The best thing to be said about Bomb Jack II is the free copy of the original Bomb Jack you also get, though as six trillion people have already bought the first one that's not exactly stunning news.
Reading the instructions makes it all sound pretty promising. In addition to leaping around the place, Jack the Lad can now karate chop the assorted nasties and there are 'over 40 fiendishly complicated settings'.
Unfortunately the settings are also accompanied by fiendishly uncomplicated graphics. Can you really play a game where both your hero and the nearest monster impersonate the Invisible Man when they meet to do battle?
The game's not a complete disaster, but it's a pity you can't super-zoom around the screen in various directions any more. Now you merely jump up or down, left or right, gathering up the goodies and chopping the baddies. Mind you, getting your chops in can be a bit tricky. Some of those platforms just ain't big enough for you and a monster, and seeing as the monster has the advantage of being there first you've got to fight like f-f-f-f-ury to zap them out of the way. Though they don't so much zap as disappear in a puff of smoke.
The game's hardly likely to do that, but I'll bet a bomb to a damp banger that Bomb Jack will be played a lot longer than its sequel.
Another old Elite game disinterred for today's dosh-free Spec-chums, and first released in early 1987. At the time we all felt it was a bit of a disappointment, especially after the superb Bombjack I, but that didn't stop it going to the top of the charts and selling trillions. It's similar to the original - jumping between platforms trying to blag bags of money, and this time stabbing the nasties if you can, which in my experience you usually can't (avoiding them is a better bet). As before, the backgrounds are sumptuous, and there's a bonus if you blag the wads in the right order (this can be found by trial and error, or by looking at old copies of computer mags). With 40-odd screens, you'd have thought it all added up to corking good value, but BJ II goes awry with its graphics - it's virtually impossible to identify what's what, and when you and the nasties are fighting, it is completely impossible. Add some disturbingly samey gameplay and the result's not what it might have been. Not a disaster - just not on the button.
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