Review by majikmonkee75

"This one bites the big one!"

The concept of a 20-foot shark preying on hapless, bikini clad bathers and bumbling boaters is a concept that managed to rate four movies (two or three of which were B grade at best, I’ll admit), and terrorize countless audience members over the years. Based on this, you would think that it would easily translate into a great video game as well, given the proper treatment. Well, those are the key words here indeed, because in this game about the 20-foot man eating shark, the only thing that will eat you alive is the unending boredom. Read on, my friend:

Story 4/10

Well, not much problem here, except for some reason, they chose to base (loosely) this game on Jaws 4: The Revenge, which was the last but far from the most impressive installment in the Jaws series. They could have gotten away with basing it on the original, but once you see the game, you realize it doesn’t matter. Except for the ending, this game doesn’t really resemble any of the Jaws flicks except for the fact that it has a big shark. That’s like me saying Tomb Raider II is based on Jurassic Park because it has a T-Rex. Anyway…

Gameplay 2/10

BORING! Okay, here’s how this game plays out. You drive a little sailboat around a map of nondescript islands, and randomly run into “enemy” encounters every now and then. Wait…don’t get excited. The encounters consist of you, a small, poorly drawn diver, shooting harpoons at jelly fish, sting rays, and small (well, they’re twice as big as you, but you’re smaller than everything else, so…) sharks, and trying to collect as many shells, crabs, and other crap as you can in a limited amount of time. You are then returned to your boat for more high seas…er…boredom. Every now and then, you’ll see a fin tooling around on the map. Oh, no! It’s Jaws! “Oh, no!” is right…because Jaws is a frighteningly boring and tedious enemy to have to battle! This game was designed to promote redundancy, because the only way you’ll defeat Jaws is through one extremely boring battle after another. If the Jaws fin hits your little boat (you need a bigger boat!), you are taken to a side view scene much like the other so-called “enemy encounters”, where it’s just you and your boat vs. Jaws. You get like five seconds to fling bombs from your boat at him before he touches it and SMASH! Bye, bye, boat. Now, if this were one of the Jaws movies, this would be where you’d be floundering in the water, yelling for help, and then they’d show your leg floating to the bottom of the ocean floor with ragged bits of flesh trailing after. Not so in this game. Instead, it’s “harpoon gun to the rescue” as you fill Jaws’ sorry carcass with one harpoon after another after another after…wait a second…his energy meter is going down any! This sucks! Well, you can avoid Jaws easily enough during the encounters, but you’ll probably notice that, yes, indeed, his energy meter is not only huge, but it takes like 20 harpoons to take away even one bar from it. Now, if you’re doing the math while you witness all of this, you’d probably shut this game off right now, realizing that you could probably watch all of the existing Jaws movies in the time it will take you to beat this boring game. Then, you’re surprised to discover that, just like the minor enemy encounters, you have a limited amount of time in the Jaws encounter as well, before you’re whisked back to your little boat on the map! I wouldn’t want to stick around to see the look on your face when you encounter Jaws again to continue the work you did before only to discover that part of his energy has regenerated since the last time you fought him. In fact, you’re lucky if any damage at all has carried over since your last fight! Your only hope of getting anywhere in this mess, which I might add has no save feature whatsoever, is to find the crappy little submarine on the map (which somehow makes you even smaller than you are as a diver) so you can do a little more damage to Jaws the next time you meet. That is, assuming, you don’t meet your other little friends from the sea and get hit once by a jellyfish and lose the sub. The heck with this crap! Oh, look…you earned a bonus level form collecting junk and now you get to bomb jellyfish swimming in formation from an airplane that zooms by overhead. Whoopee! Sadly, the airplane doesn’t crash in the bonus levels, and you live to continue on with the drudgery you started before. If, for some crazy reason, (say you have no life, or are grounded to your room and don’t have any other games) you devote the time to beating Jaws in the side view stages, you are taken to a 3D…wait…I’m not going to insult the name of 3D…a badly layered 2D scene where your view is the front of your boat, with Jaws swimming at you. You need to use the strobe lights (what? You didn’t buy any? Tough luck for you!) to make Jaws jump out of the water like Flipper the dolphin so you can skewer him on the front of your boat. What a totally awesome, great weapon to use against a 20-foot man eating shark…NOT! Of all the stupid ways to finish off Jaws, this is by far one of the stupidest. Yes, this scene was in the movie, but the characters in the movie didn’t set off looking for Jaws with the intent of ramming their boat into him. In this game, if you fail in your attempt to turn him into a shark-kebob, you’ll be forced to try it again, and again, and again until you get it right (if you fail, though, Jaws gets his energy back and you have to fight him in the water again…GRRRRR!!) Want to know the best part? If you do, somehow manage to crash into Jaws and kill him, you’re treated to nothing but a single crappy screen of closing text letting you know that the game is over, with a picture of an airplane flying away into the sunset! WHAT?? I spent 20 hours playing this garbage for THIS? The least likely thing to survive in this game is the cartridge after you suffer the tedium and abuse it dishes out on you for a couple hours. I rented it, thankfully, or else I would have stomped it under my boot and stuffed it in the kitchen trashcan where it belonged with the rotten banana peels and used coffee grounds. Boring, boring, BORING.

Graphics 3/10

No thanks. Poorly done. They’re way too hokey for a game based on a horror movie about a 20-foot man eating shark. They definitely don’t inspire a sense of dread as you hop into clear blue water and shoot harpoons at happily dancing jellyfish and other non-threatening looking crap. Even Jaws himself doesn’t manage to be intimidating. Sorry, guys, but if you lose the horror element from a game like this, all your left with is a lousy spear fishing trip where one of your catches just manages to be a somewhat larger shark that takes about 30,000 harpoons to land. If you could play this game without looking at it, I’d recommend it, but that wouldn’t really help because you’d still be left with the…(see below)

Sound 2/10

Aargh. They totally blew it here. There is barely any semblance of music related to the movie (how hard would it have been to accurately duplicate the movies’ theme song??) and the music that we are left with is hokey and sounds like elevator music at a tropical resort. It totally sets the wrong mood for the game, and even independently is bad. The sounds effects are a joke, and don’t do the game any justice either. If you want to play this, maybe try figuring out how to play it without looking at it or listening to it…wait a second! The only way to do that is…(see below)

Don’t bother playing this game. It is a skunk. Unless you hate yourself and want to explore new depths of boredom, there’s nothing here to like. Maybe if this game didn’t try to attach itself to a movie it barely resembles, I’d show some mercy, but when companies license their game after a movie for recognition, folks develop certain expectations based on that, and this game trashes them all. If you like the Jaws movies, then I’d suggest watching them, but as for the game, it bites more than a 20-foot shark ever could.

Reviewer's Rating:   1.0 - Terrible

Originally Posted: 05/29/03, Updated 05/29/03

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