Elite, C64 £9.99 cassette, £12.99 disk; Amiga £24.99
classic early Eighties Tecmo coin-op, Bombjack began life defusing bombs on a series of static screens, cape fluttering as he flew from bomb to bomb. Although the original C64 conversion (47%, issue 14) and Amiga conversion (39%, issue 43) were a disaster, success on other formats led Elite to develop their own C64 sequel (80%, issue 22). Three years later Tecmo themselves developed a sequel for the Nintendo, Mighty Bombjack, which was so hugely successful another Elite conversion was inevitable.
The plot follows the Japanese fashion for unpronounceable names and general weirdness. Apparently once upon a time King Pamera ruled the world in perfect peace, which was all far too dull to make a computer game so the demon Beelzebut kidnapped him and plunged the world into chaos. Each of the king’s sons took on the demon in turn, all failing until only one remained – Bombjack!
Just to make Bombjack feel at home, Beelzebut filled his fortress with bombs, but not all of them are explosive. The seventeen main levels scroll either horizontally or vertically, and the scattered bombs only offer bonus points. Bombjack’s main objective is to find the exit. When he does there is a static bonus screen much like the original game: to open the exit, all bombs have to be collected. If you get the fizzing bombs in order there is a special bonus.
To defuse or collect a bomb, all Bombjack has to do is touch it. What makes life difficult are seven types of monster, including a Heel (which is a skull!), a shape changing Mummy, and Billy – a flying vampire rabbit! These materialise in unexpected places and pursue Bombjack relentlessly. Unarmed, his only tactic is skilful evasion.
Pressing fire makes Bombjack fly upwards, and you can move him in flight, stop him by pressing fire or even hover by rapidly pressing fire. Bonus points can be earned by opening treasure chests which also contain coins, extra time, sphinxes (revealing hidden exits), Power Balls (briefly changes all enemies to coins) and Mighty Coins. The latter allow Bombjack to have magic powers so he can open treasure chests by just touching them, or even transform the baddies into coins by holding down fire. However if Bombjack gets too greedy he is locked in a static torture screen where he must survive with dozens of baddies for forty seconds.
Zzap, Issue 73, May 1991, p.9