Ah, Jumping Flash! No, I’m not exclaiming. The ! is just part of the game’s name, as well as the feeling I get when I realize that I traded this quirky gem during my transition from Playstation to Playstation 2. Why? Because, as far as I can tell, there’s never been anything quite like it since.
Releasing in 1995 for the Playstation, Jumping Flash! was a 3D platformer played from a first-person perspective. You are a robotic bunny named Robbit that is out to stop an insane astrophysicist named Baron Aloha from turning a bunch of worlds into private resorts. Yup, that’s the plot. I said it was quirky. To stop this low-life, Robbit must find the Jet Pods that propel each world and reunite the Crater Planet. Basically, you will jump, shoot things, jump, jump, shoot things, jump, and jump some more. There’s a lot of jumping to do, outpacing the shooting by several miles. Good thing this wasn’t called Step Aerobics Flash!
Robbit can jump up to three times: once off the ground, then in mid-air, and then a third time in mid-air, allowing him to reach crazy heights. What’s neat about this is that, as Robbit jumps, the camera tilts down to his feet so you see the ground (if it is still visible) below you rather than just staring at sky horizontally. This was pretty impressive the first time you did it, and gave the player an amazing sense of freedom.
Level designs varied, with the funnest being the one set in an amusement park with a roller-coaster as your launching point. In every world, Robbit could pick up a bunch of power-ups like rockets and cherry bombs, as well as hourglasses to extend the time. Yes, levels were timed, which made jumping around more exciting and intense, especially when the clock was ticking down and you were flying high.
Graphically, it is what it is. Polygon count is low, the sky is a static wash that never changes, and the enemies were cutesy animals like penguins and bomb-tossing beetles. It’s an early PS1 game, and it shows. Thankfully, the gameplay more than makes up for things.
Alas, I can’t recall too much about Jumping Flash! other than the main hub levels. I do know that at the end of each world, there would be a boss fight, but shake me silly because I don’t remember doing any of them. I suspect you had to shoot them somewhere special (keep it clean, people) and that jumping was involved.
It seems there was a direct sequel, Jumping Flash! 2, as well as some games loosely-based on the gameplay concept. It’s a shame that the series itself is so underrated and did not find a stronger fanbase. Given today’s consoles and technology, something truly great could be achieved here if developers were interested. Take this, add some Mirror’s Edge, a pinch of love, and go to town.
GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH is a regular feature here at Grinding Down where I reminisce about videogames I either sold or traded in when I was young and dumb. To read up on other games I parted with, follow the tag.