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Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games

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Sir-Tech 1996
Genre: Strategy
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Everybody hates cash-in sequels. Just look at X-Com: Terror from the Deep - nobody likes playing that! Oh, wait, there are people who do. Sometimes, 'more of the same' seems to be a 'good enough' concept. Deadly Games is Jagged Alliance's Terror from the Deep: additional fodder for veterans with some minor cosmetic changes.


James Pond II: Codename Robocod

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Millenium 1991
Genre: Action
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga

Compared to the first part, James Pond 2 may appear to be a step backwards. In many ways, it's a much more conventional game. Where the predecessor set itself apart from the usual Jump 'n' Run genre by having a fish as a protagonist, the challenge to the player was indeed a little bit different. This game has James put on a special armour which enables him to get out of the water so that he's now been turned into yet another common genre character.


Jazz Jackrabbit

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Epic Megagames 1994
Genre: Action
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

What would happen if you gave Sonic the Hedgehog a huge gun and made him into a rabbit? Well, you end up getting Jazz Jackrabbit. Developed by Epic Megagames in 1994, Jazz Jackrabbit is a fast paced Sidescroller full of enemies to blast and tons of levels. The story is very simple, an evil turtle named Devan Shell has kidnapped the rabbit princess and Jazz is the only one who can save her and stop Deven Shell from ruling the world.


Jeopardy!

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Sharedata Inc 1987
Genre: Puzzle
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Although some people (and especially the producers) may claim differently, Jeopardy! is actually one of the most straightforward quiz shows on TV. Nevermind that question-answer stuff - it's still basically the same. Especially because most of the 'answers' aren't really what you'd give as an answer if you were asked the respective 'question' ('What is red?' - 'The colour of the stitchings of a major league Baseball game'... right, that's how I'd define it, too). Basically, the three candidates are presented with a sort of 'definition', and they have to say what it is about.


Jet Set Willy

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Software Projects 1984
Genre: Action
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: ZX Spectrum

Jet Set Willy was the follow-up to the very successful platform game Manic Miner and, like its predecessor, it was written by Matthew Smith, a very young programmer with a wild imagination, of whom great things were expected. That's not exactly the way it turned out, but more on that later.


Joan of Arc

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Chip / Rainbow Arts 1989
Genre: Strategy, Action
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Atari ST
Defender of the Crown was a troubled production. As the deadline was approaching and the initial development team fell more and more behind schedule, not only some features were removed from the baseline (which re-appeared in later ports), but also some essential changes were made to the basic game mechanics. One of them was the switch from real time to turn-based. Although Cinemaware later released a not dissimilar game which did sport real time gameplay, they never re-visited their initial genre-defining classic in this respect. So somebody else did it instead. Enter Joan of Arc.

John Saul's Blackstone Chronicles

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Legend Entertainment 1998
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Yet another book gets the Legend treatment: Founder Bob Bates himself attempts to bring the somewhat entertaining Blackstone Chronicles series of short stories to life. Instead of making the original stories into playable episodes, the game's story begins a few years afterwards: Although Oliver Metcalf has fought off the his dead father's influence over him, Malcolm's ghost / spirit is still there. In a devious scheme, he has kidnapped Oliver's wife and child in order to lure Oliver back into the abandoned asylum. Though, as in the written stories, the real question is, of course, whether it's Oliver, the protagonist himself, who is causing all this in his schizophrenic seizures.


Jonathan

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Phoenics C.R. / Software 2000 1993
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 1/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga

Jonathan is a university student who still lives with his parents. The reason being that ever since an accident 11 years ago, he's been confined to a wheelchair. What he lacks in physical attributes, he makes up for with psychic powers: He's got minor telekinetic and clairvoyant abilities (which he doesn't really like to use) and he is the head of a clique of friends who, in their free time, like to solve mysteries. Their latest one: Jonathan has had nightmares hinting at an approaching evil and a magic book and a ring will play some role in preventing all of this.


JONES in the Fast Lane

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Sierra On-Line 1990
Genre: Strategy
Rating: 6/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Just like many other Sierra games, JONES in the Fast Lane was developed with the Sierra Creative Interpreter. Nevertheless, it is not an Adventure game. In retrospect, you could say it is a kind of turn-based 'The Sims breaking out'.


Joust

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Atari 1983
Genre: Action
Rating: 1/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Atari 2600, Arcade, Atari ST

Grab your lance, mount your flying ostrich and… joust! Detailed graphics, great animations and a decent simulation of inertia – that was Joust in the arcades. On the Atari 2600, it is… not quite that. More of a reminder how far that system still was from providing an actual arcade experience at home than a fun game on its own right. Gone are the detailed player and enemy sprites; they have been replaced by flat, single-coloured blobs all of which look exactly identical (in the original, the enemies would be riding buzzards) – and the 'unbeatable?' pterodactyl is virtually unrecognisable as such an animal at all. Appropriately, simple two-state animations are used. Might be bearable if at least the gameplay had remained intact.



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