Video Game: Jet Force Gemini
A third-person shooter released by Rare in 1999 for the Nintendo 64.
The game stars twin siblings Juno and Vela, and their dog Lupus, who together make up the Gemini unit of Space Police
organisation Jet Force
. Upon responding to a distress signal, they witness an attack on the not-Endor planet Goldwood against the not-Ewok Tribals by the bug forces of the evil emperor Mizar. The trio move to do their hero thing, but they are suddenly attacked by Mizar's forces and separated, landing in different locations on the planet.
From there, each member of Jet Force Gemini must embark on their own routes towards Mizar's fortress, saving Tribals and blasting his evil bug henchmen along the way. Once the trio are reunited, they receive upgrades (Juno and Vela get jetpacks, Lupus becomes a tank) and are allowed to explore each other's levels freely, opening up new routes with their individual powers and gathering resources
for the final showdown with Mizar
Originally designed as a cutesy shooter, it got a Darker and Edgier
makeover halfway through development and ended up better for it. This being a Rare game, it also contains a good amount of their characteristic humour, such as furry dice in the cockpit of the Jet Force Gemini ship and a major character with the distinctly un-Sci-Fi
-ish name "Jeff". The main source of criticism comes from the 100% Completion
quests, which range from teeth-grindingly hard
to head-bangingly unintuitive
This game provides examples of:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Inverted, as Floyd defects from Mizar for this reason.
- Alien Blood: Green, with an option for Rainbow. Averted with the tribals, whose blood is bright red.
- All There in the Manual: The titular trio are the only survivors of their fleet.
- Anti-Climax: The game ends with yet another Floyd flight segment. Granted, it's his Heroic Sacrifice for all the people in the Earth, but still.
- Artificial Stupidity: An unfortunate case; Drones are programmed to run behind cover when cover is available. This includes barrels and other objects that violently explode when shot.
- Attack Drone: Floyd, unique in that he is controlled by player 2.
- Awesome but Impractical: A few weapons, the Flamethrower and Shocker perhaps most of all.
- Beating A Dead Player: Anything that's not a boss will continue to shoot at you after you've died. In the case of the final boss, he settles back down on his floating rock and laughs in your face or does a victory fist pump.
- Bad Guy Pub: Which inexplicably plays earth-like Disco non-stop. Even Juno can't resist the urge.
- Boss Room
- Bug War: The whole game is based around blowing up various bugs into green goo.
- Creative Closing Credits: Juno drops some sick steps on the dance-floor at Ichor.
- Collision Damage: A bit odd for a third-person shooter, but it's there.
- Controllable Helplessness: You can twitch after dying.
- Cool Pet: Lupus. What's cooler than a dog with a GUN mounted on his back?
- Not to mention his foot-rocket boosters and tank upgrade.
- Convection Schmonvection: Notable offender not only for the large amount of pits of lava and molten metal our heroes jump over unharmed. It so happens that Juno's special ability is being able to walk on them.
- Crying Little Kid: Can be seen in King Jeff's vision of the invasion.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: In the pre-boss cutscene on Eschebone, Lupus uses his hovering ability about 8 times longer than he can in gameplay. In several other cutscenes, he hovers a good deal higher than he can jump, and can gain altitude while doing so.
- Do Not Strafe With A Gun and the bosses will fill you full of holes.
- Dual Boss: The Eschebone Mantises, also those two bosses.
- Easy Levels, Hard Bosses
- Evil Laugh: Mizar before he fights you, and also after he kicks your ass.
- Evolving Title Screen: Depending on how far you were into the game, the title screen would change in order - Juno running solo, Juno & Vela running, the whole team running, the whole team running in their upgrades, the whole team walking on the Federation homeworld in celebration.
- Expy: Magnus. Think Yoda, only with floppy ears and greener.
- The Federation: The Union, although only briefly mentioned in-game and in the manual.
- Free Sample Plot Coupon: Averted. When Mizar escapes from his palace after Lupus easily defeats him, he threatens the characters to redirect an asteroid to blow up planet Earth. Aware of this, King Jeff tells the protagonists that there is a huge mothership that will help them intercept the asteroid and find a way to stop it, but it's missing twelve pieces. Eleven of these pieces are scattered through the galaxy, so the three characters have to do a Fetch Quest to retrieve them. The 12th piece, technically the first, is in Jeff's hands, but he won't give it away until all 282 missing tribals in the game are rescued. He doesn't even care if the aforementioned asteroid manages to hit Earth in the meantime.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- Every enemy (and most allies) can be blown to bits. Every one of them, each splattering more blood than the average Unreal Tournament contestant. And you can pick up their heads...
- After giving the Specialist Magazine to Fernando, he says "I can barely wait to get started", before asking you to "lock the door on your way out"... The French version of the game (translated by the legendary Julien Bardakoff) makes this sequence even more explicit : "Please leave now and close the door behind you, I may have my hands full..."
- Girlish Pigtails: Vela.
- Gotta Catch Them All: The ship pieces and the Tribals. As in, you need to collect all the ship parts to get to the Final Boss, and you need to rescue all the Tribals, everywhere, to get all the ship parts. That particular side-quest causes the latter half of the game to drag.
- The Great Repair: The second half of the game is all about finding the 12 missing pieces of a spaceship that can help the characters intercept a meteor Mizar plans to aim at Earth to impact upon it.
- Guest Fighter: A variation—in the multiplayer mode of the Racing Minigame, it's possible to race on the Greenwood Village track from Diddy Kong Racing.
- Guide Dang It: Considered the game's primary weakness.
- A good example is the second level. To progress, at the bare minimum, the player needs to shoot a panel in an easily missed segment of a room, located in a different room than the objective is, with no clue as to the location (and no indication is given that these panels are not decoration!). For more fun, 100% Completion requires finding more of these panels throughout the level, all hidden in even more out-of-the-way places!
- Probably the ultimate example, though, is the sheer obscurity of what you need to do to get one of the ship parts needed to take on the final boss. First, find a hidden passage in the Anubis so you can do one of the Floyd racing/shooting minigames. Then get a Gold rank on said minigame, which requires pretty much memorizing the path and the things you need to shoot. This will give you a set of earplugs. Now, take these earplugs to a bear on one of the hidden planets. The game, to its credit, tells you the bear is having trouble sleeping because of all the noise Mizar's troops are making and that the Anubis is a cargo ship, where you might find something helpful for him.
- I Surrender, Suckers: If you catch a Drone unarmed, they'll raise their hands up in surrender. Often if you turn your back on them they'll pull out a grenade, and... Bye-bye, large portion of your health!
- Heroic Sacrifice Floyd.
- Karma Houdini: Jeff's brother Barry, who created the persona and robotic body of Mizar, gathered an entire army of marauding insects, murdered and enslaved countless members of his own tribe, slaughtered Juno and Vela's entire fleet, and was willing to pilot an asteroid on a suicide mission to destroy the Earth. All because he was jealous of Jeff's power and status. His only punishment seems to be a stern talking-to because he apparently "hadn't meant for things to go this far." Right.
- Jiggle Physics: Vela demonstrates an early, low-poly version of this.
- In addition to the traditional Jiggle Physics with a female character, Vela's pigtails also exhibit a very noticeable bounce.
- Joke Weapon: "Fish food. It feeds fish. That's it."
- Lethal Lava Land: Eschebone, when it's not being a Womb Level.
- Live Item: the Tribals.
- Ludicrous Gibs: Go ahead, shoot that lone foot soldier ant with that shiny new Tri-Rocket Launcher. If that's not gory enough, turn on the Rainbow Blood mode, which doubles the amount of blood exploded enemies splatter and paint the entire room fabulous.
- Man Behind the Man: Behind Mizar is, of all things, King Jeff's missing brother.
- Mercy Kill: Sometimes Drones won't die instantly. They might fall to the ground and twitch in agony instead. The player can finish them off or let them expire after a few seconds.
- Mini-Dungeon: The Spacestation. It's pretty much like the cargo ships visited by Juno, Vela and Lupus through their individual routes, but it's severely wrecked and the only relevant thing to do is to rescue Tribals.
- Mook Chivalry: The boss fight against the Mechantids starts off like this with the second one just hopping around on the background scenery, but that gets completely thrown out the window halfway through the fight.
- More Dakka: Chain guns and rocket launchers are your best friends.
- There's also one type of flying drone that shows up in groups of at least 12, each of which will shoot around 10 shots at a time.
- Ms. Fanservice: Being the only female cast member, Vela was likely designed with a certain audience in mind. She wears no helmet so we can see her blue hair, has a neckline along with the usual assets and of course a tiny skirt.
- My God, What Have I Done?: King Jeff has one of these moments after he, in a fit of rage, uses his rather incredible magic powers to zombify the entire planet of Tawfret. Granted, that was a mistake: he was aiming at the bug soldiers, but one of them shot him and the zombie-beam hit a tree instead...
- Naming Conventions
- Meaningful Name: The star sign Gemini is the twins.
- Odd Name Out: The main trio and villain have astrologically themed names, while the tribal leader is named (King) Jeff.
- Stellar Name: The titular trio.
- Night of the Living Mooks: The first half of Tawfret is populated by zombified Drones vulnerable only to explosives andnote the Plasma Shotgun.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Lupus, the third member of the heroic trio, is a robotic amphibious tank/dog.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Lupus and Floyd.
- 100% Completion: Actually required in order to complete the game, at least as far as rescuing the Tribals is concerned.
- Four-Person Army: The titular trio and Floyd defeat Mizar all on their own.
- Panty Shot: Vela pre-upgrade
- Parental Bonus: One NPC is missing his pants. Find them, give them back to him, and talk to him again, and he'll comment that his "yin and yang" are "warming up nicely".
- Press X to Die: You can run into fireplaces and other heating elements to damage yourself.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The protagonists during the whole game when you consider its back story.
- Rule of Three: You don't get a rocket launcher. You get a Tri-Rocket Launcher. Not to mention that there's 3 main characters, and Cluster bombs explode into 3 smaller bombs.
- Silliness Switch: Rainbow blood, the characters' original super deformed designs, and enemies appearing as Rare's mascot, Mr. Pants, are all unlockable. And you unlock them by decapitating the bugs and collecting their heads.
- Shout-Out: Collecting upwards of 300 decapitated Drone heads allows you to replace the standard Mooks with Rare's mascot, Mr. Pants. There's also an unlockable racing minigame/multiplayer mode, which shares a track with Diddy Kong Racing.
- Sniper Pistol: A textbook example. You can force a target to center on the crosshairs by manipulating the view on precision mode. Made even easier by aiming with the Sniper Rifle prior to switching.
- Spam Attack: After you destroy Mizar's wings in the second fight, he goes absolutely nuts and proceeds to attack three times as much as he did in his earlier phases.
- Some Dexterity Required: It's not overly complicated; what makes it hard to get used to is how you have to learn and switch accordingly between 2 control schemes: the normal roaming control scheme and the hold-R precision control scheme.
- Suspicious Videogame Generosity
- Take Your Time: After defeating Mizar the first time, he flees and commandeers a passing asteroid, putting it on a collision course with Earth. The characters' own ships aren't fast enough to catch up in time, but fret not! All the player must do is embark on a planet-hopping quest to collect parts of a ship that is fast enough. All this time, Mizar's asteroid will remain effectively in limbo en route to Earth.
- A real life Lampshading adds to the hilarity. Because the search for the ship parts and Tribals is all time consuming, many people ended up resorting to guides. Only, there weren't many guides available because the game took forever for practically everyone to complete. When a 100% complete guide finally is released, the introduction paragraph taunts the gamers with (paraphrased) "Yep, it's been 6 months since this game shipped. And it's been 6 months since that asteroid left to destroy Earth. And you STILL haven't collected everything to chase after it. But fret not, we have a guide to help you."
- Took a Shortcut: Lampshaded by Magnus. "I move pretty fast. I know."
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Oh so many instances.
- The Tribals can be shot and killed in the same way as the enemies. This includes women and children and baby tribals.
- Depending on where (and with what) you shoot a Drone (or Tribal), they can be decapitated, explode in an audible shower of blood, or collapse on the ground, twitching. And if you want to, finish the job with the Tri-Rocket.
- Other options include setting them on fire or watching them jerk in agony as you slowly fry them with the Shocker.
- You can collect the heads of your enemies. Or the Tribals.
- You can disguise yourself as an enemy, and stand outside the mook's nightclub,with the queue of 20-30 Mooks trying to get into the place and decapitate all of them with a single shuriken...
- Collecting the ant heads even gets you a reward; get enough and you can use the Silliness Switch.
- What the Hell, Player?: NPC's will chew you out for shooting them.
- Womb Level: Eschebone is a lava world and one of its denizens is a giant worm. The player enters through its mouth and exits through...the other end.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Vela.