The Playstation was a great console, wasn’t it? I mean, it changed gaming as it brought in more adult-rated games. I don’t mean stuff like XXX stuff, but stuff that had cursing and more adult-oriented themes. We got stuff like the Hideo Kojima classic, Metal Gear Solid. We also got one of the MOST OVERRATED games of all time, Final Fantasy 7, but to be fair, we did get the more awesome and amazing Final Fantasy 9. We also got horror classics like Resident Evil 1 that was then outdone by Resident Evil 2 and 3, and we got Konami’s other hit, Silent Hill. We also got other games from Capcom, like Dino Crisis and Rival School, though we did get some bad games like Street Fighter EX. There are games though, that are, in my opinion, underrated. We have Sol Divide, Star Gladiator, Devil Dice, Alundra, and classics like the first three Crash Bandicoot games, and the first three Spyro games, though there is one game series that I consider to be extremely underrated. I mean, even more underrated than Rival Schools. This series is simply known as Jumping Flash! This little series was very innovative, being one of the first 3D platforming series of games. Sadly, the greatness of Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64 overshadowed this series. After that, 3D platforming games became something natural and it was hard for a series to stand out. This series disappeared, and only two of its games were released in the U.S. Oh well, now I can tell you people about this wonderful little series. Let’s get started with the first game released in 1995.
The story is light-hearted and shouldn’t really be taken seriously. An evil scientist named Baron Aloha, the first ever villain to wear a tacky Hawaii shirt is taking apart planets to make his own little paradises. Since taking apart actually planets can doom the planets themselves, Universal City Hall decides to stop this villain’s plan to make multiple resorts, by sending out a giant machine named Robbit (horrible pun!) to stop evil Baron Aloha and save the worlds along with stopping Aloha and his evil ways. This is definitely a video game story aimed for kids, but it’s a simple story, so don’t take it so seriously.
The gameplay featured in Jumping Flash is a first person platformer, taking the popular jumping mechanics of Mario, and combining them with a first person view, kind of like Mirror’s Edge, but not real life physics, and it has a rabbit robot. The main goal in each level is to find four rocket packs that are shaped like carrots, and then find your way to the exit. It is kind of like Wai Wai World where you need to find an imprisoned character, and then you free it and have to make your way back to the beginning. Your main form of movement is, of course, running, but it is a lot more fun jumping super-high from place to place. You can perform two jumps at one time that is shown by a meter on the right side of the screen. You usually have about 9 minutes to get all four rocket packs before losing a life. You can also shoot lasers, but it’s more effective to jump on the enemies. You can gain secondary weapons like super bombs, multi rockets, and other unusual weapons.
The graphics, while horrible like Star Fox for the SNES, hold up somewhat and still have a charm. There is just something about playing a platformer through a first person view that makes looking at the level you’re in with a new perspective. The people behind this fun series are known as Exact. They haven’t really done much since they published only a few games, but they are famous for making the Ghost in the Shell game for the Playstation, which has gotten good reviews. The music is very cheerful and fun to listen to. I still remember some of the first songs from the first level. The boss fights are also fun and creative.
However, the game does have some faults. Just like games like Rival Schools, Soul Blade, and Medievil use the directional pad instead of a analog stick, Jumping Flash has the same issue with “not stiff” controls, but it’s hard to make your character move around smoothly. I also find it odd since you can jump higher than Superman, where you need to go through levels when you are inside a building. It gets very tedious, and the sequel has the same issue, but that’s for another day. While the boss fights are fun and creative, I sometimes didn’t know what I needed to do and had to look it up. I also don’t like the saving system. You can only save what level you are in, but you will have to redo the levels if you turn off your game. My final complaint is how the controls are set up. It uses the same style of button layouts as in the Japanese version where you have to press the circle instead of the X button to accept anything. It becomes confusing and annoying.
Overall, Jumping Flash is a fun and wonderful early Playstation game that you shouldn’t pass up. I have seen it on the cheap side, but you can easily get it on the PSN for 6 dollars, so going to your local video store is pointless unless you’re a collector. I now have the sequel and am currently playing the game right now. Thanks for reading!
This game gets an 8 out of 10