lack of variety: level backgrounds go from dull brick to okay palm trees and clouds. However, the more you play it, the more gameplay opens up as you master the power-ups, discover secret chambers and bonus points. The C64 benefits from some attractive sprites, using plenty of colour plus overlays for a sharp image. This version also plays faster and is a bit easier. Worth a look.