Year Of Release: 1984
Studio: Tehkan (Tecmo)
Tecmo are a well known video game developer and publisher that many old school video game fans have fond memories of. Bomb Jack was a huge hit of theirs that was released back in 1984 and when they were still called Tehkan. Bomb Jack is an arcade style platform game that was at least in a small way inspired by, Donkey Kong.
The idea of Bomb Jack is that you control a guy called Jack who just so happens to be a super hero. Something kind of amusing is that in modern times people have said that, Bomb Jack looks like he is a South Park character. Anyway, Bomb Jack is needed to save various famous tourist locations all over the world from blowing up. The Sphinx, Miami Beach, The Pyramids, The Acropolis, Neuschwanstein Castle and Hollywood. While you visit these locations they really are just a static screen, but for a game to have this many “different” levels was pretty amazing back in 1984.
Each of the levels has a different set of platforms and a whole bunch of bombs scattered around the level. Bomb Jack at a glance looks like it would be a very easy game, but there is a bit of a twist that makes, Bomb Jack be a fast and frantic game that will certainly make you sweat. You see you need to defuse the bombs by just touching them. As soon as you touch that first bomb a fuse will light on another bomb and you need to get to it. Thankfully, Bomb Jack is just a joy to control and for the time it’s more than fair to say that this game had some of the best platform controls of the early 80’s.
Now you can get any bomb you want, but if you get them in the order they are lit then you get a score bonus. And like many early 1980’s arcade games, Bomb Jack is a game that is all about getting a high score. So you will want to take every opportunity to get as a high a score as possible. Also if you touch an unlit bomb it can make any power ups that would pop up take longer to do so.
If collecting bombs was not hard enough, poor Bomb Jack also has to deal with a bunch of bad guys as well! Mummies, turtles, birds and these weird orbs (what they heck are they!!!) will roam around the screen. If you touch one you die. But if you fill up the bonus meter then they will turn into coins which you can collect and fill up your high score meter.
Current High Score: 73,378,560 by Paul Kearns
Bomb Jack was a huge hit and as a result it was ported to many different consoles and home computers in the 80’s and even into the 90’s and 00’s through various compilation games.
Bomb Jack II would be released for various 8-bit systems in 1986 and while it’s not as well remembered as the original back in the 80’s it did sell very well. There is also a recent rumour that Bomb Jack II actually started life as a cancelled, Thundercats game and then was reworked into becoming, Bomb Jack II.
1986 would also see a game called, Mighty Bomb Jack which is a very under rated platform arcade game more in the style of say a Super Mario Bros game than the original Bomb Jack.
In 1993 a special 2 player game called Bomb Jack Twin was released which allowed for two player simultaneous co-op rather than turn based game play which the original had.