Jack the Nipper

by Greg A. Holmes, Nick Laa, Peter M. Harrap, John Holmes
Gremlin Graphics Software Ltd
Crash Issue 30, July 1986   (1986-06-26)   page(s) 16,17

Jack seems to be the all time greatest World Champion in naughtiness: a naughtier boy you could not wish to meet in fact or fiction. You think that saying BOO to Granny is naughty? Pah! Jack is in a whole different league - he blows up police stations on particularly naughty days. This is a level of rascallity that most boys and girls will never be able to achieve, even in their wildest dreams. Realising this, Gremlin decided to base a game around the naughtiest nipper in town.

As Jack's controller the idea is to get the little sprog to cause as much grief and hassle as possible without getting the little tyke into trouble for his misdeeds. Job number one is to equip the romper-suited yobbo with a weapon. He's not a particularly big chap, so a spitball firing pea-shooter is what's needed. And luckily enough, it just happens to be placed on a shelf in Jack's bedroom. Unluckily enough it has been put on a high shelf well above the nipper's miniscule reach - probably hidden away by an oft-peashootered parental. Jack's sproing and cavort factor, the product of a couple of years of packing away the Farleys rusks and creamy baby food, makes him hyperactive (probably all that E102.) Anyway, with a mere wiggle of the joystick or prod of the appropriate keys, it's possible to propel this pint sized person skyward with the greatest of ease. A few well-timed jumps put Jack where he wants to be and he has two pockets in his suit for carrying useful menacing items.

Leaping around on the fumiture soon brings the vegetable propelling tube within Jack's tiny grasp. Now the mayhem can really begin... Jack's task is to complete around twenty dastardly stunts to boost his naughtyometer up to the hundred per cent mark. There are hazards, however, and when you're as young as Jack one of the main problems with day to day life is dreaded botty rash caused by a wet and soggy nappy. Collisions with any of the other characters in the game aggravates this condition, as they mete out a good hiding to the miscreant. Jack's Rash Rating climbs on a bar in the status area, and one of the five lives available is lost each time the Rash Factor goes critical.

Parents and shopkeepers give chase whenever a naughty deed is done in their presence, and ghosts also give Jack trouble. Luckily, Jack's pea-shooter can be used to exorcise spectres - more often than not a ghost will disappear with a pea in its ear. Peablasting anybody else, including Bonzo, the Nipper's pet dog, causes them to chug after you and increase poor little Jack's Rash at an alarming rate.

Naughty points are won for completing each of the tasks set out for Jack, most of which involve taking the right object to the right place. For example, Jack can scare the insides out of cats by finding a horn and honking it next to a slumbering pussy. Jack's naughtyometer pops up nearly as fast as the poor old moggy, which is left clinging by its claws to the ceiling. What a naughty chap! Extra naughty points can be collected by taking objects and dropping them from a great height so that they smash.

The town consists of some fifty locations portrayed in a semi 3D way, and all the characters have been drawn in a cartoon style reminiscent of Willy the Kid and other comicbook heros. Jack can move left, right and in and out of the screen in the same way old Grumpy Gumphrey moved round in Supersleuth. The objects Jack is carrying are shown in a pocket at the top of the status area, and some careful juggling is sometimes needed to make sure the right item gets to the right place. Lose all the lives and the game's over and little Nippertrolls onto the screen with a sarcastic appraisal of your attempts at menacing. Ah well, never mind, living up to the expectations of the naughtiest nipper alive is not an easy task. Closet vandals will have lots of fun with Jack the Nipper.

Control keys: Z left, X right, O up, K down, 0 fire, ENTER go through door, Up and Fire to jump, Direction and Fire to shoot, H toggles pause mode, Q quit
Joystick: Kempston, cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: responsive, but slightly odd layout
Use of colour: monochromatic cartoon; tidy
Graphics: very apt - lovely cartoon characters
Sound: jolly tune in attract mode plus spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: 50 locations

'How could this game possibly fail to be a hit? It's just so appealling in both presentation and playability. The graphics are masterful, involving a previously ignored monochrome cartoon style that makes Jack look as though he's just leapt out of the Beano. Gremlin have definitely come up with a winner in Jack the Nipper: gameplaywise things are fairly similar to many arcade adventures though the tasks to be performed really are quite funny. While the puzzles are not immediately obvious they aren't overly hard either. The graphic style perks up the game no end. Overall an excellent game that well worth the price - run out and have a look at it today.'

'Come on, play the game! You're not a wimp are you?' asks the evil Sweeny Toddler character, an evil gin spread across his cheeky little fizzog. How can you resist such a challenge? The aim of the game - being as naughty as possible - is a novel and amusing one and the way you have to go about it is even better! Blowing up Police stations, ruining factories, shooting bobbies with a pea-shooter is all part and parcel of an average day in the romper suit of the world's wickedest baby. The graphics are excellent and really give a cartoony feel to the game - go out and get it now! You're not a wimp are you?'

'Jack the Nipper is a brilliantly presented game with a good title tune, a fun attract mode and little comments that pop up now and again and make it fun to play. All of the characters are drawn with expert precision and are animated very smoothly. The game, although basically monochromatic, is still appealing to the eye and has smart shaded backgrounds that are very detailed. Monsters look out of windows and posters stuck on the walls advertise products, to mention a few of the highlights. The little touches, like the nappy rash bar and the naughtyometer, make the game a bit different from the usual arcade/adventure stuff and you don't have to be good at the game to enjoy playing it. Gremlin Graphics have brought out a game that will shine out in the depression of Summer.'

Use of Computer: 91%
Graphics: 93%
Playability: 93%
Getting Started: 92%
Addictive Qualities: 93%
Value for Money: 92%
Overall: 93%

Summary: General Rating: A great game for all you naughty types...

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 67, August 1989   (1989-07-27)   page(s) 44

He's wicked, he's evil, he's Jack The Nipper! This is the first of the series, the second being Coconut Capers, and one of the better full price games on the Spectrum in 1986. tt hasn't lost any playability in the time, and for people who haven't played it, the puzzles will bring hours of fun.

Jack is a naughty little boy who likes nothing better than to pop around the corner to the local police station and cause a riot by shooting his pea shooter at the policemen and tooting his horn at the station cat The object of the game is to be as naughty as possible (shouldn't be hard for most of you!).

Various objects can be picked up around the town and have drastic effects when dropped in certain places or thrown at something. A naughtyometer, along the bottom of the screen, measures how bad Jack has been. Reach 100% and the game is complete.

All sprites in Jack The Nipper are cartoon-style, so the game is just like walking into your favourite comic. The main play area is monochrome of varying hues on each screen, plus the bonus of posters, lights, etc. around the town in glorious technicolour!

The way the game has been put together is excellent, with your nappy- rash counter going up whenever you touch a goody goody, and one of the little Jacks at the bottom of the screen being spanked when the rash is on full. Jack The Nipper is a fantastic game, and even on re-release deserves a Smash rating.

Overall: 90%

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 09, September 1986   page(s) 28,29

We know you. You're a nipper at heart, aren'tcha? You little weasel! What wouldn't you do, eh? Given half a chance you'd be nipping around town causing trouble. Nah, don't you look at us with those baby blue eyes, you don't fool us. You'd like to play a game called Jack the Nipper, the tale of the naughtiest boy in the whole town.

One evening, when his mum and dad thought he was fast asleep, Jack fell against the side of his cot and bingo, it was open. He was freeeeeeeee! Now all he had to do was get his trusty peashooter down from its shelf and he could sneak out and cause lots of lovely mischief. Heh heh heh.

Having procured his 'shooter and made it as far as the living-room the problems of getting around town become clear. Being such a notorious nipper, everyone recognises him and, if they catch him, they give him a good smack. Every time he gets a smack (and this is a natural reaction, and I should know. Never mind how!) he wets his nappy to bring on the old nappy rash. Once you reach a certain saturation (yuk!) of 'rash' you lose a 'life' - or to put it another way, change your nappy. You've only got five nappies so you have to box clever to avoid any close encounters of the ... er ... spanking kind.

Throughout the game there are over twenty naughty, nasty, evil, not to say devilish, pranks, japes, wheezes and plain dirty tricks. You can send the launderette into a spin. You can glue up the teeth in Gummo's Munching Molars. You can even put a sock in it at Hummo's Socks, or put a credit card in it at the Bank. And frankly, scaring the cats at the Police station (and the other places they can be found) is a hooting good way to pass the time.

So, what's this nipper got that other game lack, hmm? Well, for starters the game contains surprisingly bright and loud sound effects of genuine arcade quality. The graphics virtually leap off the screen at you. All the characters are nice big, well masked sprites, which avoid attribute foul-ups the sensible way, by having mostly one colour throughout any one scene. And the graphics have that comic book look, but not your American superhero type, more the Beano and Dandy style. The Bash Street Kids are back!

Jack The Nipper will be a confident hit I'm sure, bearing, as it does, all the hallmarks of a lasting favourite.

Heh heh heh.

Graphics: 10/10
Playability: 9/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Addictiveness: 10/10
Overall: 9/10

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 45, September 1989   page(s) 46,47

Gasp, this goes back a bit. It's a fair old time, in fact, since the sequel to this ripsnorter, so it must be ages since the original. When you bear in mind that there was a cartoon series running in YS based on Jack The Nipper before T'zer became Editor (in the long, dark days of the Cox regime), you begin to realise that this is one seriously old game. It's good stuff, though. Jack's tired of all the wimps in his town and their goody goody ways, so he sets out to cause mayhem. It's up to you to make sure he's as naughty as possible without being caught and given a damn good spanking (ouch). So you must jump on things, pick them up, use them, drop them, fire at things with your peashooter and toot the horn at the cat. Every time you do something relatively naughty (and it's up to you to work out what you should do to whom) your naughtyometer goes up. That's it really - there's great fun to be had as you run around creating havoc, although the game structure isn't perhaps as tight as in the sequel. Graphics are impressive, with a neat sense of perspective, and the whole is fast and furious. Overall, a bargain at three nicker, sow what are you doing sitting there? Go buy it.

Overall: 82%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 53, August 1986   page(s) 38

You're polite, well mannered and you never push and shove. And you're a wimp!

Not to worry, this condition isn't terminal - with a little application you can become a thugette. This is all about the art of being naughty and points are scored for the depths of depravity into which you sink. Arm your pea shooter and pelt Mrs B in the backside. Act like a bull in a china shop. Or put the suds into the laundrette.

But dare you rampage through the local nick? The boys in blue are just waiting for you. And just how far do you have to go to get the accolade of 'bothersome' or 'little horror'?

Jack the Nipper is played in a Wallyish style reminiscent of Pyjamarama, running wild through the village, searching houses, shops and gardens for objects you can use to create havoc elsewhere.

It's all under joystick control and the character you control - Jack the Nipper of the title - is very effectively animated, with wonderful Beano-type characters - old ladies wielding handbags, monkey-faced policemen and mad scientists. And somehow ghosts and the odd Space Invader have crept in to the act as further hazards.

The streets and rooms are beautifully detailed with a marvellous 3D effect and the masking is spot on. That's because each screen is one colour thus avoiding attribute clash and other related problems.

Get off the street and into the first room. just press Enter and you'll be transported into a shop cluttered with characters to avoid, shelves and boxes to jump on and possibly even an object to pick up. By roaming around you'll soon get an idea of what can be used where to the greatest effect. Sometimes destruction is instantaneous. Wander into The China Shoppe and drop a couple of plates - just watch your naughtiness rating shoot up!

The pea shooter should be your first goal - armed with that you can sting other characters into action. It can work against you though. If a character is driven to a frenzy by your pranks it'll shadow your every footstep and you'll almost certainly lose a life. Each time you come into contact with a character and certain objects the scale depicting 'rash' - your tanned backside - increases. When it reaches red you've lost a life and when you're being shadowed it races up the scale at an alarming rate.

Pretty soon you'll be whizzing around avoiding the characters in the streets by moving to the foreground and background - it's easy when you get the hang of it. And it's so tempting when you come across a well tended garden and you just happen to have a bottle of weed killer. Dead flower bed equals irate gardener equals more points on the naughty scale. And then there's the tin of glue and the false teeth factory. Or what about the key and the shifting radiator? That leads to an arcade-style platforms game with a packet of Omo at the top as a prize. When you exit you find yourself on top of a wardrobe with a credit card just waiting to be picked up. Only being able to carry two objects a time means a lot of toing and froing but luckily there are one-way secret passages too, to cut corners.

What's more the game's really playable. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Label: Gremlin Graphics
Price: £7.95
Joystick: Various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Clare Edgeley


Overall: 5/5

Summary: Cartoon graphics and masses of brain teasers, all very nicely done. This'll sort out who are the wimps.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 24, September 1989   page(s) 84

Kixx, £2.99, Spectrum

Games like this prove that the Spectrum isn't just another door stop. Excellent cartoon style graphics coupled with a sadistic form of humour make the program a winner.

Little rapscallion Jack is tired of being party to a bunch of goody goody school kids. So he dons his nappy, picks up his pea shooter and takes a walk. He escapes from his house and goes out into the big wide world to try to bring as much trouble to honest folk as possible.

Whether it's causing all the machines in the laundromat to foam up or making clay aliens to scare the local playgroup, as long as it inconveniences somebody, Jack'll do it.

A fantastic game when it first appeared a couple of years ago, and still damn good now. There's never been a better excuse to waste three quid.

Overall: 5/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 26, November 1989   page(s) 113

Kixx, £2.99
Spectrum, C64, Amstrad

Jack the Nipper gave to computer gaming one of its most treasured gameplay devices - the "Naughtyometer". Every time Jack got up to a piece of mischief like frightening the cat, smashing plates, or taking pot shots at people with his pea shooter so his "Naughtyometer" would go up. The nappy-clad Jack makes for an amusing multi level challenge. Puzzles of medium difficulty level and lots of laughs.

Overall: 3/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue September 1986   page(s) 43

Arcade Adventure

As all good boys know, laws are made to be broken. Working on that basis, the latest Gremlin release, Jack The Nipper, is an anarchist's delight. You play Jack. He is tired of all his pathetically weedy friends and decides to have some real fun. Unlike most nappy-clad children, Jack's idea of fun is not playing tag; he likes causing as much grief and despair as possible and he has a great talent.

Jack The Nipper is set in the area round his home. Each house or shop is depicted differently and each contains different objects, collectable or otherwise.

Once the game has begun, Jack must first find his trusty peashooter, which thankfully is nearby. By shooting various people, including the dog, cat, mum, dad, and everything else which moves, you soon discover the naughtyometer.

As with many of the earlier arcade/adventures, you are scored by percentage. Each activity you manage to disrupt has a different degree of naughtiness and they all total to a final percentage.

On the other hand, making contact with any of the other characters, and especially those whose lives you have disrupted in one way or another, gives you a serious case of nappy rash, which eventually becomes terminal. When you have lost five lives your overall percentage is given, together with an evaluation of the game, which ranges from Weedy Wimp upwards.

Both the animation and graphics are excellent. All the characters are well-defined and all the objects are easily distinguishable. To add to the game, there are two secret platform games hidden inside, one of which is fiendishly difficult.

Once you have appreciated the idea, everything about the game falls into place. No longer do you just smash things? No, nothing is too disruptive for Jack, as the police soon discover. This brings out the worst in every wonderful child - or adult.

Graphics: 5/5
Sound: 4/5
Playability: 4/5
Value For Money: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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