I wanted to end my GBA Tribute with Mario vs. Donkey Kong on March 21, exactly 1 year after I started it. But then I remembered I absentmindedly forgot this pillar o’ gaming & knew I had to continue.
Also, I ne’er did Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. But that’s later. We have, ahem, a masterpiece to discuss.
Jawbreakers! actually has a nifty game mechanic: it essentially copies The Lost Vikings, allowing you to switch ’tween “the Eds”, as the gamesters down in Peach Creek call them. Each character has different abilities: Eddy Gizzard can double jump & is generally the most agile, making him the most fun to play. He can also collect a jetpack & fly round in later stages. Double-Dogg-Dare-You can collect wrenches & slingshots & use them to fuck up deadly chihuahuas, chickens, & fire hydrants, but is a pussy & won’t walk o’er cement. Finally, Gravy Train can carry the others o’er dangerous terrain with a wheelbarrow & can collect a helmet to bash things with his head. However, he’s the least agile lump o’ fuck. Also, if he gets too close to a chicken, he starts chasing it, making you lose all control o’ him & forcing you to make Double-Draw-Bridge murder the sneak with his slingshot.
The game also takes a page from everyone’s favorite DK game, Donkey Kong 64, & gives them all their own… uh… ¿quarters? ¿Colored pogs? ¿Who cares? Collect 100 & you get an extra life.
The goal, as one can imagine, is to get all o’ the Eds to the end o’ the level. Unlike The Lost Vikings, if a character dies, you’re not stuck in an unwinnable situation & forced to just restart, but just makes you lose a life & sends that Ed back to the last checkpoint. On the other scale, I’m pretty sure The Lost Vikings didn’t have lives @ all & just let you retry levels an infinite ’mount o’ times, which, ’specially for an SNES game, was mo’ forward thinking than this GBA game made in the 2000s.
That said, this game does have autosave, which is nice.
You wouldn’t expect it, but the time can be rather frustrating, as these levels go on fore’er, every character but Eddy Blizzard is slow as sludge, & physics can be finicky.
This game’s biggest problem, I think, is that it’s not sure if it wants to be a fast-paced action platformer or a slow, exploratory puzzle platformer. The levels can be quite linear, despite their large size, & expect you to make many tiny, tight jumps ’cross moving platforms, & give you a time limit; but the characters move sluggishly, & 2 o’ the characters have immensely weak jumps. Having to traverse the whole level essentially 3 times can drag on. While I’d defend this in Donkey Kong 64, in this game the levels are a bit too linear & too similar ’tween characters, & the characters just move so slowly. Yes, sometimes characters have to take different routes ’cause o’ their different abilities; but mostly, the game just makes you wait for different characters to get to where your current character is so you can break whatever obstacle’s in the way with whatever ability key the other character has.
The interaction ’tween the camera & the level design is a bit wonky, too, leading to cheap deaths. It’s not uncommon to end up in a place where you’re forced to make a blind jump, with the high risk that you’ll fall on a rabid chihuahua & die.
The controls can be a bit wonky, too — ’specially with Double-Dutch-Fudge-Packer having B be both the run button & the stop-&-shoot button.
Speaking o’ shooting, the game’s not terribly out-front ’bout how the aiming works, so it’s quite easy to miss targets. The problem is, in many cases in levels you have to kill certain enemies for certain characters to pass, & there’s only a limited ’mount o’ ammo in a level, making it quite easy to end up in unwinnable situations.
The levels are cool, though. They’re based on settings from the show; & I don’t know if you e’er watched the show, but the art style o’ that show was great. It had an abstract style that was bizarre, but rather subtle in its bizarreness, & used subtly off colors, such as having purple tree trunks & yellow skies. Thankfully, this game keeps that art style, e’en if its in low-res GBA pixel-vision. Hell, they e’en kept the weird wiggly outlines on the characters from the show, which is impressive. Honestly, ’hind only the SNES & Genesis Capcom Disney games, this may be 1 o’ the best-looking 2-D pixellated game that tries to emulate cartoon graphics.
The level themes are also creative & refreshing: you go from hopping ’long window sills & trash cans in suburban neighborhoods to hopping ’long tire swings in a playground to climbing spider-web ladders in some dark woods to roaming wooden skeletons o’ houses in a construction site to climbing broken cars & ladders made o’ radiators in a junkyard to walking ’long clothes lines in a trailer park. 1 thing ’bout this game: you can’t say they weren’t creative.
The bosses are also rather creative, though not particularly complex. The levels are much harder. After the playground, Rolfe challenges Double-Duplex-Plex to a slingshot duel; after the woods, you have to complete some mirror-movement puzzle to make Nazz & Butter Toast Ghost come together so he can give her her communistic black book; after the construction site, Sarah pounds the ground like Donkey Kong, causing wrenches to inexplicably fall from the sky, forcing you to hastily switch ’tween the Eds to move them out o’ the way o&rsquo such deathly dirtiness; after the junkyard, Kevin… revs his bike in a corner, causing dirt to fling all o’er, forcing you to move Eddy Splinters out o’ the way; & after the trailer park, you have to solve some quick puzzle platform level to knock out the lead Kanker with that ubiquitous red wheel barrow glazed with rain water, rescue Double-Trouble-Barney-Rubble, & get the dodge out o’ hell.
What I like most ’bout these boss battles is that the challenge comes purely from slight mistakes you might make. I don’t think I e’er lost to 1 & didn’t know the reason, & didn’t know a way I could avoid it on ’nother try. Mo’ importantly, they’re quick-paced & don’t make you wait through long invincibility periods ’tween hits, like the average Rareware boss.
I think there’s something wrong in the world when I have to compare Ed, Edd ’n Eddy: Jawbreakers! favorably to Donkey Kong Country.
Granted, some o’ the later bosses don’t make much sense. Why the Eds stand round for a while dodging screwdrivers ’stead o’ just leaving for the Sarah boss is ne’er ’splained, nor why Kevin decides to give you a ticket ’cause he fails to get Eddy Tincture dirty.
E’en stranger, the final boss is probably the easiest in the game. You expect it to be some big showdown; but you just have to dodge some flying kisses to grab an item, & then ram 1 o’ the Kankers with a wheel barrow. After that, you’re pretty much guaranteed success.
I have mixed views ’bout the sounds o’ this game. The game uses voice clips from the show, kind o’ like Simpsons games oft do, which is nice. The music, however: though it fits the show’s themes, they can become repetitive & headache-inducing, amplified by the length o’ this game’s levels. You have no idea what a breath o’ fresh air ’twas to finally beat the playground world & not have to listen to that bloody twang music.
As for the writing o’ the cutscenes ’tween worlds & bosses, it’s quite bad. It’s like a bad knock off o’ actual scripts from the show. Part o’ the problem is that the text boxes make it feel sluggish, which is awkward compared to the rather fast pace o’ the actual show’s dialogue & action. O well: it’s not too bad, & a’least the main plot fits the subject matter.
Also, the characters’ dialogue portraits don’t change to reflect what’s being said, leading to absurd situations where someone’s grinning stupidly while their dialogue is obviously unhappy.
1 cool thing ’bout this game is that it has a level-select code hidden in it, which not only lets you skip to any level, but also to any cutscene & boss battle — which I definitely didn’t use to get most o’ these screenshots after I became too tired from the slog that is the playground world to finish the woods world. I should point out that I do faintly remember beating this game a long time ago when I was young, but can’t remember much ’bout the actual experience.