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Jackass: The Game


The video game version of Jackass appeared on the Playstation 2 and PSP in the fall of 2007. Red Mile Entertainment & MTV wanted to include DS owners in the ridiculous bone breaking stunts as well, but delayed the version until the start of 2008. The stunts in the game are loosely based on the television show / movies, but they are vastly more absurd. Concerning my own preference to the Jackass series, I enjoyed the show when it premiered eight years ago and the first movie was pretty entertaining as well.

Gameplay

The opening of the single player campaign allows the player to customize a character for the open world area. The player can choose between four characters: average male, average female, fat man and dwarf. Additionally, you can choose between five different haircuts, five hats and six choices of clothing. Pants / shirts can be mixed and matched, but there are only four different color combinations for any particular item. While the character design is varied for a DS title, you can't use any of the main characters from the show and the pixilated condition of the screen doesn't compliment the artwork.

The campaign is split up over 6 different, rather small levels. The upper screen shows your character and the lower screen offers a map to view points of interest. The main characters of the show are spread out across the level to offer missions or you can just play around in the environment for a while. There are plenty of items to ride as well as objects that launch you across the map. For instance, you can fly through the air via a garbage truck, trampoline, slingshot, etc. You can also control direction path somewhat during the flight and strike poses to increase your bone breaking meter. The goal is to break every bone in the body on each landing. Sadly, it's very simple to do and offers no challenge in the course of the game.

In the inventory menu, you have access to statistics such as mission completion, attribute levels and a doctor report that counts the number of bones you have broken. There's also a section for switching out your current costume for unlockable suits that offer bonuses. For instance, dressing as Uncle Sam will give you extra skill & agility, but decreases your balance. Finally, there's an area for calling people on a cell phone. After you complete certain tasks, you will gain their cell numbers for quick access to repeat missions for higher scores. You can also find them again on the level, but it's much faster to give them a ring.

One of the main problems with the game is that it's far too easy to complete. There is no type of serious death penalty and the vast majority of the stunts are knocked out incredibly fast. There are a few stunts that get a little tough due to flaws in the game environment, but nothing that requires more than a couple attempts. Additionally, the tasks are really similar to each other. The developers didn't flesh out the stunt possibilities as much as they could have and it's very evident in the final product.

In addition to the single player campaign, the developers also included a multiplayer mode and a couple mini-games. In multiplayer, you can host or join a local game if you have multiple carts available. Strangely, there is no download play feature included with the game which would have been perfect for the mini-games. The two mini-games included are essentially a shooting gallery with a slingshot & snowballs as well as a dodgeball game. Dodgeball can be played via a 4 man team or by a survival mode that pits 1 against 4. Both games are very simple to beat versus the A.I. and offer little challenge to the casual gamer.

Graphics & Audio

Visually, the game is a poor counterpart to the PSP version. The open world is blocky and the sharp angles are filled to jaggies as far as the eye can see. The only bright spot in the graphics comes in the form of artwork of the cast members. These cutouts pop up from time to time during the campaign to inform you of the next task. The hit detection system seems slightly off and the physics engine seemed too floaty during certain tasks. I realize the physics were designed to accentuate the absurdity, but it's very annoying. I also got stuck inside a few walls at times and had to wait for the game to release me from my poorly programmed prison. The load times aren't as nearly as bad as the PSP version, but you will have to wait a bit to load up an entire level for the first time.

The audio consists of the main Jackass theme in the menu and a repeating rock tune that endlessly plays during each area. The sound effects are designed to match the cartoonish appeal of the game and offer screams, shouts and the occasional fart. Voices didn't make it into the game, only text boxes for the stars of the series. Overall, the auditory effects were exactly what I was expecting out of the title.

Conclusion

Jackass is becoming increasingly irrelevant, so the timing of this title is strange to say the least. While the game seems to be somewhat technically proficient and the single player campaign is moderately extensive, the repetitive nature of the gameplay and the mind-numbing tasks tend to drag on. The game can really only be enjoyed in small bursts rather than hours of play. Additionally, it doesn't have the same shock value as the television show which makes me wonder if there is even a point to attaching the Jackass name to the game. Sure there are artwork cutouts of the show's characters, but the in-game stunts are far too outlandish to be realistic comparisons to the show. Add in the lack of any worthwhile in-game penalty and Jackass becomes an effortless borefest. Even if you are a fan of the series & movies, this title should be avoided.