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Best Game Ever – Jumping Flash!

posted on September 26th, 2006 by jay

The year was 1995 and my Plan Get an SNES hadn’t come to fruition. Too young to learn from my mistakes, I diverted recourses from that plan towards my new plan: Plan Get a PlayStation Plan. This consisted of saving my allowance, selling rare Genesis games (I’d later buy again for twice the price), and begging my parents for money.

Explaining why a longtime Sega supporter decided he wanted a PS and not a Saturn would take another article, but can easily be summarized — Sega had destroyed my faith in them by releasing and not supporting two add ons for the Genesis. The Saturn, in my eyes, was doomed to fail. And fail it did, at least in the US. Years later I’d feel slightly guilty for abandoning Sega in their time of need but in late ’95 I was ecstatic because Plan Get a PlayStation worked.

Square breasts = B===D

At least I was ecstatic until I played some games on it. Toshinden was a piece of crap. Sofia was a better PlayStation mascot than that weird polygon head thing, but she was in a terrible game. Loaded was bloody but it was also boring and a clear example of a developer trying to sell a mediocre game by throwing in buckets of blood (Mortal Kombat!). Twisted Metal showed a ton of promise but was still only an average game. Wipeout was an excellent title but I didn’t buy a new console to play racing games.

Then came Jumping Flash! Nearly a year before Mario 64, Jumping Flash! showed us what a new generation platformer could be. It doesn’t compete with Mario’s depth or length, but it sure was a hell of a lot of fun. Jumping Flash! consisted primarily of jumping really high repeatedly. In order to give us proper motivation to do so, we are given control of a robotic rabbit, or a robbit.

Many platformers gave us cute mascots and demanded we jump about. What set Jumping Flash! apart was two brilliant design decisions. The first one was a no brainer: make the game in 3D. This was the first game I played that gave me complete freedom in a 3D environment and I ate it up. Every 3D game for the PlayStation was also a good marketing decision since the Saturn’s 3rd party 3D titles mostly looked shitty. Jumping Flash! convinced me that 3D was not only cool looking but added something to gameplay, namely a third dimension.

At least this used to be fun. Right now I’m feeling a little nauseous.

The other key design decision for Jumping Flash! was the use of 1st person perspective. The title is the only console platformer I can think of up to that point that didn’t use 3rd person perspective. There are a lot of things that can go wrong in first person. Specifically, you can’t see your feet so asking the player to platform is slightly unfair. Jumping Flash! dealt with this issue by keeping you in the air for huge periods of time. While soaring, you had time to look down around you, aim landings and admire the view.

A 1st person perspective made Jumping Flash! unique, but more importantly it made the game visceral. Seeing through the eyes of your robbit while performing double and triple jumps was exhilarating. The perspective tied into the 3D design so nicely because it made the player feel the freedom that the new dimension brought, and really that new dimension was what defined that generation of systems.

Jumping Flash! 2 was excellent and the third never made it out of Japan, but that’s ok. Some fans have called for a remake or sequel with spectacular sound and a photorealistic robbit, but it would be unnecessary. Jumping Flash! has already played its low profile but integral role of ushering in a new era. Next time you think of the first PlayStation, don’t just mentally ogle Sofia’s leather clad breasts, think of Jumping Flash!

8 Comments

  1. Matt said on September 27, 2006:

    Wow, I’ve never heard of this game, but it sounds pretty interesting. Here’s hoping that Sony’s PS1 download service includes this title. I’ll definitely give it a try. By the way, who made it? 

  2. Niahak said on September 27, 2006:

    I never played Jumping Flash! 1 but I rented the 2nd. At some point a couple years ago there was a weird quirk in a bunch of stores still selling PSX games and all of a sudden all of them had copies of JF!2, so I picked a copy up.  I play through it every now and then.  I find it much more fun than Crash Bandicoot, which was Sony’s attempt at a mascot.It’s the only 3-d game that’s ever made me feel sick – the roller coasters in the theme park get me every time.Oh, and Baron Aloha is one of the coolest villains ever.  A german mad scientist donning a hawaiian shirt is a sure-fire way to sell me a game.

  3. Niahak said on September 27, 2006:

    D’oh – sorry, I didn’t see your question, Matt. It was apparently made by some internal developer under Sony.  My copy of the game has no other logos on it,  and MobyGames seems to agree.

  4. TrueTallus said on October 9, 2006:

    The same people that made Jumping Flash eventually went on to make the PS1 adaptation of Ghost in the Shell.  It rocked to.  According to Gamespot, the company’s name is/was Exact.

  5. TheJim said on August 10, 2008:

    Ok… so bad can be defined in several ways, of them including:

    1. Not achieving an adequate standard; poor: a bad concert.
    2. Evil; sinful.
    3. Vulgar or obscene: bad language.
    4. Informal Disobedient or naughty: bad children.
    5. Disagreeable, unpleasant, or disturbing: a bad piece of news.
    6. Unfavorable: bad reviews for the play.
    7. Not fresh; rotten or spoiled: bad meat.
    8. Injurious in effect; detrimental: bad habits.
    9. Not working properly; defective: a bad telephone connection.
    10. Full of or exhibiting faults or errors: bad grammar.
    11. Having no validity; void: passed bad checks.
    12. Being so far behind in repayment as to be considered a loss: bad loans.
    13. Severe; intense: a bad cold.

    Unfortunately, for Jumping Flash! 2, even standards so low aren’t even met. In fact, this game is beyond bad. By Eons, that is. In fact, as a young boy receiving the PS1 as my first video game console, this game, being my first, was certainly no complement to the present. I cried, i screamed, i pulled my fucking eyes out; this game was just that atrocious. And to all you out there who actually invest some faith in Sony’s piece of absolute garbage, take that dick out of your eyes. That’s right, two dicks. You guys disgust me…

  6. jay said on August 11, 2008:

    I honestly don’t remember JF2 very well but it was a better looking expansion of the original so I doubt it’s bad. Putting much stock in game reviews is usually silly but since you’ve actually been disgusted by this article it seems you should see how Jumping Flash! was received (from Wikipedia) –

    “Jumping Flash! received fairly good scores after its release, including a 4.1/5 from GamePro, a 4/5 from Next Generation Magazine, and an 8.6/10 from Electronic Gaming Monthly.

    IGN’s original review gave Jumping Flash! a 7.5/10, stating that despite some the relatively small worlds and easy difficulty, it is “a great, genre-pushing game.”Game Revolution cited the same complaints, but calls the graphics “mind blowing” and the game itself “totally unique,” giving it an A- score.”

    Besides faith and dicks in eyes, what do you dislike about the series?

  7. Matt said on August 11, 2008:

    I actually purchased this game when I got my PS3, as it’s one of the PS1 downloadable titles. While it is outdated by today’s standards, I found it to be rather enjoyable. Jumping that high was cool, as was some of the level design. I also really liked the soundtrack. Happy-go-lucky music that really got you in the mood for some zany platforming challenges. The only problem I found was each enemy had way too much health, and it only got worse when they would respawn 5 seconds later. Oh yeah, and the slow turning speeds was also annoying. But for the most part, it was a pretty interesting game, especially considering it was before the time of SM64. The game should totally be revisited with next-gen jumping mechanics:)

  8. chris said on August 13, 2008:

    TheJim – How can you say JF2 is bad? It has nifty platforming, entertaining villains, lots of exploration… sure, as an action (FPS) game it’s not great, but I can’t see it as being an altogether bad game. My only complaint is that the roller coasters made me nauseous – still the only 3-d game to do so. Hardly a game-breaker.

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