“Action, Excitement, Destruction… It is the way of the Jackal.” This was the memorable marketing adage that helped bolster the enormous success of the 1986 run-and-gun videogame released by Konami. If one should find the earliest videogame reference that features the famed functionality of the military jeep, Jackal would have to be the best example. Like the 1984 Capcom vertical shooter videogame 1942 and Technosoft’s Thunder Force series, Jackal also sports an overhead point of view for players. But unlike the vertical shooter games, Jackal is quite unique since the players can also move horizontally. Where the jeep goes, the game’s camera view follows.

In Jackal, the Jeeps Always Rule!

For some reason, this video game is already very creative in its contemporary period. To say the least, scoring high in the game involves more than just grabbing credits and shooting bad guys. Its unique elements are very consistent with its main storyline, which makes it a truly remarkable video game franchise that signifies its notoriety among renaissance gamers. The Special Forces Jackal was comprised of four commando operatives. They are Colonel Decker, Lieutenant Bob, Sergeant Quint and Corporal Grey. Each two-man unit maneuvers the pair of high-powered jeeps in a 2-player mode. In the traditions of famous war movies like Rambo and Missing in Action the main objective of the game is to accomplish three principal tasks. The player must be able to destroy all enemies, kill the level boss, and most importantly “rescue the prisoners of war.” Its weapons are the machine gun (against infantry) and grenade/missile launcher (against vehicles).

The Unique Elements of the Game System

What makes the rescue task unique is that liberating prisoners require an active participation. It is not understood in the same way as Mario Brothers where the princess automatically gets rescued when the boss is defeated. In Jackal, it is quite the opposite transition where in the player should rescue the POW’s first before facing the boss. There are certain buildings that the jeep must blast with its launcher attack in order to spring the prisoners free. The player’s jeep must collect these panicking jubilant prisoners running around aimlessly, while shooting an annoying group of enemy infantry and vehicle units closing in.

There is a certain terminus in the game that highlights Jackal’s novelty. Before the player’s jeep squares off with the boss level, the player must park at a helipad where the chopper is currently docked. This is where all prisoners rescued are dumped before the final battle with the boss. Well isn’t that remarkably fastidious for a 1980’s video game? Anyone can find it easy to recognize the logic behind this programming since, by virtue of practical physics; jeeps are unable to perform its combat mobility when heavily laden with multiple passengers. Rescuing prisoners is important because it is the main basis for scoring the player, as well as enabling an extra life credit. Some VIP prisoners are challenging to find because they roam around, but rescuing them will automatically upgrade a player’s jeep as soon as they are moved to the helicopter. (Source: Mary Cancila Jeeps)

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