Jackass: The Game (DS)
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2008-01-15 Nintendo DS Action/Adventure M (Mature) Red Mile Entertainment

After the PSP and PS2 entertaining releases, the Jackass crew comes now to the DS. But does the game actually work out on this handheld? Find out.

The presentation of Jackass DS is quite different. Here, you play as yourself, or rather, the character you create. You can pick male or female, choose from a few different hair styles and colors, and pick some clothes before you go out into the world as "Little Muffin" (no, you can't pick your name) to star in your own crazy stunts.

The single-player mode is a free-roaming mission-based adventure, much like GTA, if you will. You walk around, find one of the Jackass team members and do a few missions for him, find the next, do some more tasks, and eventually move on to the next area.

There are six distinct environments to visit: Heavyset Hills (a nice town), Whitehead Resort (a snowy lodge), Sunova Beach (beach, pier, the works), Downtown Mianus (a busy city), Jethro's New 'D' Ranch (a farm) and Cornhole Industrial (a construction site).

The missions involve all sorts of crazy and dangerous things such as jumping into a garbage truck and being launched in the air to hitting a huge target sign. Or gaining momentum on a trampoline and chain stunts onto a playground's carrousel and landing on a shopping cart, riding it along while doing some cool poses.

Although the stunts seem fairly easy to achieve, you will eventually discover they're not. You have to calculate the power your launch yourself from trampolines or the truck for example, then move around while in the air to hit the next object or your goal just in the right angle. If you fail a mission, you can't just retry it, you need to talk to the guy and get the "quest" again. If you complete all missions from a certain Jackass, you can have him as a playable character. Again, the usual crew is back, with the exception of Bam Margera.

In these free-flying moments you will also spot a series of collectable items (much like the packages from GTA), some of them being special outfits that you can sport to add bonuses to your stats and look hilarious while doing stunts? Was that a hot dog being shot out of the garbage truck? Yes it was. And if you look closer, it's now a gorilla.

Your character's stats improve by performing stunts. It's like playing Tony Hawk, really, the more you do a certain thing, the better you become at it. Except here, you become better at breaking bones, maintaining your balance, agility and overall skill (Jackassery, I assume).

If you get tired (read: frustrated) of the mission goals, you can always try your hand at the mini-games, Snowball Drive-By and Dodgeball. Dodgeball is self-explanatory: hit the other guys with the ball. You pick four of the Jackass guys, two members on each team. Your team will be on the bottom screen. You control them by tapping one of your players, moving with the D-pad and throwing the ball with stylus movements, but you can't control both of your team members, so you end up being hit a lot. However, the way you draw your moves with the stylus can give the ball curving effects, which is pretty neat.

Snowball Drive-By is quite fun. On the bottom screen, there is your slingshot and pile of snowballs. On the top screen, a side-scrolling street background and some pedestrians pass by. You drag a snowball onto the slingshot, aim, and shoot it at people. Oh, and you get bonus points for hitting them with yellow snowballs.

There is also a multiplayer option in the game, although I never got to try it out because there was no one to join or no games being hosted, so I'm not sure what the purpose is aside from having a little stunt competition with up to three other players.

The game's presentation is actually well done. The artwork is nicely done and the guys' cartoony counterparts greatly resemble them and the mini-games look simple but clear. The menus are easily accessible and self-explanatory, so in other words, the 2D is pretty good. The environments aren't too shabby and are rendered in fully 3D, even though the textures are somewhat bland. The ragdoll physics are well done as well, as are the stunt animations and funny poses, and the frame rate is stable throughout.

Soundwise, the music comes across really well, but the sound effects sometimes seem a bit off. I don't know exactly why my character was screaming in agony everytime I ran into a mailbox or garbage can?

I did experience some glitches, all related to stunt items disappearing (for example, a trampoline became invisible while I was jumping on it) but it could be because I had a preview build.

Honestly, I had no idea what this game would turn out to be on the DS, but I wish there were more character customization options and a lot more mini-games. It's a good effort on the developers' part, but it pales in comparison to the previously released game. I really enjoyed Jackass for the PSP. It looked great, it was a lot of fun, the mini-games were plenty and hilarious, and had me laughing for real. The DS version falls short though, and even if still entertaining for fans of the show/movies, it's not as good or funny as I expected it to be.

Special thanks to David Bruno and Red Mile Entertainment for providing a copy of this title.