ZX Spectrum Games

ZX Spectrum Games

15 Dec 2009

Spectrum Games - Bombjack - ZX Spectrum retro game

Bomb Jack ZX Spectrum
Elite software, who won so many 'tie in' titles, created one of the best ever arcade conversions (one to rival Commando) on the ZX Spectrum with Bomb Jack in April of 1986.

Tehkan (now Tecmo) had created the popular arcade game in 1984 so a home computer conversion was always on the cards.

Spectrum Games Bombjack
In this retro arcade game you controlled Jack - a 'superhero' who could leap incredibly high and gracefully glide to the ground. He could diffuse bombs too by simply touching them - I suppose that's why he was called Bomb Jack.

Anyway - in Bombjack a load of bombs (the cartoon style black 'balls' with a fizzing lit fuze) had been placed in famous locations all around the world. I'm not sure why!

The locations were:
The Sphinx and pyramids
The Acropolis
Neuschwanstein Castle
Miami Beach
Hollywood (LA)

The object of the game was to 'diffuse' the bombs and defeat the various enemies on each screen - each screen being one of the famous locations.

Each of the screens usually had platforms on it too - you couldn't jump through these platforms but you could land on them and walk over them if you wanted to.

Various baddies populated each screen such as robots, birds and deadly snails (yep, deadly snails!) which would take one of your three lives on contact with you. You had to manouver Bombjack around these nasties by leaping and 'floating' around the screen, you could also change direction in mid-air which was pretty cool.

Bombjack on the ZX SpectrumOnce you had collected/diffused your first bomb (they never exploded, no matter how long you let them fizzle!) another one's fuse would ignite. You could collect all the bombs in the order that the fuses beacame lit - but it didn't really matter if you didn't bother. If you did collect them all in order a bonus was put your way. Collecting all twenty three bombs in the active state resulted in a whopping 60,000 bonus points.

Either way - once all the bombs on screen had been collected, Bombjack moved on to the next screen

Every so often a disk bearing the letter P arrived - collecting this immobilised the enemies and turned them into stationary smiling faces (for a few seconds - Pac Man style)which could be collected for yet more points.

An E disk added an extra life, while a B disk added points and increased the value of any subsequent bombs collected. Nice.

Once you had visited all of the screens you were whisked back to the beginning - with the platform layout altered and the nasties even nastier.

On release:
Well the arcade game of Bombjack had been relatively popular down yer local arcade - and the style of gameplay was ripe for a conversion. Andy Williams and Paul Holmes really did the original justice and Bombjack was a top version. Spectrum gamers loved the game and it was a huge and deserved hit.

The test of time:
Well you know what, I've played 1000's of Spectrum Games and this is one I come back to now and again. The gameplay is sooo simple yet still pure. It doesn't rely on flashy graphics or even immersive music to draw you in. Bombjack on the Speccy is still hugely playable and fun - a true arcade classic.

You've got to play Bombjack and appreciate it - it's da bomb!

We recommend getting hold of the real Sinclair ZX Spectrum hardware, but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download Bomb Jack. Alternatively you could try and play it online.

Please see our other ZX Spectrum retro game reviews - all links are listed in alphabetical order. Cheers guys.

GENRE: Arcade game
RELEASE DATE: April 1986
RELEASED BY: Elite Software
DEVELOPER(S): Paul Holmes and Andy Williams
PRICE: £7.95

The colourful menu screen in Bombjack:

Our hero clears the first two screens in Bombjack - Spectrum Games:

Classic Games and Arcade Games


Chris said...

Bomb Jack is a fantastic Spectrum game just as the Arcade game was also fantastic.

Its the little things. The sounds effects are excellent given the limitations of the Spectrum, but the small touches of the Arcade version are maintained in this amazing conversion.

For example, enemies will slowly appear on the screen. But as the screens are quite small, such appearances might in a lesser game result in instant death if you are really unlucky and an enemy appears directly on top of you. In the Arcade version and on the Spectrum version, there is a period of time after an enemy appears where he will not kill you. You have about one and a half seconds to move away and a potentially game-altering level of frustration is avoided with good game-design.

Other touches involve the control of jump velocity via the holding up whilst jumping and the hover dynamic.

An Amazing game, and a great review.

The Retro Brothers said...

Cheers Chris.

You're right - Bombjack is a great game - and the conversion that Elite put out is superb. It's still playable today.

Thanks for the kind words

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