View Full Version : [PS2] - Jaws Unleashed review

06-01-2006, 06:10 PM
Jaws Unleashed Review
Platform: PS2
By: Everlost_MI (Brian K. Nichols), Editor in Chief

The premise behind Jaws Unleashed of taking control of the infamous Great White shark sounds like it would be a rousing time of mayhem and destruction. Then combine that with the same development house, Appaloosa International, that created one of the best underwater console games to date, Ecco the Dolphin and it sounds like a sure fire winner. Unfortunately, the game falls short in many ways. Jaws Unleashed is a single player experience that is plagued with horrible gameplay and camera controls as well as various bugs that include being hung up on invisible snags, random crashes and the occasional game ending freezes.

The main storyline of Jaws Unleashed takes place thirty years after the initial Jaws movie and off the coast of the infamous Amity Island. This time around the block, instead of being Sheriff Brody you take control of Jaws whoís various tasks that include destroying a chemical plant thatís polluting the nearby ocean as well as taking down a Killer Whale as the you lay waste to a Sea World knock off amusement park. In addition to the main quest, there are thirty-two side missions that are available to unlock various collectibles and bonuses to make your killing machine more efficient with numerous moves and power-ups. All in all, the main and side quests will take you about ten hours to complete. It should be noted that the many of the main and side missions are quite ridiculous but the same suspension of belief that went along with the Jaws movies need to be applied to the game bearing the same name.

The gameplay from the initial load up is nothing short of being frustrating. The opening moves of the shark are decent and as previously mentioned they can be improved with the various side missions to recreate some of the moves that were used in the various Jaws movies. However, you are forced to manually make the monstrous shark swim and the ability to navigate with any degree of precision is simply not there. Regrettably the various main and side missions requires a significant level of precision in navigating that will end up causing great aggravation. Combine the weak controls with a camera that you constantly fight and curse as it changes at the most inopportune times. The ability to control let alone position the camera as the shark is being bombarded with enemies from all side is quite a feat; especially with the need of having to regularly feed the shark otherwise it will die. Itís especially maddening if you are trying to reproduce the infamous dorsal fin peeking out of the water before laying waste an unsuspecting swimmer. When the shark gets close the surface the camera switches despite your best effort to an angle either above or under the water, then before youíre able to sink those rows of razor sharp teeth into your victim the camera will again switch to yet another angle. This new angle more often than not prevents you from being able to see your victim properly and the end results are less than satisfying as youíll have to swing around again for another shot. If Appaloosa had allowed the game to control the majority of the sharkís swimming, then the extra effects of recreating the various Jaws attack moves would have really been more than a slight distraction from the constant struggle to play the game. Donít get me wrong, the ability to toss your victim in the air only to break out of the water and snatch the flailing body before it his the water is fun, but if the entire gameplay was that fun it would have made all the difference in the world.

The amount of visual detail offered in Jaws is passable but the animation during and after the kills is quite memorable. The shark is detailed and animated well in providing a realistic representation of a Great White shark. However the surface and underwater environments are flat while the underwater creatures are depicted slightly better than their bland looking human counterparts on the surface. The draw distance in both environments is quite poor and youíll end up stumbling across various schools of fish or objects only when youíre practically on top of them. In addition, when the water becomes a feeding frenzy, the frame rate will drop deeper than Davy Jonesí locker. There is an odd bug in the game that causes Jaws to become easily snagged on some invisible pixels or objects as youíre swimming or attacking in the game. Once youíre hooked, there is no choice but to restart the game from a save point. There are also weird and random animation and visual bugs that pop in and out of the game that reduce the level of immersion and causes a bit of frustration. For example, when youíre in the midst ripping a swimmer apart limb by limb causing a blood bath, which is done quite well in the game, and suddenly a yellow pixilated blob saunters across the screen as if it was a drunken Pac-Man. It kind of kills the fun of the carnage, but in the process it will either cause you to laugh aloud or curse at the odd distraction.

As far as the audio aspect of the game, itís as flat and uninspiring. There is some standard orchestral background music but the infamous Jaws theme that is used throughout the game doesnít add much, if any tension that was associated with it when it was used in the various movies. The voice acting was sufficient but again nothing worth mentioning.

Bottom Line:
In conclusion, the ability to unleash carnage as Jaws with great kill animations and Hollywood/fiction inspired moves will initially hook you. But repetition and irritation will set in sooner than later, leaving you wondering if the title was even worth the $30.00. Jaws Unleashed could have been so much more than a lackluster, frustrating title that will have you cursing and mangling your controller before long.

Of note: The title has been released on the Xbox for a MSRP of $29.99 and a PC version is slated to drop on June 6 for a MSRP of $19.99.

The Good
- The carnage.
- The various Hollywood/fiction inspired attack moves
- The kill animations and resulting gore.

The Bad
- The lackluster graphics
- The uninspiring audio.

The Ugly
- The gameplay controls
- The camera controls
- The bugs, crashes, freezes and snags.

Value Ranking: A tie between being a Bargain Bin Purchase and a Rental.

Score: http://www.evilavatar.com/images/icons/e2.jpg
2 EvilEyes out of 5.
MSRP: $29.99

06-01-2006, 06:19 PM
Good review. Sucks the game was equally as good.

I think I'll make the sequel...Penguins Unleashed.

06-01-2006, 06:42 PM
Good review. Sucks the game was equally as good.

I think I'll make the sequel...Penguins Unleashed.

Or monkeys. Monkeys are always entertaining, and can be surprisingly vicious.

06-01-2006, 06:45 PM
Well after seeing this pre-release i already knew it would have been a dud. As all you should have had as well.

pfft Penguins unleashed? How about Chuck Norris Unleased!

06-01-2006, 07:04 PM
Or monkeys. Monkeys are always entertaining, and can be surprisingly vicious.

No, I think it should be cows. Cows that stare at you and lick their chops in great hunger...like the Man Eating Cow from The Tick.

06-01-2006, 07:24 PM
Oooh, yeah. You don't know real terror until you've faced down a herd of cattle. *shudder*

06-01-2006, 07:34 PM
Bah, if they weren't going to bother, why not make some intentionally bad game, like a playable Jaws 3D, or Jaws: The Revenge where you have a button to jump out of the water and roar. Nice one, fellas, a roaring shark. was that the only way you could get Michael Cane in there? Get him drunk and agree to everything he says " I want to be able to hold my breath, for at least 15 minutes, and I want to shark to bloody roar"

I think I'll make the sequel...Penguins Unleashed

Don't forget the unnecessary movie cash in. It would have to be March of the Penguins: Unleashed

06-01-2006, 08:11 PM
I know it's going to be bad when I only have to glance at the thread's subject and suddenly this Jerry Springer guest voice in my head says "Oh no you didn't!". Jaws. Just, goddamn, why make a game like this?

06-01-2006, 08:31 PM
Or monkeys. Monkeys are always entertaining, and can be surprisingly vicious.
Yes, monkeys. The best animals ever.

06-01-2006, 08:40 PM
I'm just happy that it's out so I don't have to hear the EB folks talk about it whenever I ask what's coming out.

Definately looks like a renter.

And they should make a slug simulation. I love those gastropods...

06-01-2006, 09:39 PM
I want Penguins unleashed! I am not sure about cows... Would the title of the cow game be: Mad Cow! :D

06-01-2006, 09:57 PM
Well I was hoping this game would rock because Ecco the Dolphin is my favorite Dreamcast title. Shucks.

06-02-2006, 01:25 AM
Thanks for reminding me to break out the Genesis and play some Ecco. Seriously.

06-02-2006, 01:49 AM
As if you didn't already know, STAY AWAY!

06-02-2006, 02:05 AM
I smell a VS title coming. Something like Jaws vs Penguins: Unleashed, or Jaws vs. Penguins vs. Cows: Mayhem.

06-02-2006, 08:10 AM
Since Evil Avatar is going the route of more inclusive Video Game site (rather than just as a VG news source) would it be possible to get some screenshots up along with the reviews?

06-02-2006, 11:57 AM
I can't wait till a Karate Kid game comes out.....

put em in a bodybaggggggggggg HAHAHAHA

06-03-2006, 01:45 PM
No, I think it should be cows. Cows that stare at you and lick their chops in great hunger...like the Man Eating Cow from The Tick.
There is no Cow Level.