Mighty Bombjack
By Elite
Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #73

Mighty Bombjack

A classic early Eighties Tecmo coin-op, Bombjack began life defusing bombs on a series of static screens, cape fluttering as he flew from bomb to bomb. Although the original C64 conversion was a disaster (47%, Issue 14), success on other formats led Elite to develop their own sequel (80%, Issue 22). Three years later Tecmo themselves developed a sequel for the Nintendo, Mighty Bombjack, which was so hugely successful another Elite conversion was inevitable.

The plot follows the Japanese fashion for unpronounceable names and general weirdness. Apparently once upon a time King Pamera ruled the world in perfect peace, which was all far too dull to make a computer game so the demon Beelzebut kidnapped him and plunged the world into chaos. Each of the king's sons took on the demon in turn, all failing until only one remained - Bombjack!

Just to make Bombjack feel at home, Beelzebut filled his fortress with bombs, but not all of them are explosive. The seventeen main levels scroll either horizontally or vertically, and the scattered bombs only offer bonus points. Bombjack's main objective is to find the exit.

Mighty Bomb Jack

When he does, there's a static bonus screen much like the original game: to open the exit, all the bombs have to be collected. If you get the fizzing bombs in order there's a special bonus.

To defuse or collect a bomb, all Bombjack has to do is touch it. What makes life difficult are seven types of monster, including a Heel (which is a skull!), a shape-changing Mummy, and Billy - a flying vampire rabbit! These materialise in unexpected places and pursue Bombjack relentlessly. Unarmed, his only tactic is skilful evasion.

Pressing fire makes Bombjack fly upwards, and you can move him in flight, stop him by pressing fire or even hover by rapidly pressing Fire. Bonus points can be earned by opening treasure chests which also contain coins, extra time, sphinxes (revealing hidden exits), Power Balls (briefly changes all enemies to coins) and Mighty Coins. The latter allow Bombjack to have magic powers to he can open treasure chests by just touching them, or even transform the baddies into coins by holding down fire.

Mighty Bomb Jack

However, if Bombjack gets too greedy he's locked in a static torture screen where he must survive with dozens of baddies for forty seconds.


There's no doubt that the C64 version is the best of the two, simply by having a faster, nippier hero who makes the game infinitely more playable than the sluggish and irritating Amiga version.

The only problem is that this makes it perhaps a bit too easy; I managed to complete the game in a handful of attempts. Nevertheless, there are four different endings to keep you playing, along with loads of hidden bonuses to find, making for a great high score game.


Mighty Bomb Jack

Mighty Bombjack is a fairly basic variation on the tired old platforms-and-ladders theme; dodge the baddies, pick up the treasure and find the exit. It's not that complex, although the control system takes a little mastering - especially on the Amiga where Bombjack is a bit slow and creatures materialise with minimal warning.

Overall, unremarkable graphics, tough gameplay and little originality make £25 hard to justify on the 16-bit side. Both versions also suffer from a lack of variety: level backgrounds go from dull brick to okay palm trees to clouds.

However, the more you play it, the more gameplay opens up as you master the power-ups, discover secret chambers and bonus points. The C64 benefits from some attractive sprites, using plenty of colour plus overlays for a sharp image. This version also plays faster and is a bit easier. Worth a look.


Mighty Bomb Jack

Presentation 57%
As C64, plus high score table, demo and multi-load.

Graphics 58%
Okay sprites and backgrounds.

Sound 45%
Bland, repetitive music, dull tunelets and FX.

Hookability 65%
Tougher than C64, initially a little frustrating.

Lastability 62%
Greater graphic variety, but doesn't make as impressive use of the machine.

Overall 63%
Reasonable fun, but overpriced and sluggish.


Presentation 75%
Alternate two-player mode, inscrutable GDV rating and just a single load.

Graphics 71%
Dull backgrounds, but sprites are colourful, nicely drawn and well animated.

Sound 76%
Nice little tune embroidered with plenty of spot FX and tunelets.

Hookability 81%
Control takes a little getting used to, but severe addiction soon sets in.

Lastability 76%
Sixteen levels, numerous sub-levels and four ways to complete the game present a fair challenge. Lots of hidden bonus points for high score fanatics.

Overall 78%
A fun little game.