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Name: JumpingFlash! (Yes, no space between the Jumping and the Flash. This going from the game box information, and the manual)
Developer: Exact Inc., Ultra Co., Ltd.
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: Sony PlayStation
Genre: Platformer
Regions of Release: Japan, US, and Europe
Year: 1995
Players: One Player
Rarity: Very difficult to find new, reasonably difficult second-hand
PlayStation Game Code (UK/Europe): SCES 00003

JumpingFlash! is a 3D, first person platformer for the Sony PlayStation console. One of the first games to be released for the console, it also happens to be one of my favourite PlayStation games.

A majority of PSX owners will have seen this game, but never played it. It featured in video form on the demo1 CD, which came with the console, showcasing the games available at the time. The short, but intriguing video, showed a first person game with cute enemies, lots of jumping, a lovely soundtrack, and a main character who seemed to spit out long Japanese words every so often.

So, not so long after watching that video (about fifty million times), I went out and bought this quirky looking game. It has a wonderfully well designed lead character, a robot rabbit called (you guessed it) Robbit. He's got a white shell, red eyes with black pupils (and manages to look cute, surprisingly), ears with yellow tips, and a jetpack on his back, which allows him to jump extra high. Robbit is a young pest control operative. He's been assigned to a mission by the Galatic Municipal Council, who are situated in Universal City Hall (which is in space, just to help you picture the scene). An evil property developer, Baron Aloha, has stolen large pieces of the world using giant robots, and plans to use them as luxury holiday villas. With the help of his friends, the MuuMuus, he slowly takes over these stolen lands. It is Robbit's mission to exterminate Baron Aloha, and return the huge continents back to the world!

So, your journey consists of travelling to, and releasing six worlds, each comprising of two stages, and a boss level. Each world has a different theme, the first being a village/volcano, the second has an Egyptian theme, the third is a amusement park, the fourth is based in an antarctic world, the fifth is in an urban city, and the final world is a Space station. In each stage, you need to find four 'Jetpods', and each Jetpod has a letter on it: E, X, I, and T, spelling 'EXIT'. Once you have collected them all, you proceed to the EXIT platform.

JumpingFlash! is special and different because it is based in a first-person viewpoint - you are looking through the eyes of Robbit as you play. As a first-generation PlayStation game, this was a major thing, because it was a fresh new slant on the platform game. Although for some people this can be initially confusing and disorientating, you soon get your bearings, and controlling Robbit becomes second nature. Robbit can jump in three stages - a single jump, a double jump, and a triple jump. You keep pressing the jump button at the maximum height of each jump to jump another stage. After the simple jump, Robbit will automatically look down, and by using his shadow, you can see where you're about to land. A simple gameplay mechanic that makes the game very intuitive and enjoyable. Robbit also has a simple beam gun, which he can use to destroy enemies and gain access to secret areas. And, of course, you can always kill an enemy by jumping on their heads!

The screen has a cockpit surround, which shows you information about Robbit and his progress in the level. Kumagoro, the onboard computer who bounces up and down at the top of your screen, keeps you updated with a visual indication of how many Jetpods you have found, and occasionally gives voice prompts and updates in a particularly sweet, but child-like, voice. There are also meters and readings for your time remaining, special weapons, radar, energy gauge, and lives.

Although it's not a particularly difficult game, it's most definitely fun. The levels are expansive, filled with enemies, and are accompanied with some excellent music, which I listen to daily. Also, if you take the time to finish the game properly (by finding and completing all the Bonus Stages, collecting the Jetpods in the correct order, finishing the game without using a continue, completing the 'Extra' versions of the levels...), you'll be rewarded with an excellent gaming experience, and a few surprises too.

Don't make the mistake I did, however, and trade this game in for something else (Time Crisis, if you're interested). I had to go looking for it again a few months ago, and it was a difficult search. Thankfully, not only did I find a perfect copy of JumpingFlash!, I also found it's sequel, JumpingFlash! 2: Big Trouble in Little Muu! Lovely.

I love JF! because...
It's fun, cute, and immersive. It's got excellent music, pretty (albeit low quality) graphics and some interesting level design. Robbit is cool (I've drawn a few pictures of him, I like him so much), as are most of the characters in the game. It showed me how the PlayStation was going to advance games over it's 16bit predecessors.

JF! makes me scream because...
I want more of it (thank goodness for JumpingFlash! 2)! Many people have probably disregarded it because it's different from the norm.

Similar (I use that term loosely, because JF! is pretty unique) games include Klonoa, Spyro and Crash Bandicoot (in terms of platform games), and could maybe be considered as a cute version of Quake, by some insane extreme thinking. Two sequels were made, JumpingFlash! 2: Big Trouble in Little Muu, and Robbit Mon Dieu.

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