You’ve heard of Jumpman (Mario) and Rockman (Megaman) and now its time to get ready for Spring Man, the newest addition to the generic name trio. No, I’m not talking about the Mega Man 7 boss, I’m talking about Robbit, the robotic rabbit, star of the Playstation 1 tech demo, Jumping Flash!.
Now, I say tech demo which generally conjures up the idea of cinematic movie running in real time. A famous few over the last few years were Kara, The Order: 1886 and Agni’s Philosophy but this was actually released as a playable game. First appearing in Japan as a Playstation launch title, critics liked it for its 3D graphics and original take on platforming.
It was officially the first 3D platformer on a home console snatching the title a full year before Crash Bandicoot, Super Mario 64 and the numerous others that followed. Needless to say, Crash became the unofficial mascot for the Playstation and Mario did pretty well for himself. As for Robbit? He got the trilogy treatment, receiving a fairly good sequel that build upon the first entry, which was then followed by a disappointing third game. Possibly as a result or perhaps just coincidentally, the developement team was then stripped apart and merged into what we now know as SCE Japan Studio.
Jumping Flash! may have retained more long term appeal to those who liked Crash and Mario if it had expanded on its story. There are a few very short FMVs sprinkled throughout the game but if you want to properly understand what you ’re even doing, you’ll want to pick up the manual.
Far in the future, Baron Aloha, Evil Astrophysicist™, has cooked up a scheme to steal large portions of the Earth. Presumably like most evil realtors, he figured that this was the fastest way to build a bunch of space resorts. Each of the six different resorts follow a different theme, for example, World 2 is “Aloha’s Egypt” so expect lots of sand, pyramids and underground tombs.
Robbit, the Super De-Pester is probably one of the oddest choices for protagonist I’ve played so far. He’s modeled after a rabbit more or less but with a few enhancements, like his Sparkle Beam Gun and ability to jump higher than your average building. The manual literally says “Jump and go! Robbit’s got the attitude. Can you stand the altitude?” which just screams “This game was made in the mid 90s”. There are a bunch of power ups and one of them, called “Power Pills” makes your screen start flashing all of the colours of the rainbow, simultaneously destroying any enemy you touch while making you invincible. The rest are pretty boring in comparison, just acting as strong weapons. Even then, most of the enemies are pretty passive so if you’re not playing for a high score, it’s pretty simple to just avoid them all together.
Each world is made up of three stages. The first two have you collecting the jetpods that propel each world. Baron Aloha has unplugged them all and without them, the worlds are presumably left to float helplessly out in space. Once you’ve collected all four scattered around a stage, the exit to the next area becomes available. Stage 2 is generally a continuation of the theme found in Stage 1 but instead taking place in an entirely new area. Stage 3 is entirely different than the first 2 swapping out platforming for a boss battle. None of the worlds are overly tough but should you run into a tough spot, there are unlimited continues for some reason.
While it ’s a fairly basic game the whole way through, the platforming never started to get boring. The ending left a lot to be desired since it’s one of those “Haha, you haven’t won yet!” cheap endings. The game then moves into ‘Extra’ mode.where it’s the same game but with enemies moved around and a shorter time limit.
Should you manage to beat the full game without dying once however and you’ll unlock Super Mode. Get ready to break the entire game because it lets you jump a full six times in a row. Forget double jumping ladies and gentlemen, sextuple jumping is the future of platforming.