"Youíve seen this before, but stop and take a closer look."
Once again, I have to admit I avoided this game. It reminded me too much of an updated Aero the Acrobat from the 16 bit SNES days. But as luck would have it, WWF Warzone was out at Blockbuster for the umpteenth time, and I knew some of you wanted me to review this game, so here it is. BTW, speaking of Warzone, there is an excellent visitor review on this site just posted a day or two ago. Check it out.
So here I am with Jersey Devil. Iíve played Croc, owned Gex 2 and I have to say JD wins the 3D platformer award for control and camera, and not just because he has my initials. Graphically and gameplay wise JD will remind you a lot of Gex 2. Itís unfair to say JD is a copy, because it is obvious these games were roughly in development at the same time, although Gex 2 showed up first. Of course, JD doesnít have the attitude or the voice of our pal Gex, so JD loses by a mile in personality. But control is what 3D games are all about and I found JDís control to be the BEST yet. Jumps are tight and controllable, the camera does what you want it to (except give you a first person look-around-mode, which would have been nice at times), animationís are in sync, and there arenít a billion moves or modes to screw around with like a certain Batman game out there.
Speaking of Batman, JD is kind of a take on the defender of the city shtick. JD is a lone avenger out to settle old scores with an evil scientist that is mutating vegetables. Okay, so the story is cornball, but itís done in a cartoony vein and thus, it can get away with it.
JD offers up the usual gameplay elements and some new ones yet to be found in the third dimension: Explore the levels looking for pumpkins (in this case 100 nets you a 1-up)or tails (1-ups), dispatch baddies with a spin attack, jump on top of boxes to reveal their goodies, find the letters K-N-A-R-F that will open up level doors, swing from ropes, climb poles, glide while jumping, move giant crates, jump over chasms, fight the boss etc. One nice little innovation is the automatic jumping that JD can pull off. If you reach the end of a platform, JD will jump over it for you. Nice touch, however, be aware that this doesnít always work. Sometimes you need to jump higher, or glide to the next platform.
Although the control is tight, that doesnít mean you wonít fall to your death allot. This game doesnít give you the option of following to a lower level like in Ex 2. If you step off a platform or make a bad jump in JD, you will lose a life. And not only that, but the death animation totally interrupts the flow of the game. The sound cuts out, there is a slight pause and then you see JD hit the ground. I found this not only annoying because I happened to see it an awful lot, but I did not like the execution of it. Very amateurish.
There is a lot to like in JD. As I said the control is good, but some of the gameplay is unforgiving. An analog controller may help. I really need to buy one of these gadgets you know... What it lacks in personality it makes up for in camera and control. Donít get me wrong, I thought Gex 2 was a great PlayStation 3D platformer, but had itís weaknesses in those two departments. (I have different standards depending on the machine... I expect greatness on the N64 thanks to Mario and Banjo, but Iím more forgiving on the PSX). If you need to play a 3D platformer, then youíll do well by Jersey Devil and Gex 2. Remember that 3D gaming is still in itís infancy, and games will only get better!