This review started on the 14th October 2015. I barely finished it for some reason. Now it’s time to finish this once and for all…so I can go to sleep.
The Sony PlayStation, it’s such a legendary and classic console, it managed to bring proper 3D games to the market and did it right. So here’s one a game you’ve probably never heard of.
And yes, I will be taking a look at most of the games in this short-lived series, starting with Jumping Flash! (ジャンピングフラッシ Janpingu Furasshu!), developed by Exact Co., Ltd. and Ultra Co., Ltd and published by Sony Computer Entertainment and was released in 1995 worldwide.
Astrophysicist Baron Aloha has come to Crater Planet to take pieces of land from it in a bid to make them private resorts. The residents of Crater Planet call for help and so Universal City Hall answers their call and enlists a bunny rabbit robot named Robbit to find out what’s going on. Upon discovering what’s happened, he must explore each of the worlds and collect Jet Pods that are used to propel to each world and free the plots of land to put back onto Crater Planet and stop Baron Aloha.
So here we have a 3D First-Person shooting platform game, which is something I would never expect to utter but hey, that’s how unique this game is. You play as Robbit as you walk around and jumping around in a first-person perspective. The objective is to collect a certain number of Jet Pods, then exit the level. You can also either shoot down enemies or jump on them until they explode to polygons, remember, this was early times for the PlayStation.
You can collect many different items like Carrots for health, extended timer, pausing the game but at least shows you where the Jet Pods are so they’re really helpful. The game is simple for the most part, it’s very short but once you beat the game, you can beat it again to get the true ending, known as the Extra Mode, where you get less time to complete a level, but it’s no problem, it’s still quite an easy game nonetheless.
There are six worlds, three levels for each world with eighteen levels each. Each world has a theme like City, Snow, Fun Fair, etc. I guess now it’s time to take a look at the level design. It’s all over the place with platforms here and there, though I will accept it for being an early PS1 game and the fact that each world has a theme. You know, it reminds me of Super Mario 64 with its cluttered level design but at least it’s just as memorable as Jumping Flash…only with more visible blocky polygons. But there are two more types of levels, the mazes are OK, but they do feel claustrophobic at times. The third type is more or less a mixture of both, go through tunnels to open levels and vice versa. In terms of graphics, it’s dated; but I do appreciate it, growing up with the PlayStation and all. But the game can be very foggy. That darn draw distance is quite short and in big levels, it can be difficult to find the Jet Pods, it’s the type of BS Nintendo would drool over.
The controls are…tank controls. Though usually I never like this type of control scheme, but for this game, it fits because Robbit is like a tank anyway, but I wish you would be able to strife, since you will get hit by enemy fire, now this isn’t too much of a problem…until you reach the maze levels where you have no room to dodge enemy attacks, leading to me trying to find the Jet Pods and run to the exit as soon as possible. The music is quite upbeat and wacky; they’re so great to listen to even when not playing the game.
Overall, Jumping Flash! is a fun and pretty imaginative game for its time. But it’s also dated but the game is still at least playable compared to many games with tank controls. There may be people who might find this game fun to play and those who really think this isn’t worth their time, but I can understand. It’s such a shame though that this game hasn’t been talked about that much since this was pretty much the earliest 3D platformer, this was before Super Mario 64 and even Crash Bandicoot. Nevertheless, Jumping Flash did 3D platforming in its own way and it was way ahead of its time. But like I, Robot, its innovations have been ignored, but I will appreciate this game for the things it brought to the future of games. So thanks Jumping Flash, you still hold up to me.
I wish I could say the same thing about its sequel, Jumping Flash! 2 (ジャンピングフラッシュ! Janpingu Furasshu! 2), released in 1996 worldwide.
After his defeat in the first game, Baron Aloha retreats back to his home planet, Little Muu to exact his revenge. However, this doesn’t last as the planet is attacked by a very strange looking invader known as Captain Kabuki. Kabuki then takes chunks of the planet with Muu Muus on them BECAUSE KARMA IS A B**** ISN’T IT BARON ALOHA! Anyway, the Baron escapes and calls the Universal City Hall for help and it’s up to Robbit to once again sort this mess out in an odd case of Déjà vu.
The draw distance has been improved allowing you to see further, meaning it’s no longer N64 levels of stupidity. The enemy AI has been improved…somehow, a meter displaying Robbit’s jump and a few more rewards for playing the game.
Other than that, IT’S THE SAME GAME, although you now collect Muu-Muus instead of Jet Pods and go to the exit. In fact, the developers copied the interface of the first game to the second game, it’s a lazy job. And most importantly…1996? REALLY? They had to have known this was dated, this is something that could have been improved graphic-wise, but NOPE, this is unique to only this series, whilst many trilogies will improve upon the gameplay…this series does not.
So yeah, if you played the first game, you’ve played the second game too, it’s near enough the same game with new levels.
And yes, I said trilogy because there was one final Jumping Flash game…only released in Japan…it seems the rest of the world wised up I guess. Robbit Mon Dieu (ロビット・モン・ジャ), but you could call it Jumping Flash! 3, developed by Sugar & Rockets? What’s Sugar & Rocket? Well it’s Exact, but changed their name after they merged with SIE Japan Studio. The game was released in 1999.
And I’m only going to take a quick look at it because there’s so much Japanese text that I can’t read it…I wish I read and/or spoke Japanese, if I could, I would use my powers that be to translate as much imported retro games into English.
The graphics have been improved and the level design is pretty nice for the PS1…from what I played. Instead of collecting stuff, you do different objectives to finish a level. Problem is, because it’s in Japanese, you’ll have no idea what to do. I know what you’re saying, “Well, that’s what FAQs are for”, well that’s something I was going to do…but there are none, so for most people, it’s near enough unplayable. So please, someone translate it, or better yet, make an FAQ of it so I can at least play more of it. Otherwise, that’s about it.
Ooh, there’s also Pocket MuuMuu…but you need to have the PlayStation Pocket to play it and I don’t have that so…other than some appearances from Pet in TV (which was released in Europe) and Astronōka…that’s about it.
So…that’s it for Jumping Flash, my favourite is obviously the first one so I recommend that one, the sequel is the same. As for the third game…uuhhhh! But this series had some true potential but had the developers put more effort into the sequel, this may have been a whole different story, but what can you do? Well other than making your own version.
You can get these games on the PlayStation and on the PlayStation Network depending on which country you’re living in.