It’s always puzzled me as to who or what kind of a person of being Bomb Jack actually is. A masked crusader who must stop seemingly randomly placed explosives going off. Moving at lightning speed he bounds around levels collecting bombs and becoming an arcade hero in the process. It’s one of the best arcade conversions for the ZX Spectrum, it also has the often talked about, seldom experienced ‘one more go’ factor.
Your caped crusader launches himself around a world which is peppered with convenient platforms. You jump by pressing the fire button on your well-worn joystick. The key to your success is to try and fly over the many bombs littered around the level. Once you clear the scene of explosives, it’s onto the next level which features an increasingly difficult challenge. Attempting to stop you from saving the day is a variety of imaginative enemies. Starting with flapping birds, you eventually encounter the ultimate evil – shape-shifting soldiers!
The goal is to score as many points as possible. This is where the strategy comes in, if a bomb is fizzing, ready to go off, it’s worth 200 points rather than the usual 100. When you collect one of those, that sets off the next bomb in the sequence. This scoring system is cumulative, collecting a row of four of these bombs can be worth 800 points so it’s important to plan your route. There are special bonuses for collecting 20 or more sparkling bombs. There are also bonus coins that float around the level for you to collect.
The control mechanic isn’t the easiest, once Bombjack is catapulted into the air you will need to wrestle with the joystick to control his flight. Pressing left and right swerve his flight while Bombjack can gain an extra boost by pressing up. You can also hover by rapidly tapping the fire button. While initially difficult to maneuver around the level, with practice, Bombjack will become a precision instrument, disposing of bombs with ease.
The addictive quality of this title can not be underestimated. The graphics also pack a punch, our titular character is animated, stylish and a joy to watch move through the levels. The monochromatic nature of the visuals can make it a little difficult to see Bombjack against colorful backgrounds. Pop this into your Speccy and you will soon be challenging your mates to high score battles.
A brilliant Arcade conversion of a legendary title. Control Bombjack as he flies around intricate levels defusing bombs and becoming a high score legend
Chris McAuley is a Northern Irish born author, comic book and gaming columnist who has now branched out from talking about comics to helping create them. An acclaimed colourist for 2000 AD and Marvel he has worked on flagship titles such as Judge Dredd, Roy of the Rovers and Hulkverines. Chris also has a commitment to the Indie scene being an inker and colourist for ‘The Lang Way Hame’ a Scottish comic which is tipped for an award later this year. With close ties to heroes of the industry such as the ‘Godfather of British comics’ Pat Mills and Spawn creator Todd McFarlene,