Jumping Flash!

 

JumpingFlashTitleThe first Playstation was a serious breakthrough. Despite having very little video game experience, Sony was able to revolutionize the industry and make it more mainstream. Final Fantasy VIITwisted Metal, and Metal Gear Solid are all remembered as Playstation hits, each of which played a part in starting a brand new era in gaming.

And yet, Jumping Flash! also deserves recognition as one of the early 3D platformers. Before Mario went 3D, this was the game that allowed people to jump around in the third dimension.

Plot: 2 out of 10

“So it’s not the best plot ever”  would be quite generous to this game. We have someone named Baron Aloha using machines to lift up huge spots of land so that he’ll have his own private resorts. Our hero is a robotic bunny named Robbot. There’s a lot of humor, but you should have a sense of the game’s comedic wit at this point. Which is basically nil.

Masses of land held up by cables. No scientific errors here.

Masses of land held up by cables. No scientific errors here.

Graphics: 7 out of 10

A Great-looking game. They definitely got the cartoonish look they were striving for, and for 1995 technology, the models and landscapes are quite fleshed out. The only problem is that the lack of textures make it difficult to tell where the ground ends at times. But since you jump high enough to often have room to spare (see Gameplay for more details), it’s not super-serious.

JumpingFlash2

A rabbit vs. two frogs — the battle of the hoppers!

Sound: 8 out of 10

Catchy songs will keep you entertained throughout the game. Voice acting in the cutscenes is pretty bad, but is overshadowed by the competent and energetic narrator.

Gameplay: 8 out of 10

Jumping Flash! has six worlds, each of which with three stages. The first two stages of each world are platforming stages. The third is the boss. The exception is World 6, which has one platforming stage and two bosses

The platforming stages are wide-open and allow you to move anywhere. This is handled very well. Controls are responsive and the 3D aspect serves the game well. You can shoot lasers and have a maximum of three bazooka type weapons that you can use, though it’s probably best to save those for the bosses.

As you’d guess from the title, jumping is a really big part of this game. Robbot has a double jump that causes the camera to switch to a birds-eye view. You also go sky-high. The birds-eye view was often done poorly in other games, making it difficult to see where you were going to land. Nonetheless, it works just fine here.

JumpingFlash3

Looks like a Pilotwings landing.

Double jumping is important because every level requires you to look high and low for large carrots called Jetpods. After you get enough of them, the exit becomes active.

The bosses are hit-and-run battles with a stronger but not too bright opponent. Since Robbot is basically a mechanical Bugs Bunny, this is fitting.

The only problem with the gameplay is that it’s first person. This poses a problem because the sense of your environment that allows people to do acrobatics in real life is not in this game. But you can get used to it and besides, this was one of the earliest attempts at a 3D platformer. Furthermore, it’s decidedly not as bad as awful cameras that the subgenre can’t seem to shake (see Sonic 2006 to get an idea of what I’m talking about).

Challenge: 6 out of 10

There is some challenge your first time through a stage, but once you know where the Jetpods are and the patterns of the bosses, the challenge is over. So there’s really not much replay value, I’m afraid.

JumpingFlash4

Look at Monocle! He’s Evil!!!

Overall: 7 out of 10

If you can look past the godawful story, Jumping Flash! will give you a nice experience. It’s no classic, but it was pretty influential regardless.

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