Game: Bombjack (bootleg)
Manufacturer: Tehkan (original) Bootleg (unknown)
Year: 1984
Genre: Platform
Players: 2 players (alternating)
My Version is: The board only (Bootleg. Unknown territory)
Screen Position: Vertical


Released by Tehkan in 1984, the frantic speed of Bombjack ensured that this was quite unlike any other platform game around at the time. With it's lovely music and fantastic background graphics (for its time!) Bombjack really stood out in the arcades of the day.

The object of the game is simple; collect all the bombs to advance to the next stage. Sounds easy, but of course, it's not. The longer you stay on a level, the more enemies appear, but as well as that, the longer an enemy is on screen, the more powerful he becomes. An enemy which starts off as a small robot walking left and right quickly transforms into a high speed seashell-like homing ship, or a heat-seeking bouncing ball, all intent on bringing you that bit closer to the gamers nightmare,`Game Over`.

Footage captured by classicgamevideos


Bombjack can be played using two strategies. You can either chose to clear the level as quickly as possible by collecting all the bombs, or you can go for a more high-scoring but riskier approach by only collecting the bombs which are sparking.

Should you collect 20 or more sparking bombs on a level, you will be awarded extra bonus points enabling you to rack up a high score.

One way to make clearing a level by only picking up sparking bombs easier is to learn the pattern of the bombs. Once one sparking bomb has been collected, you will find another on the level will begin to spark. All bombs start their fuses in a certain sequence, learning the sequence means a level can be completed quicker and with less risk of Bombjack meeting his maker.

When either sparking or non-sparking bombs are collected, your meter (displayed at the top of the screen around the X1, X2 etc) will be increased. Once this meter has increased to it's maximum a bouncing `P` will appear and all music will stop. To obtain maximum points DO NOT collect any further bombs whilst this is on screen. Instead, collect the power up ball and the enemies will transform into tokens. Collect as many of these tokens as possible before they turn back into enemies.

It is worth noting that if you go after the sparking bombs, your meter will increase quicker than if non-sparking bombs are collected. The power up ball appears after collecting 20 bombs. Fire bombs count as two bombs towards this total. The power up ball counter doesn't reset between rounds.

Keep your eyes peeled for the `B` icons which will increase your pickup bonus to 2,4,6 etc times. Points can be increased dramatically with these. You will also see an `E` shape token from time-to-time. Make these a priority pickup, as collecting one will give you an extra Bombjack to add to your arsenal of lives.

Gold Coins: When you turn enemies into gold coins by collecting the power up ball, enemies are worth: 100, 200, 300, 500, 800 and 2000 points for each additional enemy.

Fire Bombs: 23 fire bombs=50,000 end of level bonus, 22=30,000, 21=20,000, 20=10,000

You may also be interested to know that jumping, falling and hitting walls also awards points, but these are small (10 points) and insignificant.

Dip-Switch Settings - Bank 1

Description                1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8
           1-COIN 1 PLAY   OFF   OFF
COIN 1     2-COIN 2 PLAY   ON    OFF
           1-COIN 2 PLAY   OFF   ON
           1-COIN 3 PLAY   ON    ON

           1-COIN 1 PLAY               OFF   OFF
COIN 2     2-COIN 1 PLAY               ON    OFF
           1-COIN 2 PLAY               OFF   ON
           1-COIN 3 PLAY               ON    ON

 NUMBER    3 JACKS                                 OFF   OFF
OF JACKS   4 JACKS                                 ON    OFF
           5 JACKS                                 OFF   ON
           2 JACKS                                 ON    ON

TYPE       COCKTAIL                                            OFF
           UPRIGHT                                             ON

DEMO       NO SOUND                                                 OFF
SOUND      SOUND                                                    ON

Dip-Switch Settings - Bank 2

Description                4     5     6     7     8
DIFF 1     MODERATE        OFF   OFF
BIRD)       TOP DIFF       ON    ON
DIFF 2     EASY                        ON    OFF
(ENEMY     MODERATE                    OFF   OFF
NO'S AND   DIFFICULT                   OFF   ON
SPEED)     TOP DIFF                    ON    ON

RATIO OF    EASY                                   OFF
COIN APPEAR DIFF                                   ON

Note: On dip-bank 2, switches 1-3 should be left in the OFF position

Many thanks to Robbway for some of the above information which he picked up during his research in designing a Bombjack Table for Visual Pinball.