Elite Systems Ltd
1987
Arcade: Platform
£7.95
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

46,47
John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

Bouncing Bombjack's back, even more determined to outwit the shaggy monsters on the levels and grab the sacks of gold. The trick with Bombjack II is these woolly adversaries keep mutating. As you play and as time goes on unless you get rid of them they transform - and each time they do they get a whole lot trickier to deal with.

To destroy one of these Wooly adversaries - they look like dinosaurs during their early stages of each level - unsheath your knife and prod the beast off the platform. Alternatively, you can jump frenziedly around the screen, picking up sacks. Pick them all up and all the remaining monsters die.

This latter mode of operation is dangerous because any contact with the enemy drains your strength.

Don't take too long clearing the platforms. The monsters go through two mutations. After approx 40 seconds the soft skinned carnivores turn into armour-plated robots. A further 30 seconds and they follow your lead and start jumping about all around the screen. Yet more lost energy for you.

More hassle. You can jump only vertically or horizontally from some of the platforms. That means a lot of trial and error when finding the best way to get around a screen. And in some cases you're forced to jump to a very short platform when you can't help but bump into a monster. The sketchy instructions on the insert suggest that you move quickly to and from the danger level. They don't say, however, that you should continually press the joystick left or right, knife at the ready to deal a glancing blow to the hopefully hapless monster: if you don't it could push you off the platform.

It's not all bad news. Bags of gold normally score 100 points when tightly zipped but if a bag splits open - most do just before the monsters start to jump - it's worth 200 points. Why - that's a mystery. Bombjack II's a real pig to complete. That's to say it's a real sharp release and a great sequel.

It's jaunty graphics and variety of platforms - colour and structure - takes it to the top of the platform game league, outstripping Cobra with style and Legend of Kage with great ease. And with the original Bombjack game on Side 2 of the tape you just can't lose.

Label: Elite
Price: £7.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: John Gilbert

*****

Platforms and ladders with great style. Terrific sequel to a strong original, which is thrown in too as a Free extra.

5/5