FAQ/Walkthrough by MToothman

Version: Final | Updated: 06/13/06 | Printable Version

for the Nintendo Entertainment System

Game copyright 1987 LJN Toys, Ltd., 1987 Universal City Studios
Licensed by Nintendo

*Version FINAL*
This guide copyright 2006 Matt Toothman. This guide is for individual use only,
and only to be found at GameFAQs.com.

If necessary, you can contact me at:
matt dot toothman at gmail dot com. Replace the appropriate words with the 
appropriate characters. Please mention the title of the game in the subject 
line. If you have comments, corrections, or additions to this guide, then by 
all means let me know.

Version history:

061206           1.0: Found guide on old computer. Finished bonus stage 
                      results, gussied the whole thing up, and submitted it
                      to GameFAQs.
2004             .95: Next version to include complete bonus stage results, 
                      otherwise complete.


1. Story/Intro
2. Walkthrough/Strategy
3. Ingame lists (Enemies/Items/Points/etc.)
4. Credits/Outro


   The NES game JAWS is based on the 1975 movie of the same name, in which a 
great white shark terrorizes a sleepy beachfront community. Roy Scheider is 
the out-of-his element new guy in town who must solve the dangerous shark 
problem...AT ANY COST!!!
   Unfortunately, the only connection this game has to the movie is that
they're both about a shark. You (the player) are a scuba diver 
(Scheider? Who knows?) with a harpoon gun, firing at seemingly helpless sea 
creatures until JAWS happens to appear. They don't give you any motivation, 
though...there is no mention of the countless beachgoers and young coeds that 
JAWS has devoured. You just plunk around until a shark that's bigger than the 
rest comes onscreen, and then you harpoon that for a while. 
   Still, the simple gameplay is surprisingly engaging. If this is your first 
time playing, you're in for one of the better movie-to-videogame conversions.


   A few things to remember as you get started:
   *Get items as soon as they appear. You only have 5 seconds, which goes 
    faster than you think.
   *Points serve no purpose on this game, so don't bother going for starfish. 
    You could try to get a high score, but who are you going to impress?
   *Stay away from the edges of the screen during the underwater scenes.
    That's where the bad guys come from!
   *You can have a max of 3 harpoons onscreen at once.
   *You can pass through JAWS' fin if you are at the very surface of the 
    water. Don't try this with the small sharks.
   *The shallow-water scenarios are generally more difficult because of the 
    proximity of the bottom of the screen. Jellyfish can surprise you much more 
    easily. Stick to the deeper blue water where you have room to maneuver.
   *If you have a turbo controller, use it! There is no strategy to the 
    shooting element of this game, all of the enemies swim directly at you 
    and make no attempts to evade your shots. Your thumb is going to be tired 
    after you finish this. At power level 1, it will take you over 1000 shots 
    to kill JAWS.
   *Your power level doesn't affect any creatures except JAWS. It will take you 
    2 shots to kill a ray at level 1 or level 9.
   *Get a few crabs quickly. The added speed will give you an edge. The 4th and
    subsequent crabs that you get will no longer increase your speed.
   *At lower power levels, killing a small shark will often end the scene.

   You begin in an overworld in a ship. The secondary objective of the game, 
other than to defeat JAWS, is to increase your power level. You do this by 
collecting conch shells, which are in turn dropped by the sea creatures you 
defeat. When you have enough conch shells to reach the next level, just sail 
into one of the two ports and your power level will automatically be increased 
(you can't visit the same port twice in a row). Before you can reach power 
level 2, though, you must purchase the JAWS RECEIVER for 5 shells. This 
(worthless) item makes a terribly annoying noise whenever JAWS is close, and 
also sporadically when he isn't. This would be useful if not for the fact that 
you can see JAWS' fin sticking out of the water when he's close ^_^ and 
there's no way to avoid him anyway.
   Although there are only 3 basic enemies (stingrays, jellyfish, and small 
sharks), the enemies come in a variety of 'scenarios'. The scenario you 
encounter depends on your current power level. For instance, at power level 1 
there are no small sharks. On power level 9, there is a possible 'all-shark' 
   Buy the receiver and increase your power level to 3 or 4 before you try to 
take on JAWS. Since he recovers 4 energy bars if the scene ends before you can 
reduce his energy to zero, attacking before level 3/4 is fruitless. Bonus 
scenes, which occur randomly, are a good way to increase your shell count 
quickly. Doing well in one of these can net you 7 or 8 shells.
   Around level 3 or 4, you should notice a small submarine on the overworld 
map. By sailing up and touching it, your diver will operate a mini-submarine in 
subsequent scenes. The submarine has missiles (same as harpoon gun) and bombs 
(same as the ship's bombs). The submarine is also faster and easier to maneuver 
than the diver. In addition to those excellent features, the sub lets you take 
a hit and not lose a life (you just revert to diver form).
Fighting JAWS

  When you feel ready to take on the legendary JAWS, sail around until you see 
his fin sticking out (or listen to that terrible RECEIVER), and run into him.
If you 'hit something' while JAWS is nearby, he will often swim into the scene. 
JAWS just swims back and forth. He isn't any more threatening than any of the 
other creatures, just bigger. He swims more slowly as you shoot him, so get 
behind him and mash on the B button. If you're properly powered up, you should 
be able to kill him in a single encounter. 
   After you reduce his life to nothing, the scene shifts to a first-person 
view from a boat. You are given 3 STROBES (press A) that make JAWS leap out of 
the water. The goal here is to hit A when JAWS is in front of the boat to make 
him jump. Wait until JAWS is about at the black line just off the boat, then 
press A. Then press B to stab him with the front of the boat. JAWS rotates 
around when he jumps, exposing his white belly for a second. You have to get 
him in the white part of his body. Stabbing him in the eyes or back of the head 
doesn't work for some reason.  
   After you successfully gore JAWS with the business end of your boat, you are 
treated to a cinema showing JAWS' corpse sinking down to the seafloor, then a 
scene with your seaplane flying over a river. Still no mention of why you just 
killed this shark, but LJN probably assumed that everyone knew who JAWS was 
anyway. They're probably right.

Ingame lists


Enemy        Points               Behavior

Jellyfish    50                   ascend vertically from seafloor
                                  at higher levels: move toward you 
                                  as they ascend

Stingray     110                  swim horizontally, alternating directions
                                  at higher levels: swim twice as fast

Small shark  580                  swim horizontally, 
                                  stays on same horizontal plane as you
                                  at higher levels: come in pairs or triplets

JAWS         20 pts per shot      swims horizontally, 
                                  stays on same horizontal plane as you


Any item can be dropped by any enemy.

Conch Shell- 30 points. You need to collect these to purchase the RECEIVER and 
increase your power level. 

Crab- 30 points. Increases your diver's movement speed. 

Starfish- Awards bonus points. They come in 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000 point 
varieties (1000 and 2000-point starfish are the most common).


*The number of shells listed is the amount you need for the increase, not 
your total cumulative shell count.

Level 1- starting power level
level 2- 3 conch shells
level 3- 5
level 4- 7
level 5- 10
level 6- 15
level 7- 20
level 8- 25
level 9- 30

*After you reach level 9, you can purchase as many extra strobes as you 
would like for 10 conch shells each.

-Bonus Stage Results- 

Hits     Conch shells received

1-5      1
6-8      2
9-11     3
12-14    4
15-17    5
18-20    6
21-23    7
24-26    8
27-29    9
30       10

*The 30 is assumed, as I have never gotten a perfect score.


Nintendo, for producing some of the most innovative, fun, and influential 
games out there.
LJN/Universal Studios, for bringing JAWS to the small screen.
My parents for giving me this game in 1987.
Myself for playing at least 5 hours of JAWS while writing this guide.

This document is legal and intellectual property of Matt Toothman. [061206]