Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bump 'n' Jump part 1

Bump 'n' Jump
for the NES
by Data
(click images to enlarge)

My first ever video game console was the NES. My parents bought it for me at a garage sale for a bargain. I was only 4 or 5 back then and I'd never even heard of Nintendo. Of course this was back in 1995 so the NES-era had long since come and gone and the SNES was in its prime. I was absolutely crazy for my NES once my dad hooked it up for me. I couldn't pull away from it. With it I got some pretty good games. Of course I had Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt with the lightgun (orange version), and I had some other less popular games like Legends of the Diamond, a baseball game, and Dick Tracy.

I also had Bump 'n' Jump. It was one of my favorites. Bump 'n' Jump was originally an old 1983 arcade game release in Japan by Data East. It was ported to the NES in 1988 with better graphics, music, and an all-around better home experience. I spent hours in front of this little game, smashing cars and trying to clear all the levels I could. I don't think I ever really did beat this game; it just got
too tough for me.

Instead of doing a normal game review, I decided that since I never beat the game when I was a kid, I want to see if I c
an do it now on an emulator. I'm going to record the footage and walk you through the game, reviewing it at the same time. Here we go.

Level 1:

The game starts as your girlfriend is being drove off in some badass looking muscle car. So you follow the kidnapper in your dinky little Hot Wheels car. The first level in the game has some pretty terrific music. It's upbeat and memorable. Jumping makes sort of a dramatic sound effect and interrupts it quite a bit, which is weird, but it's not a big deal.

The first level was pretty simple. Just keep driving until you see the flashing arrow, which alerts you that you're going to need to jump across a gap soon. You aren't supposed to jump as soon as you see the arrow; it just means that you'll see the gap coming within a matter of seconds. Usually the only way you'll die in this level is if you're jumping around and smashing other cars while the arrow flashes, you won't land in time to make the jump across the gap and you'll fall into the water. I remember I used to think that if I landed on that little rectangular stretch of land in the water that looks like an airplane runway, I could safely land and jump again. But nope, even if you hit that, you'll die.

The only other hazard is running off the road. When cars bump you, it's not a light tap; you get bumped hard. If you feel like you're getting overwhelmed by the other cars, it's best to keep hitting A and jumping, staying in the air. But as soon as you see the flashing alert, make sure you stay put and get ready.

The graphics on this level are great. They're very colorful. There's lots of detail, like the houses on the right of the road, and all the scenery between the gaps. The perspective is a bit off; the cars are the same size as the houses. But NES was never good at perspective, so that can slide.

Level 2:

Level 2 isn't terribly different from the first. This time, we're driving through a big city filled with houses, factories, and skyscrapers. It's a bit harder because there's a lot more cars on the road and the road is narrower. As you can see, instead of jumping over gaps, we're jumping over huge overpass bridges. Why are we jumping? Because obviously going THROUGH the tunnel is lame. I used to try and go through the little black tunnel openings, but you always just crash.

Anyway, there isn't much to say here. The level design is very similar to the first but with a slight increase in difficulty. The music is different and has a "big city" tune. It's not as memorable as the first level, but it's still great. I got through this level with no problems. At the finish line, you will see a very attractive and innocent female holding a checkered flag, whom you land on and seemingly crush in a violent fashion. On to the next level!

Level 3:

Alright. No more playing around. This is where it gets damn serious. This is the first level that is actually hard to beat. I had nightmares about level 3 when I was a kid. It seems to be no different now.

You start off driving down a country road with lakes and houses on the sides. Again, you gotta love the detail Data East put into this great port. The road is also red, likely due to the amount of blood this level has spilled from anyone who dares to play it. I maybe made it past this level once as a kid.

Anyway, you'll first notice this level has a lot more cars than usual. They're faster, smarter, and pay a lot more attention to their goal of running your ass off the road. The first problem you'll encounter is the extremely narrow spaces. At some points, as you can see, the lakes cut into the road and make it smaller. The grass does the same thing. The grass is apparently made of neon green steel, so if you run into it, you'll be minced like an onion. Basically, don't touch ANYTHING but the road.

For once, it's important to pick up the fuel cans in this level too. It seems to drop more quickly here. Most of the time you'll be jumping around like mad to avoid all the cars pushing you around in the narrow spaces, so when your fuel runs down, you'll need to try and stay on the ground and man it out so you can wait for a fuel can to drive over.

Level 4:

In this level we're taking a nice drive through the mountains, enjoying the fresh air, cool breeze, and trying not to get pushed into the jagged rock at 70 mph. Surprisingly, I think this level is easier than the previous one. Of course by this point I've turned on infinite lives and I've died a quite a few times, though. This level is different because of the curvy roads snakelike roads. You have to jump a lot more often because, in addition to all the cars, there's boulders and construction barriers in the middle of the road.

Again, I just love the details in this game. There's always something to look at. The shadows of the mountians, the cute little apple trees, and the houses sitting on top of the rock. I think the setting is just perfect.

This level is a little tricky at first, but you'll be relieved when you find how quickly you'll get to the end. This level was far shorter than level 3.

To be continued!

Alright, there's four levels down. I've decided to break this up into parts, because after level 4, things start getting SERIOUS. We've only scratched the surface of this game. In the next part, we'll go through some more levels and go more in-depth about the gameplay itself. Good lord, I just hope I can make it through this game alive.

Stay tuned!

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