Jack Attack 2 - PC - Review
Combine classic arcade-style action, a player-friendly environment and solid graphics, and you have all the ingredients of a family classic.
Jack Attack 2, from Seris Applications, is a sequel to the 1980’s Commodore 64 game. It is a sort of combination of Pac Man and Frogger. You have 149 levels spread through four game types: Cooperation, Just For Kids, Nostalgia and Standard. There are also four ways to play the game, as a single, two-player alternating, two-player competitive and two-player cooperative.
The latter is the key to the joy of this game. The two-player cooperative game is fun for not only children, but for children to play with parents.
The game is basically easy to play. You have a little character, known as Jack, and you have to jump on, push or pull blocks to get on suspended platforms for bonus points. Of course there are obstacles. Monsters drop from the ceiling of the level, then bounce up and down and try to land on your character. If it succeeds, you lose one of the three lives you are given. If, however, your little jumping character can land on the monster, or drop a block on it, you destroy it and get points. Accomplish the tasks, pick up the bonus points and eliminate the monsters, in under the time limit, and you can rack up a lot of points. Even if you don’t make it under the time limit, you still continue with the level until all the monsters are eliminated.
So how does the two-player game work? In order to reach some of the platforms, you will need to stand on the head of your partner and use that to jump up. You can also work in tandem to move blocks and solve some of the simple puzzles presented.
“I think the game is like Frogger,” said Jessica, 12, who helped test the product. “It’s really lots of fun. If you’re a kid you can play at the kid level, or if you’re a grown-up, you can play at the grown-up level. You can go to all these different levels and play them. Some of them are really easy and some of them are really hard. Once you really get into playing, you don’t want to quit.
“Single player is hard if you’ve already played a two-player team thing. I like to play with someone, on the same side, not against them. The competitive is not as fun as the cooperative.”
The controls are very simple to use and can be set up for two players on the same keyboard or with other controllers. (Hint: Familiarize yourself with the push/pull button – you will need it.)
The graphics are not overly complex, but try to emulate a three-dimensional feel. There is little in the audio department to intrigue.
However, this is basically a non-violent game (squashing the monsters just causes them to pop like a balloon and then they are gone) that should be a hit with families looking to spend an enjoyable time in a computer game together. Jack Attack 2 succeeds on that level.
Install: Easy. This program goes onto the computer without a lot of fanfare, but it does install fast. And once installed, you don’t need the CD in the drive to play the game.
Gameplay: 8. There is a pause between levels, so you can read how to gain bonus points – but once in a level, the action moves seamlessly.
Graphics: 8. The program goes for a three-dimensional feel, but is a mixed bag. The characters are three-dimensional but the playing field is flat and two dimensional.
Sound: 7. There is nothing here to get excited about. The game has background music, which can get annoying, and other audio which one would expect in the normal course of the game’s action. Fortunately, you can turn down the music.
Difficulty: 6. In this category, the lower the better. This program has four difficulty levels which allow players to set up the game the way they wish to play. Just For Kids is easy, while Nostalgia and Standard present more challenging scenarios. The use of a timer also speeds up the sense of urgency to achieve higher overall scores.
Concept: 8. This is family-oriented game playing in the truest sense. Though you can play as a single or two-player competitive (you each score individual points, not a team total), the joy of this program comes in the cooperative mode.
Overall: 8.5. Jack Attack 2 is a solid simple program that offers a great diversion, and a lot of laughter. It was amazing how the game quickly drew in the game players, and kept them enthralled with the cooperative nature of the program. This is a nice little game.
Editor's Note: This review was revised 1/3/01.