Jumping Flash! – The birth of the 3D platformer
Jumping Flash!: Aloha Danshaku Funky Daidakusen no Maki…more simply known in North American as “Jumping Flash!” was an early PS1 platformer that I have some serious nostalgia with. Developed by Exact and Ultra, it’s actually the Guinness World Record holder of the “first platform video game in true 3D”, and thus I’ve chosen to write about it for this entry in the Round2Review blog series.
Keeping true to the absurdities of so many great platformers of the mid-90’s, Jumping Flash has a great story that anyone can enjoy. Robbit, an intergalactic peace-keeping robot rabbit is dispatched to stop the dastardly astrophysicist, Baron Aloha, from using his army of giant tentacled robots (MuuMuus) from stealing parts of Earth to use in his galactic space resort. With the help of his onboard computer, Kumagoro, the mute robot protagonist traverses through 6 themed worlds of 3 levels each (mathematicians will deduce 18 levels) collecting Jet Pods and defeating bosses.
“Nothing feels quite as good as blasting baddies in the face with a Roman Candle”
The gameplay is terrific; taking first-person 3D platforming to new heights – literally. Robbit’s ability to traverse the vertically-layered stages with his handy-dandy triple jump; and trounce the enemies with either his built-in laser or secondary firework-style pickups, makes for fantastic fun. Nothing feels quite as good as blasting baddies in the face with a Roman Candle. And for those of you who are worried about depth-perception – worry not! Robbit comes equipped with a pinpoint cross-hair showing you, as a player, exactly where you’ll land after bouncing high into the clouds.
“It is HEAVY on the polygons.”
Let’s be fair when it comes to the game’s graphics. This is the original generation of true 3D platformers, and polygons are everywhere. So as long as you can agree that a frog is really just a few green diamonds and triangles slapped together and hopping around a stage, then you’re golden! If you have an issue with that…then this game might not be for you. It is HEAVY on the polygons. Lots of sharp-edged objects littered across lots of other sharp-edged objects. But it’s easy to see that the developers spent some time on the texture mapping to help eliminate the feeling of being trapped in a kaleidoscope of bland shapes and colors.
“…the Celtic-esque vibe of some of the tunes definitely fit the levels.”
As for the music – it’s fun, enjoyable, and a little forgettable. It’s not a soundtrack I find myself listening to on a regular basis, and not one that has made much of a dent in the remixing scene. A few good upbeat melodies and the Celtic-esque vibe of some of the tunes definitely fit the levels though!
I really enjoyed this game, and have been looking for a CIB copy for years. It’s easy enough to beat in a day and challenging enough to keep playing for years. Mastery of the time trials is no easy feat and will have even the most skilled thumbs blistering.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. Have you played the sequel? Know of any other vertical-jumpers like this of that era? Got an extra copy you’ve desperately been looking to get rid of? Leave all your comments over at the Cartridge Club Forums.