As far as irresponsible behaviour goes, firing yourself out of a cannon ranks alongside sticking your head inside a lion's mouth or entering a paint drinking contest. Mind you, in this twisted age of voyeurism and lauded debauchery, shows such as Jackass and Dirty Sanchez have desensitized us to such deliberate stupidity, so by comparison the premise for Johnny Crash seems almost quaint. It has a potent secret ingredient, though.
The game is centered on firing Johnny Crash out of a cannon into the great blue yonder. You must guide him through the air, colliding him into various obstacles, each harder to reach than the last, before bringing him crashing down, preferably on top of something painful. You can only keep Johnny airborne for so long, however, and the skill is in using up your air-time bar economically which is done by holding the '5' key for short bursts.
There are objectives given, requiring you to hit specific obstacles or land in specific locations, all of which are rewarded with points. Achieve the set objectives or score target and you progress to the next stage.
It really is that simple, but Johnny Crash is nevertheless a joy to play and thoroughly addictive, though it's the aforementioned secret ingredient that gels everything together. You see, seldom is a game so completely and delightfully bonkers as Johnny Crash. It isn't enough that you are fired out of a cannon at the start of each level; Johnny actually flaps his arms bird-like to affect some sort of crude aviation, keeping himself aloft for just long enough to hit the next obstacle and score a lift/speed boost.
Perhaps it doesn't translate well into print but the sight of a man purposefully flapping his arms while soaring through the air, a look of resolute determination on his face, before plunging head first into a waiting abandoned shopping trolley is the sort of sniggering puerile thrill you never knew you needed in your life but, trust us, you'll be a more wholesome person as a result of witnessing it.
As you gather acclaim and manage to hit new obstacles, a scrapbook is gradually filled with pictures of your mentally unsound exploits and the various levels are made available to select in any order so that you can go back and better your score. There's also a replay function which, though you will probably find you won't use very often, is polished enough to justify its presence.
Visually, the game has a knowing tongue in cheek seriousness that elevates Johnny Crash above a mere cheap slapstick character. The audio is less impressive and grates very quickly, especially as it loops to the start every time you retry a stage, which can be often.
There is also the question of whether or not such a simple and repetitive gameplay mechanism can endure beyond being an amusing fancy; though it is clear that Johnny Crash harbours no pretensions about being anything more than that. To that end, the game succeeds.
Ultimately, Johnny Crash is a casual title that you will go back to for those five- or ten-minute bursts of gaming. And each time you do, you'll catch yourself grinning.