Jackass: The Game – PS2 – Review

Since 1999, the Jackass crew has
been entertaining us with their sometimes dangerous, sometimes disgusting, and
often ridiculous stunts. Initially appearing as a recurring article in
skateboarding/humor magazine Big Brother, Jackass was brought into the spotlight
on MTV in 2000 and became insanely popular. After the show’s cancellation in
2002, two feature film versions reunited the cast, and allowed them to perform
stunts that couldn’t have aired on MTV. Jackass: the Game aims to capture the
mayhem of a bunch of guys hurting themselves and each other for entertainment,
and while it’s got its share of problems, it kind of succeeds.

The game begins with Johnny
Knoxville and his crew getting ready to film a new season of Jackass episodes.
After Jeff Tremaine, the director, injures himself, Knoxville hands off the
camera to the player and the game begins. With the exception of Bam Margera,
every Jackass cast member is present and accounted for, both in voice form and
detailed character models. Cinematics introduce each new episode and stunt, and
are all presented in the format of the show — shaky hand-cam style, with the
featured Jackasses explaining what they’re about to do (“Hi, I’m Steve-O, and
this is Suburban Wakeboarding.”) and usually pranking each other.

Cinematics look like they were taken
straight from the show.

The game is structured as a season
of seven episodes, with each episode consisting of five stunts. Stunts range
from stuff taken directly from the show (Party Boy, featuring Chris Pontius
dancing almost naked in a mom-and-pop grocery store) to more outlandish, deadly
fare (Pachinko Precipice consists of a cast member flinging themselves down a
rocky mountainside, rag-dolling their way to the bottom). Each episode has a
certain dollar amount required to pass it; money can be made by either
performing the stunt skillfully and succeeding, or by failing the stunt
spectacularly, causing destruction to the environment and the Jackass
performing. Taking a cue from the early Tony Hawk titles, each stunt has five
goals; accomplishing a goal provides a set amount of money. Once you’ve exceeded
the amount required to pass the episode, you can replay those stunts to try to
get more money, or you can proceed to the next episode.

Each stunt is a unique minigame,
though some are very similar to each other, and at least a couple are performed,
slightly differently, in multiple episodes. Stunts range from a Katamari Damacy-style
snowball rolling down a hill, to Tony Hawk-inspired skateboarding sequences, to
Simon Says-esque button-pushing challenges. Some minigames are more involved and
complex than others, but they’re all pretty short and simple. Many allow for the
triangle button to make your character “bail out”, racking up injuries that are
listed individually with accompanying x-ray images; these injuries are granted a
monetary value that’s added to your episode total. Oftentimes, bailing out (and
the rag-doll injury-fest that follows) is considerably more fun than the stunt
itself. In fact, one of the major problems with this game is that only about
half of the minigames offered are any fun. Granted, some of them are quite
hilarious to watch, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re any fun to play.
Since they’re so quick, though, you’re never more than a few seconds away from a
new challenge.

A detailed character model in the lower
corner lets you keep an eye on how banged up your guy is.

The game looks pretty good for a PS2
title; as a late-lifecycle PS2 title, it’s able to pull out plenty of graphical
tricks the system’s capable of. Especially impressive are the detailed 3D models
of the cast members, as well as their animations. One of the game’s standout
elements, however, is definitely its audio. The soundtrack is full of the same
sort of classic punk/thrash that was featured in the films, so fans of the
Misfits, the Vandals, and CKY will have plenty to look forward to. Jackass’s
cast members all provided tons of voice work, so each stunt has running
commentary by its participants — especially grunts, shouts, and curses used
liberally anytime someone’s injured, just like the show.

 Jackass: the Game doesn’t try
to do anything radically different. If you’re a fan of the elaborate stupidity
featured in the series and films, you’ll probably have a pretty good time
banging up the idiots you know and love. Anyone who’s not a fan probably isn’t
even considering playing this, but they wouldn’t like it anyway. Provided you go
in expecting violent, attention-deficit-required humor and don’t expect a
revolution in concept or execution, you and Jackass: the Game will get along

Review Scoring Details for Jackass: The Game

Gameplay: 6.3
Some of the minigames play great, while others are simplistic and stupid (much
like the show), and yet others are poorly designed and control badly. The
average swings toward “fun,” but not by a whole lot.

Graphics: 7.8
The game looks pretty good for a PS2 title. Sure, it can’t compete with the
likes of MGS3 (still my vote for best-looking PS2 game), but the cast members
are detailed and the game’s animations (especially rag-doll) are very well done.

Sound: 8.5
A killer soundtrack gives the game a lot of the same energy and momentum as the
show. Voice acting by all involved adds another layer of authenticity, but voice
clips do repeat fairly often.

Difficulty: Easy
Most fans will be able to finish this one in an afternoon. A few minigames are
tough because of frustratingly unresponsive controls, but they’re so short you
can still get through them in a few minutes.

Concept: 7.4
The idea of a Jackass game is a no-brainer, since so many of their stunts seem
tailor-made to video game adaptation. While some of their ideas don’t really pan
out, many translate seamlessly to the game world.

Overall: 7.2
Just like the show, Jackass: the Game is a guilty pleasure. It’s sophomoric,
lowest-common-denominator entertainment to be sure, but that doesn’t keep it
from being fun.