Bomb Jack

Exploding into arcades near you?

Source // Wikipedia

We're back to not knowing a thing about the upcoming titles again, and the game in question this time is Bomb Jack. I'm sure I could guess some of the specifics though. Explosives are probably involved. A man named Jack might be in there. Do we have to destroy this Jack guy? I won't know until I fire it up. 

That wasn't an intentional pun. I could probably do better if I wanted an intentional pun.

... Nope, my mind has gone blank. I've blown my chance.


No version of Bomb Jack makes it terribly obvious as to what it is you're doing or why. The why isn't necessary, really, but adds a bit of flavour to the proceedings. You play as Jack who can of course fly around the place, and has taken it upon himself to defuse a whole bunch of bombs that have been left behind in various destinations, from historical sites to modern cityscapes.

These locations are literally set dressings, as the game itself consists of a whole lot of bombs, some platforms, some enemies and a scoring system. Why are there bombs dangling in front of the Great Sphinx of Giza? Who put them there? Am I asking too much?

Defusing bombs nets you points, and you defuse bombs by simply hurling yourself into them. You're basically collecting bombs, so collecting bombs nets you points, and fills up a meter that will eventually allow you to turn enemies into coins in order to net them for points too - your only way of dealing with enemies other than jumping and floating away from them.

If you're skilled enough though, you can opt to collect bombs in the order in which their fuses are lit, and doing so will score you yet more bonus points, but as you can see in the video below (from 1 minute onwards), trying to get maximum points for each level leaves the game looking a little... goofy? 

Fun Times

Having a silly premise or looking funny when in the hands of an expert isn't a reason to judge a game though, and for casual play where you don't care about getting the bombs in any kind of order, it'll easily keep you busy on a car ride to the shops. Assuming you're playing on a Game Boy. Lugging an arcade cabinet around in the back of a car is a tad overkill.

Short of some narrow escapes and making some silly mistakes though, what is there?

Final Word

Bomb Jack is a game where you pass the time while waiting for something. It's not a game where you go "I'm going to play Bomb Jack", more "I've got nothing to do. What have I got? Bomb Jack? Go on then."

Now that's obviously a rather personal view, but that's gaming for you. There are going to be hits and misses. Sometimes you're a hit with the masses, sometimes a hit with the die hard fans and enthusiasts. It's worth a quick game, but beyond that it's up to you.

Fun Facts

Despite all the lit fuses, none of the bombs ever explode. Ever. There isn't any hint of a threat from the fourth dimension. No ticking time-bombs in a game about defusing bombs? Who'd have thought it?

Bomb Jack, developed by Tehkan, first released in 1984.
Version played: Game Boy, 1992, via emulation.
Version watched: Arcade, 1984 (Kernzy P)