Release Date: September 1988
Genre: Shoot ‘em Up
Konami is back with another arcade port, this time it’s Jackal. A jackal! Jackal! It’s a jackal! It looks like a jackal! Jackal? Jackal! It’s a jackal! Jackal? Coming off the high that was Contra and the nice buzz of Life Force, Jackal isn’t a bad time. Is it as good? No, but it isn’t bad. You’re part of an elite team of Green Berets heading back to ‘Nam to save a bunch of POWs who have been located thanks to some newfangled satellite technology. Hop in your Jeep and blow everything up to bring home the prisoners. The game is simple: you shoot your machine gun up with the B Button and you launch your grenades or rockets with the A Button in the direction you’re facing.
Bazooka wielding enemies run at you and flash before they shoot. You can shoot or run them over. There are turrets which shoot a consistent stream of bullets, but you can maneuver around and blow them up. Enemy tanks try and take you out with their shots, but are pretty easy to maneuver around. The Jeeps were my least favorite enemy, they seemed to be a little bit quicker than me and could run me down for a cheap kill. That combined with having to be too close to the screen edge to get it to scroll forward led to some cheap deaths.
POWs are found in building that are blown up with grenades or rockets. If you find a flashing POW, your grenades are upgraded to rockets and the rockets gain blast radius bonuses. When your rockets drop extra killing power in the four cardinal directions, you’re a killing machine. There are also hidden star powerups that will automatically boost you to the most powerful weapon. The bosses are all pretty simple to learn and didn’t give much trouble. The final boss has two forms and can catch you off guard if you’re not paying attention.
These graphics are pretty poor for Konami, everything is small and not very detailed.
The music and sound is also below the normal Konami quality, but not bad overall.
It’s easy to learn to play and be adept at dodging and killing.
For an arcade port, it’s pretty easy to get through. I continued twice and hit rewind a couple times because of pop up deaths.
Fun Factor: 2.5
You can get through this without a problem in 45 minutes, then loop through and play again.
Overall Grade: 2.5
Jackal earns a C+. It’s no Contra or Life Force, but it’s not a bad game to have in your library.