Version tested: PSOne
Jumping Flash (1995)
- Developer: Exact
- Publisher: SCEE
One of the earliest titles to be released for the PlayStation console, Jumping Flash was also a strong hint about how the system's line-up would develop. Arguably one of the most important ancestors of every 3D platform game in the following decade, the game combined the aesthetics of platformers from the 16 bit era with the seemingly limitless potential of 3D gameplay on offer on the PlayStation. By itself, this makes Jumping Flash into a slice of videogaming history that's worthy of a revisit - but a couple of unique touches also make it into a game that's still fun to play, even now.
Perhaps the most unusual feature of the game is that rather than the third-person view which would later come to define 3D platformers, Jumping Flash opted for a first person perspective view. It's entirely likely that this was simply a way to get around the difficulty of providing an effective third-person camera - as subsequent games would prove, third person cameras are perhaps the most difficult task in game design - but regardless, the effect was to create a surprisingly immersive 3D world which briefly captured the imagination of players in 1995.
Although Jumping Flash seems very simple by today's standards, it's also effortlessly charming - in a peculiarly scatterbrain sort of way. Enemies are mostly cute animals, plants or anthropomorphic robots; your attacks come in the form of pretty fireworks, and cartoonish touches like eggs in frying pans over tiny volcanoes in the lava world. For the sake of a couple of quid on the PlayStation Store, this is definitely a title worth briefly revisiting; and it doesn't even look too bad, thanks to unambitious graphics which were largely flat-shaded rather than textured.