[2019 with DOS games] Jumpman / Journey / James Pond 2 – Codename: RoboCod

Hello guys,

This is the tenth entry of the [2019 with DOS games] column, a mini-compendium of the mandatory MS-DOS games ever released. For a big part of my life I’ve been a PC games player and I had tons of old games to play with back in the 90s. This is my homage to them.

The rules are simple. MS-DOS has been created in 1981 and was still available in computer until the early Noughties. However the release of Windows 95 acted as a break and everything before immediately becaome. So I can fairly tell that the DOS era goes from 1981 until 1985. [2019 with DOS games] will feature every two weeks a selection of three games, one for every five-year period (1981-1985, 1986-1990 and 1991-1995) in alphabetilac order that I consider either important, ground-breaking or simply fun and easy to play. I’ll try to consider only DOS-exclusive games or in case games spread on different platforms that have the PC version as a flagship. No claim of completeness, I’m not a human encyclopedia (unfortunately…). Let’s go with letter J.

Jumpman (1983)

  • Developer: Epyx
  • Publisher: Epyx
  • Genre: Platform

No, we’re not talking about the first appearence of Super Mario (when he was still a carpenter named in fact Jumpman), but even this guy has to hop on sloped platforms, not to rescue a princess kidnapped by an ape, but because he’s a bomb-disposal , called to save the place after the evil Alienators invaded it setting some booby-traps.

The adventure is scattered along 30 levels and the last one will be quite tricky to evade. Jumpman is clearly based on Donkey Kong mechanics (hence the name Jumpman of the protagonist), since you not only have to dispose the bombs but you also have to climb ladders and avoid enemies. For MS-DOS are present only unofficial ports, since ther game was released only for Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64 and PC Booter.

Journey (1989)

  • Developer: Infocom
  • Publisher: Infocom
  • Genre: Adventure

When you think about Infocom the first thing that comes to mind is the interactive fiction. Infocom based its fortune on text adventure ann be totally played with the mouse. Journey is the swan song of the company, their 35th and last game before Activision closed their Cambridge headquarter.

Even in this last work Infocom put a great attention to the details and they breath some fresh air into the world of adventure RPGs with a plot heavily influenced by Tolkien’s work. As the other Infocom adventures, Journey is a verbose game, full of text and magnificient description – a trademark of the company – and the user interface is easy to manage. The only real shame about Journey is that this is the company last game

James Pond 2 – Codename: RoboCod (1991)

  • Developer: Millennium Interactive
  • Publisher: Vectordean
  • Genre: Platform

This is one of the platform games I’ve probably played the most since I’ve spent and insane number of hours trying to get to the end of the game. And this is probably one of the longest platformers I’ve ever seen, as you can see at the beginning of the game where you can check all of the doors you have to unlock in order to beat the game.

One of the things I remember most fondly of the game is not only the huge number of levels but also the sheer amount of items you can collect: they go from “classic” fruit, to snowmen to faucets (!) and the points they award are insanely random (a facuet worth 75000 points? is it golden???). The game was released on MS-DOS but also on Mega Drive/Genesis as a part of a trilogy, and if you want to know my point of view about it check my review here.

As always here are some honorable mentions:

  • Jet (1985)
  • Jewels of Darkness (1987)
  • Jetfighter (1988)
  • Jinxter (1988)
  • J.R.R. Tolkien’s War in Middle Earth (1988)
  • John Madden Football (1988)
  • James Clavell’s Shōgun (1989)
  • J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (1990)
  • Jazz Jackrabbit (1994)

This time the honorable mentions list is very small and that’s the reason why I only have one game to cite and is Jazz Jackrabbit.

Jazz Jackrabbit

It’s one of the 16-bit platforms of the 90s and I frequently associate it with Superfrog a game of the same genre I used to play at the same time. I really liked the visuals of the original game and the special edition they did for Christmas, Jazz Jackrabbit Xmas Special and it’s one of those games I’ve played a lot but never completed 😦

Previous entries in this column:

  1. [2019 with DOS games] The Ancient Art of War / Altered Destiny / Alone in the Dark
  2. [2019 with DOS games] The Bard’s Tale / Barbarian / Betrayal at Krondor
  3. [2019 with DOS games] Castle Wolfenstein / Cadaver / The Chaos Engine
  4. [2019 with DOS games] Dragonworld / Dangerous Dave / Doom
  5. [2019 with DOS games] Enchanter / Elvira: Mistress of the Dark / Eye of the Beholder
  6. [2019 with DOS games] F-15 Strike Eagle / Future Wars: Adventure in Time / Flashback
  7. [2019 with DOS games] GATO / Gobliiins / Guilty
  8. [2019 with DOS games] The Hobbit / Hero’s Quest: So You Wanto to Be a Hero / Heretic
  9. [2019 with DOS games] In Search of the Most Amazing Thing / Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure / Innocent Until Caught

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18 Comments Add yours

  1. redbavon says:

    Journey è il canto del cigno di Infocom ma è davvero un bellissimo cigno. Legend Entertainment raccolse la sua eredità e pubblicò delle altre piccole perle come Death Gate o un adattamento dei romanzi della saga di Shannara.
    James Pond lo ricordo come un tentativo di creare una “mascotte” per Amiga alla stregua di Sonic o Mario. Ci provò anche la Gremlin con Zool.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      Si quello era il periodo delle mascotte. James Pond sicuramente non fu un tentativo riuscitissimo anche se il gioco fosse interessante anche se “basilare”. A mio modo di vedere neanche Zool fu un granché (non l’ho mai trovato molto interessante). Condivido in pieno su Journey come peraltro vale per tutto il catalogo Infocom…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. redbavon says:

    A parte Mario che era già un’icona, Sonic spazzo’ via ogni velleità di altre società di creare un personaggio che identificasse una piattaforma. La Commodore non produceva videogiochi (a parte un sorprendente Mind Walker dei primissimi tempi dell’Amiga) e qualunque tentativo di altra azienda che provasse a creare una “mascotte” era destinato a esaurirsi presto con la novità. James Pond era un’idea anche con un tocco ironico e “cute”. Zool voleva essere anche “cool” come Sonic, ma la differenza tra i due giochi era abissale.

    Liked by 1 person

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