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I didn't like this one to start with, but after a few plays it grew on me. Squishing the heads in various ways was very amusing, but the control took a bit of getting used to. The graphics are simple but there are amusing touches -- I particularly liked the rotating heads and Jack's animation. However, the sound is poor and it's not a game I'd want to spend 15 on.
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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Jack Attack
1983 Commodore Business Machines
Programmed by Kevin Kieller & John Traynor
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the first issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (May 1985).
 

JACK ATTACK
Commodore, 14.95 cart, joystick only


O Simple but challenging arcade action


This is a simple game where you have to bounce around a ten-column screen trying to squash rotating heads. This is done amidst a scene of blocks, platforms and water arranged differently on the 64 screens.

Jack has to crush eight heads on each screen and he can do this in a variety of ways. The straightforward method is to jump onto a head, but there are lots of techniques for doing this and you can also crush the heads using the blocks littered around the place.

Jack can push or pull the blocks by pressing the fire button and moving in the desired direction, but he must beware since the heads can also squish him and a careless push can bring a block down on his head.

No Jack visible here because he just got murdered.
The oval shaped things are the heads you're
supposed to squash.

There are points for each head you destroy, and also several bonuses are available. Every time you move a block you score points, and if you splurge the heads fast enough there is a time bonus. On some screens there is also a bonus for touching all the platforms.

Jack is curiously allergic to water, which kills him, but this can be overcome by pushing blocks into it, which float and can be walked on. Jack can jump up to three blocks high but the heads can go higher and so Jack must time his leaps carefully to avoid being trapped.

You jump by pushing the joystick up and gravity brings you down, naturally. Moving left or right makes you shuffle or hop one column, although the reaction isn't always immediate. You can start at any of the first nine levels, but once you've past ten you'll have to crush all eight heads in one go instead of being able to get them a few at a time.

BW
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Put off by the title, I found myself fearing the worst, but ended up reasonably impressed. It has quite an original scenario -- squashing heads was a new experience for me! Play is quite difficult and challenging and the 64 different screens will take any player's

ability to the limit. Despite mediocre graphics and sound, my view of the game grew fonder towards it as I played. Unfortunately, 15 is too high a price to pay for just an above average arcade game.
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JACK ATTACK ALMANACK

This amusingly titled section appears on the back of the cartridge box and provides you with some helpful slang for use in the game. Here are some examples. The 'headraulic squash' involves timing your jump to land on a low bouncing head as it passes underneath.

A far more dangerous pastime is 'headroplaning' where Jack skids of a ripe for squashing head and may end up in deep trouble. Also, potentially dangerous is 'volleyball' where Jack tries to leap up and to the side to avoid a dropping head.

Most enjoyable is the 'long distance squash' where you trap a head between two columns of blocks and push a block after him. 'An artistic squash,' as the box says.
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This is one of those simple but addictive games which are enjoyable without having stunning graphics, sound, or complicated scenarios. The 64 levels provide plenty of new challenges and different tactics,

although the game does have a limited scope because of its simple nature. I also liked the way you could either concentrate on high scoring by collecting bonuses or just on beating as many screens as possible.
.

 

 
PRESENTATION
ORIGINALITY
71% A humourous 'almanack', good on-screen presentation, crummy box.
75%
Simple set up but original gameplay.
GRAPHICS
HOOKABILITY
46% Rotating heads look good but there is little else.
55%
Frustrating until you get the hang of the timing.
SOUND
LASTABILITY
35% No tune and only a few sound effects.
71%
64 different screens - a game which grows on you.
VALUE FOR MONEY
58% Unfortunately expensive because it's on cartridge.

 

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (26 April 2001)

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