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Jaws Unleashed

1 rating: 5.0
Action video game by Majesco for the PlayStation 2

Amity Island is growing, making corporate connections with prestigious companies like Environplus to improve the Island’s economy. Unfortunately the increased population around the Island and recent industrial activity has also attracted YOU--one … see full wiki

Release Date: Q3, 2005
1 review about Jaws Unleashed

ShaaaaarrrrrrkkkkkkK!!!!!!

  • Jun 8, 2006
Rating:
+5
Pros: High on nostalgia, you get to actually be Jaws and eat people

Cons: Those who didn't grow up in the days of the original Jaws won't appreciate it.

The Bottom Line: Jaws Unleashed fulfilled many childhood desires of my husband the shark-fanatic and even (surprisingly) myself! A great deal and a must own.


My husband is a shark fanatic, and not particularly in a good way. He’s more inclined to say, “Honey, look at that Great White chasing down the swimmer!!! It’s snacktime!!!!”, than he is to sit down and watch a documentary. So when I saw that the game Jaws Unleashed had come out, I knew I had to pick it up for him. I must say, we are both greatly amused.

Jaws Unleashed was released for both the Sony Playstation 2 as well as the Microsoft XBOX, however in our home, the PS2 controller is the favorite, so I elected to buy that version. There is no difference in gameplay between the two versions. The premise is simple: you play as Jaws, and you unleash as much havoc as possible upon the unsuspecting beach and scientists’ lab. If you’ve ever played an old Rampage, Godzilla, or Destroy All Monsters game, this is in the same vein as those.

The box!
Honestly, a game that is released in an unappealing box is unlikely to come home with me, but the Jaws Unleashed box got me hook, line, and sinker. (Pardon the pun, please!) The front features a rather menacing open shark mouth and the game title with a bloody effect seeping into the water. This game looks awesome!! The back cover says, “You are Jaws: Nature’s Ultimate Predator has been Unleashed!” with a few shots of Jaws chomping on a swimmer.

The story and game modes
This game loosely follows the plot from the Jaws movies and is set at Amity Island. I say “loosely” because although many parts will be familiar to you if you are a Jaws fan, the timeline is set 30 years after the first Jaws attack. I won’t spoil the ending, but your first mission is to escape captivity in the scientists’ lab, which partly involves scooping a lab employee off the lab walkway to swim his keycard to the locked door. I was hooked instantly, and I’m not even the shark fanatic in the house! There are ten missions in all to complete, and your objectives are clearly stated at the beginning load scene of each mission. Should you forget your goal, the game will eventually push you in the right direction if it’s taking you too long to find your way around. There is also a multitude of side challenges (I am not sure of the exact number, as I know there are several we have not found yet) which are opened up by completing different areas of the game. These are indicated by glowing buoys in the water in Open Ocean (your main screen) and you can enter and leave them as you wish. There are three difficulty options offered: easy, medium, and hard, and the missions and side quests can be completed as often as you’d like. Completing missions and side stories will earn you “points” that allow you to upgrade Jaws - but a little more on that later. You can also earn points by finding hidden collectibles, such as sunken license plates and memorabilia from the sea floor. Collecting all four tin cans hidden in a level will also unlock Jaws movie clips and cinematics in the game. You should keep in mind, nearly everything in the game is destructable: scenery, docksides, boats, umm.... swimmers. Cool stuff is hidden everywhere!

Controls
The controls of the game were quite intuitive, and neither my husband or myself needed to reference the manual to learn them. The analog sticks control your direction of movement and camera angle. The standard directional pad will allow you to switch targets. The shoulder buttons offer a range of attacks, including bite, charge, tail whip, and a “stealth” attack that allows you to quietly sneak up on your enemies. The circle, triangle, square, and x buttons control what type of movements you are performing, such as swim, dive, and target enemy. There are also a variety of combination moves (caused by linking strings of attacks, or pressing certain attack commands at the same time). Even without knowing this in advance, I was able to just pick up the controller and play with little to no difficulty. Save points are offered after every mission, along with added save points scattered through Open Ocean.

Menus
There are a few simple (and again, intuitive) menu options in the game. The first is Continue, which allows you to pick up from your last save point. You also have an Abilities menu, which allows you to “upgrade” Jaws as you progress in the game. You can upgrade Jaws’s accuracy, power, speed, hunger, and health to make him a, well, more efficient shark. There is an Options menu which allows you to tweak your sound and video settings, although the defaults were just fine for our setup. There is also a Quit option which returns you to the main menu. All in all, pretty standard fare for a video game, and comfortable to work with.

Sound
The sound is ambient and unobtrusive: casual “swishy” water sounds, mild background music at some points, screams from swimmers, and that unmistakable Jaws theme. It wasn’t memorable, and yet wasn’t annoying. Perfect for this type of game, in my opinion.

Our experience
My husband and I had a great time playing this game. It was nice to just sit down and have some open-ended “destroy everything” fun without overly-complicated gameplay and controls getting in the way. Being able to actually attack and eat people was incredibly amusing and was definitely the high point, even for me, who is definitely not a Jaws fanatic. Some of the novelty of this may be lost on the younger generation though - my husband and I are of an age to really remember and appreciate the Jaws movies when they first came out, and other friends of ours who are in the same age range loved the game as much as we did. However, kids who didn’t grow up with Jaws probably won’t feel the same sense of nostalgia and a sense of satisfaction of fulfilling that long running desire to BE Jaws. Come on, you know you secretly feel the same way.

Final thoughts
Jaws Unleashed would easily appeal to avid and casual gamers alike, as the controls are easy to pick up and play, but difficult to master the advanced moves (I STILL haven’t gotten them down!). I think that it would more strongly appeal to the “over-21" demographic though - those who grew up with Jaws, as the nostalgia aspect was a huge selling point. Also, the only $30 price tag was a huge selling point for me, as I probably would have passed over this game if it were $50, but I feel that I was the one who got the great deal at that price. My husband is absolutely thrilled, and even though he finished the main story he continues to go back to the game “just because he feels like munching on some swimmers today.” (Yes, that was an exact quote.) No, this is not the game that you sit down and spend four hours a night playing, but even after completion the most “hardcore” gamer will still go back to it for an hour or so a week. It’s just that type of game. Overall, this is a great buy.

Rating: M for Mature due to Blood and Gore and Violence (You’re a shark that eats people, is this really a shock? Not for the younger set.)
Availability You’ll likely have to buy online or at a game specialty store such as Gamestop or EB Games.
Price I purchased mine at the awesome price of $30. In retrospect, I would have paid $40 - it’s that worthwhile!
Don’t buy for... The under-21 gamer in your life - they won’t appreciate the nostalgia factor.

Recommended:
Yes

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