Thursday, June 22, 2017

Review #404: Jersey Devil

 The hero we deserve, not the one we need.
 Jersey Devil is a pretty obscure 3D platform game released exclusively on the Playstation 1. Starring the Jersey Devil himself, a little anthropomorphic animal styled like a nightly super hero, not unlike Darkwing Duck, that must do battle with Dr. Knarf, a pretty basic premise to outline the entirety of the game. The game is also prefaced by a beautiful 2D animation detailing how JD and Knarf first met. As a matter of fact, the game deserves some praise for the presentation, everything looks as if it came straight out of an animated show.

 There're 12 levels as well as four bonus levels. In each level you must destroy all Nitro Boxes in order to increase your 'power'(Does nothing for gameplay) and be able to enter the bonus levels, as well as save every hostage(2 per level, they do nothing but add to your completion level). Of course, if you can't be bothered you may as well just ignore both as the game can be finished ignoring either anyways. There're six worlds, with two stages each(not accounting for the four bonus stages), and it's usually one long stage followed by a shorter stage. Each level has a boss too, and they are relatively decent, since a few may require a bit of thinking.
 Jersey Devil has the most basic of movesets, he can jump, glide, punch, spin-attack and lift-and-throw boxes. The combat is pretty wonky, since enemies have weird invincibility frames during certain animations and JD's punch range is pathetic, so it's better to just spam your jumping spin attack and hope for the best. The jumping fares much better, while the physics behind jumping and gliding don't feel quite right, it works... when you're not going through platforms, which is a rare occurrence, but frequent enough as to be worth mentioning. Some things that may look like stuff you can stand on may just be decoration you can simply go through, and the camera does you no favors, while you can move it around with L2 and R2, it's pretty slow, and very rarely, the camera will also get in your way. The second slides level was a bit glitchy too, one of the slides threw me into the void three-four times, so I opted for an alternate route.

 Weirdly enough, JD will autojump whenever you get close to the edge of a ledge, which is annoying. The jump may throw you off and get you killed, or it may screw up with the jump you were planning to make, thus getting you killed again. And die you will, a lot. There're a lot of ways to die instantly, but the game is very, VERY generous with lives, I finished the game with over 70 lives to spare.
 I wish I could say that Jersey Devil is a 'hidden gem', but it's way too rough around the edges. What I can say, however, is that the game was left crying for a sequel that fixed everything, because Jersey Devil is a fantastic foundation for something else. A likeable, if a bit generic, cast of characters, a fantastic art direction and gameplay that needed refinement but works relatively well already. But alas, it wasn't meant to be...
 6.0 out of 10

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