Bomb Jack is a single screen Platform Game by Tecmo starring a caped superhero who travels around the world collecting bombs. It was originally released as an Arcade Game in 1984, when Tecmo was still known as Tehkan, and was ported to the SG-1000, Game Boy and various computers.
Tecmo's first game developed for consoles was Mighty Bomb Jack for the NES (and Nintendo Vs. System), which drastically expanded on the original gameplay, and gave Jack new Mighty Powers to help him explore horizontal scrolling and vertical scrolling levels set inside a pyramid.
Elite Systems Ltd, who brought Bomb Jack and later Mighty Bomb Jack to Western computers, also produced a sequel of their own, Bomb Jack II, for the Commodore64, Amstrad CPC, and ZX Spectrum. This retained the single screen layout of the original game, but drastically altered the jumping mechanics.
NMK, a company associated with Tecmo in the early 1990's, released the Arcade Game Bomb Jack Twin, which introduced a two- player cooperative mode.
Bomb Jack contains examples of:
- Airborne Mook: The annoying birds that homed in on Jack's position. Any "zombie" mook that hits the bottom level also becomes a dangerous one.
- Build Like an Egyptian: There's a pyramid and Sphinx in the first stage background, though just as eye candy.
- Cartoon Bomb: All the bombs are of this type. They light up in sequence, but never explode.
- Collision Damage: Jack dies if he touches an enemy.
- Endless Game: The stages start repeating after a while, though the backgrounds loop even sooner.
- Floating Platforms: Almost every level has these, and they're more noticeable given the real world skylines used as backdrops.
- Gotta Catch Them All: Just why does Jack have to collect all these bombs?
- Jump Physics: Bomb Jack was one of the first Platform Games to give the player full air control, with controls allowing Jack to jump higher or not so high and fall slower or faster. Mighty Bomb Jack kept these jumping mechanics, but Bomb Jack II changed them completely: Jack can jump only to platforms that are directly above, below, or to the side.
- Not the Intended Use: On the home-computer ports, using a joystick with an autofire switch allows Jack to move horizontally, making it much easier than intended to collect horizontal lines of bombs.
- 1-Up: Extra Coins.
- Real Song Theme Tune: The original arcade game uses the ending theme from Spoon Oba-san (the anime version of Mrs Pepperpot) as the first round theme. The second round theme is The Beatles' "Lady Madonna."
- As noted by Guru Larry, the C64 version actually used Magnetic Fields Part 2 by Jean-Michel Jarre. The C64 version of Bomb Jack II actually had the audacity of using the ThunderCats (1985) theme for one of its levels. note
- Respawning Enemies: Jack can clear the screen of enemies by changing them to coins and picking them up, but they'll be back before long, and faster.
- Score Multiplier: Bonus Coins.
Mighty Bomb Jack also contains examples of:
- Bonus Stage: In an unusual inversion, players who get too greedy collecting Mighty Coins or Mighty Drinks will be sent to a torture room, which has enemies but no prizes or exits. Escape is obtained by jumping fifty times.
- Build Like an Egyptian: Most of the game takes place inside a pyramid, and the Sphinx is an item that unlocks hidden rooms.
- Difficulty by Region: The American version moved some items to make them easier to find and allowed you to break secret blocks in one jump, rather than several.
- End Game Results Screen: The Game Deviation Value shown at the end of the game. For some reason, 47 is the least possible value.
- Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Treasure chests are almost everywhere, and might require Mighty Power to open or even get past.
- The Maze: A largish maze in the 12th level. The second crystal ball (and the Sphinx key to its room) is hidden within this maze, whose entrance is itself hidden.
- Multiple Endings: The ending is more complete depending on how many crystal balls and secret coins you got.
- Nostalgia Level: The Royal Palace rooms are this in terms of gameplay, though not graphics.
- Powerup Full Color Change: Jack turns blue, orange, and green with increasing levels of Mighty Power.
- Save the Princess: Save the King and Queen first, but the princess is there too.
- Timed Mission: There's a timer counting down slowly from 60 on each level. A power-up can increase the timer, but trying to push it past 99 will deliver the greedy player to a torture chamber.