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Title: Bump 'n Jump
Author:Vic Tokai
Rom Player: NESticle
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie

Synopsis: What can I say about a game where you get the chance to wreck everybody on the highway? Finally! Now I can take the gun off of my dashboard and stick to fake road rage.

Ok, that’s kind of an oversimplification of the story, but not by much. The real deal is that you and your girlfriend were cruising in your car, which you have named “Popper”, when a presumably vicious gang known as the Jackals suddenly attacked you. They take your girlfriend and speed off in their massive black SUV, leaving you the task of pursuing them. Despite the fact that their car is so big that it should only be getting about fifteen miles to the gallon, it always manages to stay one step ahead of you. After a couple of stages, you get to see the SUV just beginning to move out, more than likely having just gotten enough gas to get them over the hill, with your girlfriend yelling either “help me!” or “oh no!” After that, it’s back to trashing other cars in order to catch up with the SUV.

All in all, there are sixteen stages, with four types of maps dividing them up. In no particular order, the different maps are ones of the countryside, the city, the mountains, and the seaside. Each type of map is presented one after the other with no repeats, but the order switches after each one has been presented once. Each map presents a different series of obstacles and road variations. Of course, when I say “obstacles” and “road variations”, I mean that there are giant walls, lakes, and places where the road quits altogether. As you progress through the stages, the obstacles become more incredulous and closer together, up until the very last levels where not only does the rod stop, you must leap from one small piece of land to the next until you can make one last jump to put you back on the road.

As the title suggests, this game is all about bumpin’ and jumpin’. Your car (I refuse to call it “Popper”) has the ability to jump once its speed reaches at least 150 km/hr. That may sound like a rip-off, but your car can go from 80, the starting speed, to 240, the maximum speed, in about two seconds. The catch to this is that your can comes with a limited amount of jumping fuel that runs down as you drive rather than losing a little bit every time you jump. In order to increase it enough to make it through the level, you have to collect some of these barrels with the letter “P” on them as you careen down the road. Grabbing them is tricky, however, because they appear randomly on the road, and randomly off the road. You do have a couple seconds to react, depending upon how fast you’re going. Unfortunately, it’s recommended that you only slow down when absolutely necessary because your jump fuel runs down at a constant rate, and if you run out before the end of the level, you had better hope that a barrel will appear before the final jump that ends every level. After barrels come the 1-up, which appears as the letters “vol” with a little arrow underneath it, and some sort of spark plug thing, with takes you to some sort of repair station that gives some little show to make it look like your car is being repaired, even though it can’t take any damage in the game. Instead, all the spark plug-induced repair bonus round does is give you a half-full tank of jump fuel and restarts you a little bit earlier than when you got the powerup.

Since this kind of is a racing game, your enemies are all cars. For the most part, they will all be similar in appearance to your own little micro-machine car. Each type of car has it’s own movement pattern and as such, they are fairly easy to deal with. The thing is that they come at you in groups of four or five. This is where jumping comes back into play, as you can destroy the other tiny cars by either ramming them off the road, or jumping on top of them. With every group of tiny cars, there is at least one big truck: semi, cement truck, bulldozer, and what have you. These guys can’t be knocked off the road, but you can land on them. Their strategy is to drive straight until they get well enough in front of you and then dump their payload onto the road, which ranges from deadly sand to somewhat deadly oil, and on occasion, a 1-up. Plus, you sometimes get a cop car and an ambulance. The manual suggests that you should handle them the same way that you would handle them in real life; slow down when the cop comes, and pull over to the side when an ambulance comes. However, I’ve found that you can simply bump them off the road or jump on top of them without consequence, just like in real life! To make things even easier for you, the cop car will actually drive underneath you when you jump so that you can destroy him easily.

In terms of sound, you get a couple of cheap sound effects for bumping and jumping, and a couple more for various other activities. Music is just a song for each map type, plus one for the boss battle, and one for watching the SUV drive off. The songs are nothing special, as are the sound effects. What’s really disappointing is that you don’t even get a siren noise for when the cop car or ambulance drive onto the scene. That’s just criminal.

Setting aside the weak plot and poor sounds, the game is quite fun. You get to smash cars and play judge, jury, and executioner. Therefore, get this game before you go and start nudging people off the road for real.

Best Cheats: Continue - At the Game Over screen, hold Select on controller one and press A and B on controller two Continue holding these buttons and press Start twice on controller one.

Game Play: 9
Graphics: 7
Music/Sound: 8
Originality: 10
Overall Rating: 9

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