"It's not like he was ever leashed in the first place..."

Dun dun... dun dun... dun dun...
Much like the recent Stubbs the Zombie, Jaws Unleashed comes up with the very promising concept of taking a horror scenario and making you the cause of the horror rather than the person eradicating it. That's right, instead of playing as someone who has to kill a deadly shark with a taste for human flesh, you play as the shark.

But, also like Stubbs the Zombie, it ruins the concept with annoyingly slow and boring gameplay. Being a monster that attacks innocent people is a genuinely fun idea, but the way in which you're supposed to attack people is unexciting and uninteresting. Rarely do you get to sneak up on people, but instead have to deal with gun-toting scuba divers or fishers in boats. Destroying their boats is a rather dull ordeal. and eating a person actually takes multiple bites, making you spend too much time on a person than you should.

The problem is that it tries too hard to be realistic, so actually fighting is pretty dull. You're literally not allowed to stand still (or float still, rather) for too long or else you'll drown! Also, you have a hunger bar which requires you to eat someone or some fish occasionally. Imagine playing an action game where you had to stop for a bite every now and then, or else your character would starve to death.

The main quests are actually pretty short on people-eating, as the main part of the levels usually involve picking up people with key cards or throwing explosives at ships or structures. Somehow this is LESS fun than it's idea of attacking a ship or people, considering it's hard to aim the explosives and you have to deal with people or turrets attacking you. One level actually puts you in a hard-to-navigate maze of undersea mines, where one touch will set off every mine in the water and you'll have to start all over again. Who thought this idea would be fun?

The side-quests are very arcadey bits of action, usually involving eating people or fish before they reach an area. These parts are amusing little diversions that I actually prefer to the main game, but an entire game of these is still a bad idea because they wouldn't hold up on their own. Throw in some variety for goodness sake!

The levels are connected by a large main map, which echoes a GTA-like structure. The only problem is this map is the incredibly open ocean, with only a few land areas acting as obstacles. Getting to a save point or a main/side quest takes minutes of swimming in one direction, occasionally stopping to eat to fill up the hunger bar. It's very dull to navigate, and I would have much rather preferred a menu system of choices rather than this pointless main map.

So, much like the recent Stubbs the Zombie, it came up with a novel gameplay idea and rather than running with it they focused on other, less-important ideas. As it stands, Jaws Unleashed is a very undeveloped concept and the makers of the game should have thought more about making the action fun and coming up with more areas prone for shark destruction. Even the mediocre NES game was more interesting and thought-out than this. Very disappointing.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 07/12/06


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