Bomb Jack (ボンジャック Bon Jakku ) is an arcade platform game that was released in 1984 by Tehkan (known today as Tecmo). It was followed by two official sequels, the console and computer title Mighty Bomb Jack, and the arcade game Bomb Jack Twin. There was also Bomb Jack II, a licensed follow-up developed for 8-bit home computers by the European games publisher Elite Systems.
Plot and gameplay
The player controls Jack, a superhero who can leap and glide. Someone has planted 24 bombs at famous tourist sites (the Sphinx and Great Pyramids, the Acropolis, Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, and two cityscapes resembling Miami Beach and Hollywood, which appear only as screen backgrounds rather than unique game locations). Jack must fly around the screen to collect the bombs. Each screen uses a different configuration of platforms upon which Jack may run and jump. Eventually, the levels reoccur a number of times with increasing difficulty.
Jack "defuses" the bombs by simply touching them. As soon as he has touched the first, he triggers a sequence in which another bomb's fuse lights up, and so on. A player can score a bonus in each round by touching 20 or more bombs in the correct lit-fuse sequence. Jack may also defuse an unlit bomb by touching it, but this impedes his opportunity to score the bonus for that screen. It also delays the appearance of the game's bonuses and power-ups.
Bomb Bonuses are triggered when Jack touches the first of 24 onscreen bombs. It is possible to collect the remaining bombs in fuse order, the maximum being 23 (the top score possible on a level). Expert players would combine this with X5 'b's for the largest multiplier score available.
The lit fuses have no strategic purpose other than the bonus; a lit bomb left unattended does not explode, although the onscreen enemies become faster the longer Jack is flying around and they eventually start to follow him at speed. At this point, new enemies appear in the form of flying saucers, that 'lock on' to Jack and are difficult to avoid.
Enemies such as birds, mummies, turtles, and orbs float around the screen, making Jack lose a life if he touches them. Collecting bombs will increase the bonus meter at the top of the screen (collecting lit bombs increases it more). When the meter is completely filled up, a circular bouncing "P" appears, and when collected, it will turn all the enemies into bonus coins for a short period during which Jack may collect them. Other similar bonuses are the B (Bonus) which increases the score multiplier (up to 5x), the E (Extra) which gives an extra life, and the rare S (Special), which awards a free game.
- 1985: Sega SG-1000
- 1986: Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 16
- 1988: Atari ST, Amiga
- 1992: Game Boy
- 2003: Java ME
- 2004: MSX
- 2008: Atari XL/XE
- 2009: Wii Virtual Console
- Cpc bombjack.png
Amstrad CPC version
Bomb Jack's Round 1 music is the ending song from the Japanese animated cartoon series Spoon Obasan (Mrs. Pepper Pot), sung by Mari Iijima. Round 2 was set to the music of the Beatles' Lady Madonna, which had been licensed by Tehkan. When the game was re-released on the Tecmo Classic Arcade compilation for Xbox, the music from Mighty Bomb Jack for the NES was used, due to the music licensing issues.