Format reviewed: NES/Famicom
Submitted by: Steven Ronald Jackson
Out of all the consoles ever released, the NES has to have the most diverse game library ever. From legendary classics like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Contra, Castlevania and Mega-Man to infamous catastrophes such as Silver Surfer, Dick Tracy, Action 52 and Dragon's Lair the NES truly contains the best and worst the gaming world had to offer. But the NES also harbours a variety of obscure and bizarre games which are often forgotten about, one such game is Mighty Bomb Jack.
Mighty Bomb Jack was released an arcade game released back in 1986 by Tecmo and is by far one of the most bizarre games I have ever played. I have played a lot of games for a lot of systems but this game truly is the most bizarre. The concept of Mighty Bomb Jack is simple; you are Jack and it is your job to make it through 16 Levels of a Pyramid to then finally defeat Belzebut and save the Pamera family. The game was ported to the NES in 1992 which bizarrely was 6 years after it was released in the arcades, which is why when playing this game it feels so primative for the year it was brought out in. The NES was already slowly being phased out by the SNES so it is quite a bizarre game to be playing in terms of timelines.
But anyway, the game has you making it through 16 levels, each split into 2 parts; an action zone and a Royal Palace Room. The objective of the game is to score the highest score (since it was ported from the arcades) which is done by collecting as many bombs and treasures out of treasure chests as you can, in the action zone. Then in the Royal Palace Room, you need to collect all the bombs in the room, in order to advance to the next level. If you collect too many treasures and bombs you are sent to the "Torture Room" where you need to see if you can survive without being hit by the enemies while doing a set amount of jumps and this is where the difficulty and strategy comes into the game. The levels are huge mazes which you need to navigate Metroid style, if you lose you way, you are in a whole lot of trouble.
Mighty Bomb Jack is mighty hard. 3 Lives, 1 hit you are dead, no continues. It is really difficult to explain the strategy needed to play this game. It is in a way a game of nerve, if you lose your nerve and doubt yourself you are sure to die. It is truly a very strange experience.
To aid you, you have a variety of power-ups which change your colour; blue, green and orange. Blue allows you to open orange chests, Green allows you to open chests by just touching them (as opposed to jumping on them which is how you open chests in the game) and Orange which makes you temporarily invinsible and turns all the enemies into gold coins which boost your score. Mighty Drinks give you ten more seconds on the timer which is another thing, this game has a timer you need to do the levels under. It is truly challenging and not for the weak at heart.
To conclude, Mighty Bomb Jack is one of the more cult games in the NES library. While it was released late in the life of the NES, looks and sounds fairly primative, it is a truly deep and challenging game which tests your nerve to the limit. While I would not recommend this game is for everyone, if you are wanting to play something a little obscure I would give it a try. It has been re-released for the Wii Virtual Console and is priced at 500 Wii Points. If you want to play something obscure go for it, if you don't stick with what you know.