For years, the Vietnamese government has denied the rumors that American
POWs are still being held prisoner deep inside Cambodia. One day, however,
infrared satellites spot dozens of POW camps hidden deep in the Cambodian
jungles. The US can't risk launching a full-scale invasion to get these men
out, but something must be done. The President orders the Green Berets'
tactical "Jeep Squad" to stage a small-scale commando raid - codenamed
JACKAL - and bring our soldiers home.
Konami's Jackal, released in 1988, was another of Konami's very well done
military themed games. It took the "rescue the prisoners" idea from
Broderbund's Choplifter!, and placed it on the ground - instead of a
helicopter, you control a jeep. Jackal consists of six "enemy territories"
and is played from an overhead perspective. Your only weapons are a machine
gun and grenades (which could be upgraded to missles).
Jackal's graphics are nothing to write home about - they're decent, but not
very spectacular. It seems that Konami didn't spend too much time on the
graphics but concentrated more on the gameplay, which is excellent. The
jeep controls very well - the only problem is that sometimes your jeep can
get hung up on a wall. The music is traditional Konami - very catchy and
well done (Konami's NES games just had the greatest music!).
Your machine gun can only be fired in one direction - up. You can throw
your grenades in any direction, though. The goal of the game, as stated
before, is to rescue the American POWs. You must blast open the POW huts
and pick up the POWs as they come running out, then deliver them to a
waiting helicopter. You find other huts scattered around that are colored
differently from the normal ones - inside these huts are special POWs. Each
one of these that you pick up upgrades your grenades - first to a missle,
then to a two-way explosive missle, and finally to a four-way explosive
missle. Just to make the game challenging, though, there is only one
special POW in each hut, and there's only a couple of huts in each stage.
The bosses aren't very impressive, which is kind of odd when you take into
account Konami's rep for creating killer bosses. The last boss, though, is
very cool - it's a giant tank that attempts to cook you with a huge laser
There are continues, but only a few. Unlimited continues would have been
nice, seeing as how the game has a tendency to be on the tough side. One
hit will destroy your jeep (and if there are any POWs on board, at least
half of them will be killed - plus if you had any missle upgrades they get
taken away, and you're back to the grenades). On top of that, you only
start with three lives.
Now, for those of you looking for a fun way to take out your aggressions
(or if you're just sadistic), there are enemy foot soldiers running around.
Every so often they'll rip off a shot at you. You can either shoot them,
bomb them, or (here's the fun part) RUN THEM OVER! Yes, you too can mow
down unsuspecting enemy soldiers with your jeep and see their little
flattened forms lying motionless on the ground. The only other game I've
seen this fun little twist in recently is Steel Reign for the PlayStation
(a cool arcade style 3-D tank game).
Jackal is an excellent game - not very impressive graphically, but still
tons of fun. It would be nice if Konami made a 32-bit upgrade to it, but
the chances of seeing that are almost nonexistent. It's a nice idea,
though. . .