Hands on with Jackass: The Game
You'll want to break out your kneepads and jockstrap
At the start of every Jackass episode on MTV a warning flashes onscreen, sternly instructing you not to try the ill-conceived, idiotic stunts you're about to see with your buddies at home.
MTV has clearly done a bit of rethinking on that advice, however, seeing as it's obviously hoping to incite a little nutty behavior with Jackass: The Game.
Yet, it's buttons rather than delicate parts of the male anatomy that get mashed in this surprisingly fun mini-game mixer we eagerly spent time playing.
Jackass puts you through seven episodes, each consisting of five stunts. In order to wrap up production on an episode, you need to complete each of its stunts having achieved at least a bronze medal. Most stunts require meeting three of five objectives, while some involve racking up a score or beating a set time. It's an ironic set-up: succeeding as a jackass means having the discipline and tenacity to go after the objectives.
We checked out four stunts spread across three different episodes. First up was Suburban Catapult. Using a giant elastic band tied between two trees, we were able to launch our jackass into the air by pressing the X button. Getting just the right height and power is important, you see, because it enables you to nail the objectives. For instance, one has you crash into a glass greenhouse, while another dictates diving into a shallow pool. Taps to the left or right mid-air enabled us to guide our character towards these goals.
More satisfying than completing the given objectives, however, was delivering a world of hurt to our avatar. With each object he slammed into, another bone was broken, another muscle torn, and one more contusion created.
The more bodily harm dealt to your jackass, the higher your hospital bill. It never actually factors into play, but racking up massive medical expenses promises to be a hilarious way of challenging yourself on each of the stunts.
Of course, not every event focuses on sadomasochism. No, kids – jackassadry is a wide-ranging sport. Racing and sharpshooting also have a place in the Jackass crew's heart, and the activities made an appearance in the other three mini-games we played: Shoot Johnny, San Fran Trash Can, and Fridge Racer.
Shoot Johnny, a stunt that tacks series star Johnny Knoxville onto a spinning wheel, tests your aiming ability. As the wheel's speed increases, you shoot highlighted areas of his body with a paintball gun. Colorful, challenging, and chock full of idiocy, it perfectly translates the spirit of the show into interactive form.
The most difficult of the stunts we pulled off was San Fran Trash Can, which throws a jackass in a rubbish bin down the hilly streets of San Francisco. Navigating through traffic is done with the D-pad, although you automatically roll down the street. It is possible to alter the rate of acceleration with the X and Square buttons, but it's a slight adjustment at best. Passing under trucks, lobbing off fire hydrants, and crashing into unsuspecting drivers never got boring, though.
But whereas San Fran Trash Can is more an obstacle course, Fridge Racer offers up head-to-head racing – four jackasses jet to the finish line on refrigerators, sliding on packed snow. Along the way, you can destroy objects or knock out a competitor to fulfil medal objectives. Compared with the other events, however, it wasn't nearly as entertaining.
There's more to the game than just being an idiot. After any stunt attempt, you can save the replay and tweak it using the custom video editor. Additionally, stringing multiple stunt replays together creates a full show. These clips can then be uploaded to the game's server and rated by other players.
Conversely, if you'd rather take the role of judge than performer, replays and shows are easily downloaded and given a score out of five stars. The ability to share replay videos fits in well with the game's hilarity, not to mention that it taps into a growing desire for user-driven content.
Jackass: The Game is shaping up to be a remarkably polished, fully-featured title. Despite being a collection of mini-games, the stunts appear varied and (for the most part) genuinely entertaining. Add to that the promise of downloadable content following the game's early October release and it looks as though there'll be more than enough stupidity to go around.
We look forward to it.