Jack the Nipper II: In Coconut Capers

by Greg A. Holmes, David Pridmore, Andy Green, Chris Shrigley, Bob Toone, Terry Lloyd, Ben Daglish
Gremlin Graphics Software Ltd
Crash Issue 46, November 1987   (1987-10-29)   page(s) 124,125

Regretting that he'd never travelled British Airways, Jack The Nipper has leaped from a plane in midflight, followed by his harassed father. Their James Bond-like tumble deposits them in Jungleland - not much fun for an infant, you might think, but remember this babe's so tough he can change his own nappy without flinching.

Separated from dad, Jack sets off on a toddle, causing mayhem as he progresses through trees, cavernous halls, and underground passageways. Ladders, platforms, ropes and slides are all there to help Jack move, taking him to higher and lower levels and far-flung pockets of this arboreal empire. But he must be cautious when using them, as a tumble from the upper reaches is more than jungle Jack can take.

As Jack makes his way, he discovers that not everything is predisposed to his chubby-cheeked presence. Bats, birds, white elephants wearing shades, hippos in Raybans and sour-tempered scorpions are all out to give our wee man the touch of death.

The warriors of a native tribe are also irritated by his appearance and seek to find their spears some work. Fortunately - though the ' fortunately' may depend on whether you like small children - Jack can add to his eight lives by collecting dummies.

To further help his cause Jack discovers that he can gather other useful items to make life a little easier and earn points. Dynamite, grease, honey, onion and woodworm are all at hand to aid this apple of his mother's eye. Explosive green coconuts are particularly helpful - they can take out an approaching danger if carefully lobbed in its direction - and an invincibility sack gives our young hooligan temporary immunity.

On collection, all objects are automatically divided (by icon boxes) into those that are weapons and those that are naughty, which when used correctly can elevate Jack's Naughtyometer to proportions that would make even the surgical stockings of an SAS-trained nanny twang.

But should Jack's father finally catch up with his errant offspring, a spanking puts paid to his capers and it all ends in tears.

Gremlin Graphics's Jack The Nipper, the terrible tot's first appearance, earned 93% overall in CRASH Issue 30 - and he was on the cover.

Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: colourful and detailed with great animation
Sound: fairly good title tune and spot FX

'Coconut Capers is a superb follow-up to Jack The Nipper, and I have only one gripe: Jack just isn't as naughty and reckless as in the earlier game. The problems and solutions aren't quite as apparent in Coconut Capers, and we don't have to be as mean to the locals as we're used to; perhaps Jack has cooled down a bit after being deported from Australia. At first it's hard to relate to the jungle surroundings, but persistent adventuring soon reveals a collection of natives who create a strong atmosphere. And Jack is as cute as ever.'
PAUL ... 88%

'Coconut Capers is better graphically than its predecessor, with much more colour and decorative surroundings making it more appealing. And luckily this initial appeal doesn't wear off, because there's just so much to explore and discover. Though the puzzles aren't quite as obvious as in the first Jack game, you just have to delve deeper to uncover the hidden surprises of Coconut Capers. It's great played either as a simple game or as an involved puzzle game. And whichever way you want to look at it I can guarantee there'll be something in it for you.'
RICKY ... 87%

'Jack the Nipper is back in full force! This game is as bursting with addictiveness as the original, and it has more added attractions. But some of Jack's new adventures have been copied from other games. For example, you can travel in a coal truck and that's out of Roller Coaster; in the river scene you can cross on logs (Dynamite Dan); the basic layout is very similar to Jet Set Willy. Still, this doesn't spoil the enjoyment you can get out of Coconut Capers. There are some really good spot FX and a good tune at the start of the 128K version. Colour is used well and the graphics are excellent, though the animation is a bit jerky. Coconut Capers is a fantastic follow-up with plenty of playability, so snap it up while you can.'
NICK ... 85%

Presentation: 82%
Graphics: 88%
Playability: 89%
Addictiveness: 86%
Overall: 87%

Summary: General Rating: A superb continuation of Jack the Nipper's exploits.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 24, December 1987   page(s) 43

What a caper! Yeah, it's pitifully predictable, but I love this game. Okay, so it's a plattie pure and simple - the sort of thing that usually turns perfectly reasonable reviewers puce with fury - but what an addictive one. Gor lumme, this little beauty makes Jet Set Willy and all his various brothers, nephews and cousins look like a 4K fruit machine simulator rejected by Program Pitstop.

For one thing, the whole kaboodle is crammed full o'screens, 192 in all. And there's enough going on in each of them to make you wonder why no-one's done anything as good as this before. 'Cos amazingly enough this is a single loader, even on my cranky old 48K rubber keyboard. And the game's so challenging I bet you'll be Araldited to that self-same keyboard for weeks on end if you're not careful.

You know the story - the Nipper family have been deported from our fair isle and bunged on a plane to Oz, which seems a nice long way away, but Jack's not too keen on this and parachutes out of the plane, followed closely by Nipper Sr. Finding himself in the jungle, Jack wanders about being extremely naughty and avoiding Pops and the inevitable spanking.

You can play the game in various different ways - either for maximum naughtiness (as measured in the naughtyometer), or for a high score, which you'll get by popping off the assembled jungly sprites and by solving the occasional problem. Or you can try and get both if you're greedy. You can carry two things at once - one's a weapon (coconuts, blowpipe or shield) and the other is an object for being excessively naughty with - for instance when you pass Tarzan you'll find that the grease may come in very useful indeed! As for getting around screens, it's not as hard to survive as in, for example, the Monty games, where you seem to get killed off willy nilly. But you won't get bored - there's too much to do and see for that.

So, another little spanker from Gremlin. As always with that company, the graphics are immaculate - colourful and with clash down to a minimum. The sprite masking's particularly impressive - an object lesson to everyone else, I think. And the jokes - well, hilarious, as always. Leave Jack for a moment and he'll start raking around in his nostril - bleuggghh! Quite what he does with the contents is never made clear (pass the sick bag).

Now, if you'll excuse me. I must have another swift game before the Ed comes back from lunch...

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

Summary: Nippy little number that'll give plattie fans heavy jungle fever. You'd have to be coconuts not to like it!

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 57, September 1990   page(s) 77

With a plot that could have been written by Tight Fit, Jack finds himself stranded in the jungle with the back of his father's hand in hot pursuit. So what's he going to try to do. Escape? Nope, he's going to be as naughty as possible. There are certainly plenty of natives to pester, and the birds and animals look a bit vulnerable too. There are also lots of vines to swing on, coconuts to throw around, rivers to jump across and, um, trains to catch. The graphics, as in the original Jack, are excellent and with more colour this time. Sound effects haven't been forgotten, either, as there are also lots of beepy tunes and things. It's so exciting, it really is. At barg level this one really can't be ignored, so buy, buy, er, buy.

Overall: 89%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 69, December 1987   page(s) 56,57

Despite suffering the worst loading screen I have ever seen in my entire life, Jack the Nipper II - Coconut Capers is not half bad.

If you thought you'd seen the heights of naughtiness in Jack the Nipper Part 1 - forget it, you ain't seen nothing yet.

In this one, Jack is stranded in the jungle, after baling out of the plane which was deporting him to Australia (or somewhere equally pleasant). The aim is to avoid Dad, vicious birds, rivers, crocodiles, and everything else which makes jungle life strenuous, while doing as much mischief as possible and pushing up the Naughtymeter.

The backgrounds, of crumbling citadels, stone causeways, tropical plants and tangled creepers, are excellent. The characters are good too, with the nappy clad infant Jack particularly appealing (in a horrible sort of way, of course).

Swinging on ropes to avoid hazards. Jack can bounce coconuts off the people or animals he meets or, if he can find a blowpipe, stick darts in embarrassing places. Objects found are placed in one of two pockets (in Jack's nappy?!) - weapons and naughty objects. Jack can only carry one of each at a time.

A list of some of the objects to be found - grease, honey, an onion, woodworm, a shield, and a log - gives you some idea of what Jack can get up to (It does? - Ed). As with the previous Jack titles, though, you have to work most things out for yourself.

The music, Henry Mancini's March of the Baby Elephants, is cleverly done, but not so cleverly that you don't want to use the Off option after a few minutes.

As with most games of this type, my main complaint is that it's much too complicated to solve at one sitting, and there's no game Save option. Just Gremlin Graphics being naughty, I suppose.

Label: Gremlin Graphics
Author: Holmes, Lloyd, Pridmore
Price: £7.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tamara Howard

Overall: 7/10

Summary: Bound to be well-received by Jack fans. Another polished and action-packed title from Gremlin.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 3, December 1987   page(s) 64

Mischief in the jungle with Gremlin.

Sequels are big news at the moment: if you haven't bought Enlightenment (Druid II) it's probably because you're saving your money for Gauntlet II. Impossible Mission II, Matchday II or some such follow-up. Now here's another contender for that cash: Coconut Capers, being the further adventures of that troublesome tot Jack the Nipper.

After his outrageously naughty behaviour in the original game, so the scenario goes, Jack is arrested and shoved on the first plane to Australia. He bails out en route however, and parachutes into the jungle below. Now you take control of Jack, dodging or fighting the jungle's many dangerous occupants - wild animals, wild natives, wild parents and the like - and indulging in various naughty deeds.

These familiar objectives may make Jack sound like it's simply a tropical reworking of the original Jack, but nothing could be further from the truth. Coconut Capers doesn't have the rashometer, the breakability or the unusual 3D of its predecessor. Instead it has gaps to jump, ropes and ladders to climb, and a whole load of instantly lethal creatures, objects and drops to avoid. It has timing problems with alligators and floating logs, it has vines to swing on, it has rope-bridges and tree-houses in the jungle canopy to leap between. It is - in case the penny still hasn't dropped - a platform game.

It's not just a platform game mind you - there are those naughty deeds to do, and plentiful weapons let you shoot your way through some problems - but it is mostly a matter of judging gaps and getting your timing right. The naughty deeds involve finding useful objects - grease, pineapples or toffee for example - which you can take elsewhere and wreak havoc with. Usually the object is quite some distance from the location you need it in, so without good platform skills you probably wont make it. Of course, you could cover that distance only to find you've got the wrong object: some of the puzzles can be pretty obscure, to say the least, and you can only carry one object at a time.

Objects aren't the only things to pick up in the jungle. There are also dummies, which give you an extra life if you've lost some of the nine you started with; native shields, which give you protection against most forms of death for a limited time; and weapons, notably coconuts which you can throw at jungle nasties. As with the objects used in naughty deeds, you can only carry one weapon at a time.

Other game features like slippery slopes, lava and swamp pools, impassable fires and Indiana Jones-style mine cars all add variety to the proceedings, but the game does have its problems. The nasties are reset every time you leave a screen, even if you only do so momentarily in mid-jump, and Jack's so small he can die repeatedly while hidden from view behind tree-trunks or the like - both of these adding to the considerable frustration any platform game has to offer.

The real problem for most people won't be minor frustrations however, but the fact that Jack II is largely a platform game. There's a huge mapping task to get on with - 192 screens, and no names to identify them by - and those naughty deeds are pretty tricky even when you know what you're supposed to be doing, but the gameplay is dated to say the least. Graphically it's a treat, colour clashes to one side, and the game's little musical jokes - a bit of the Stingray theme tune if you fall in the water, or a snatch of Agadoo when you pick up the pineapple - give it audio appeal too. If it's a dinosaur in gameplay terms it's a slick and very well-presented dinosaur, but you'd be hard put to call it an advance on the original.

Reviewer: Andy Wilton

C64/128, £9.99cs, £14.99dk, Imminent
Spec £7.99cs, Reviewed
Ams, £9.99cs, £14.99dk, Reviewed

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 60/100
1 hour: 65/100
1 day: 75/100
1 week: 70/100
1 month: 40/100
1 year: 15/100

Visual Effects: 5/7
Audio: 5/7
IQ Factor: 4/7
Fun Factor: 2/7
Ace Rating: 709/1000

Summary: Takes time and effort to get into.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 74, December 1987   page(s) 29

MACHINES: Amstrad/Spectrum/CBM 64
SUPPLIER: Gremlin Graphics
PRICE: £7.99 (Spectrum)/£9.99/£14.99 (Amstrad/CBM cass/disk)
VERSION TESTED: Amstrad/Spectrum/CBM 64

The bad lad's back going nuts in the Coconut Capers. Naughty but nice. Gremlin's little Nipper is certainly a ripper gripper of jungle jollity.

There was a time when I though I would scream if I saw another platform and ladders style game. They seemed to be everywhere. But now.... okay, I really got into this one.

Jack the Nipper's first adventure ended with the troublesome tot and his family flying to Australia following a deportation order on them. Jack's not pleased with the prospect of going down under so he jumps plane - using his nappy as a parachute.

The idea of the game is simply to survive in the jungle until he reaches a score of 100 per cent on the Naughtyometer. But he mustn't get caught by dad.

And there are plenty of ways for Jack to be naughty - hurling coconuts at natives and animals, firing blowpipes and generally creating all sorts of mayhem.

All along the way he can pick up weapons and some really useful items such as grease, honey and wood worms.

There's an amazing number of screens to explore, traps to avoid, puzzles to solve. Both the Spectrum and Amstrad have great graphics.

So, to sum up. If you're fed up with the millions of shoot-'em-ups around and hanker for some good, old fashioned platform and ladders fun, you could do worse than Jack the Nipper II.

Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 8/10
Value: 8/10
Playability: 9/10

Award: C+VG Hit

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 2, December 1987   page(s) 62,63

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £7.99
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Amstrad CPC Cassette: £9.99 , Diskette: £14.99


Gremlin Graphics have frequently capitalised successfully on cute characters in their 8-bit repertoire, although not all of them have worked as well as the ubiquitous Monty Mole (their 1985 'Beaver' game never even made it to the shops, culled as it was in the late programming stages). The argument goes: if you have done it once, why not repeat the success but hopefully better still - and Jack The Nipper was definitely a big hit. Now the naughty be-nappied nipper is back...

...And he's gone too far this time - in fact right round the world - for his last prank gained him a deportation order to Australia, and having seen how the outback denizens treated Mick Dundee, Jack isn't too happy about this. So during the flight down-under, he jumps out and nappychutes into what turns out to be... deepest Jungleland.

As in the first Nipper One, Jack's objective is to achieve a naughtiness rating of 100%. To help in this task, he can use such useful objects as grease, logs, onions and dynamite(!). Performing naughty deeds boosts Jack's naughtyometer to that all-important top level.

To traverse the jungle, Jack uses slippery slides, tree vines - Tarzan-like to avoid swamps and quicksand - rickety bridges and even an old mine car on the Spectrum - the Commodore game contains dark passages to get through. The jungle is populated with all manner o f beasts, including monkeys, elephants, parrots, hippos. Mick Dundee's nappy-snatching crocodile, as well as some very unfriendly hunters and natives. Bumping into any means losing a life. But it is survival of the fittest, and Jack isn't defenceless: by collecting coconuts and blowpipes, he can see off even the most hostile tigers and rhinos. Extra lives in the shape of dummies (Spectrum) and whistles (Commodore) can be found, with shields providing limited immunity from attack by jungle creatures.

Jack isn't the only member of his family to be roaming the jungle. Jack's dad has also parachuted into the tropical forest, and if he catches up with his son then Jack's jungle japes are over. Lasting appeal once completed will probably be slight, but with such a large playing area, that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Overall: 81%

Summary: The Spectrum is marvellously adept at producing arcade-adventures with multitudes of screens, and this is one of them. The graphics look and work really well, the detail in them excellently captures the jungly atmosphere despite restricted use of colour. The sound effects (nothing extra on 128) play along merrily and really add to the game. This is a fine arcade-adventure.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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