Recommended Gaming: MAME GP32
I defy anyone to play BombJack and not like it, once they've gotten reasonably good at it. It's a game that nails core gameplay mechanics, truly rewarding those who persevere past the "this is too frustrating" stage. And the great thing is, with Franxis' latest (1.4) release of MameGP32 it now runs sweetly with sound.
Controls are simple: an 8-way joystick and a flap button. That button can be used 2 ways: hold it down and you'll leap to the top of the screen (or until you hit an obstacle). While leaping you can direct your flight, including up for more altitude. But here's the cool part, release the button and start hitting it like Joust and you will indeed flap around just like Joust. Unlike Joust you won't increase your altitude (you'll need to leap from another platform), instead simply arresting your fall and enabling a gliding motion if you're quick enough. So you can leap to any height, then flap your way to any point below that apex.
To complete the level you'll need to collect all the bombs that are scattered about. But here's the real trick: the very first bomb you collect will cause another bomb (usually very nearby) to have a lit fuse. Don't worry, it won't explode, but if you collect that bomb next (and continue to collect them in their 'lit' order) you can score a huge bonus at the end of the stage, as long as you collect 20 or more lit bombs. Once you get good at this you'll be collecting 50,000 bonus points (for 23 bombs, the maximum possible) in every level, and that really adds up quickly.
Also, when you collect 9 lit bombs you'll spawn a 'powercoin', which will bounce around the screen slowly. Grab this (trying to avoid unlit bombs!) and all monsters will freeze and be collectible for points. I'd recommend you don't concentrate too much on collecting monsters. Instead, get them if they're close but use the time to get to the next lit bomb so you can continue to collect them in sequence. You should be able to spawn 2 powercoins on each level, and keep in mind that the game remembers the number of lit bombs you've accumulated over levels, so if you only have a couple left to collect at the end of a level in order to spawn a powercoin, be ready because you'll spawn it as soon as you collect those bombs on the next level. Because of the game keeping count of lit bombs you'll sometimes be able to spawn 3 powercoins.
You'll also see the occasional 'B' coin spawn and drop to the bottom of the level, this is a bonus multiplier which will accrue and multiply the points you collect for each monster you kill. Very occasionally a 'Special' will spawn, collect this for an extra credit (not particularly valuable in Mame, but still fun).
The monsters each follow a set pattern of movement. The bird is always following you, but can only move horizontally and vertically. The UFO is a real problem, very fast moving and difficult to avoid.
BombJack is a real favourite among old-school gamers and with good reason. It's hugely rewarding to get good at. Once you really nail all the tricky little jumps and flights that the controls are capable of providing the sky becomes the limit and you'll settle for nothing less than a 'perfect' level. At least until it gets really hard....
You'll find BombJack in the Tecmo folder of MameGP32, and I find it runs great at 156mhz, frameskip <=2 with sound on.
Reviewed by: Alyinsanfran