There were FPS games, and there were platforming games, and then there was Jet Force Gemini for Nintendo64, which decided to try to be both of them at once and somehow managed to pull it off.

This was a sci-fi game that had you visiting various (themed, of course) planets, blasting bugs with plasma guns and saving little fuzzy Ewok-like creatures. You could play one of three characters– of which the best was a cybernetically-enhanced dog with a machine gun on his back (because come on, that’s just awesome). The characters have a sort of cute, doll-like appearance, which is promptly tainted by all the guns and blood and flying alien parts after you’d blasted them to kingdom come. Sounds fun, no? It was.

The FPS/Platformer hybrid aspect of the game was accomplished by having you see and control your character platformer-style most of the time, and then when you pulled out your gun and targeted something the camera would zoom in on your character’s head, which would become translucent, allowing you to slip seamlessly into “FPS mode”. It took a bit of getting used to at first, but once you did you’d wonder why you ever had problems with it.

Another of the game’s big triumphs was the inclusion of multiplayer co-op. See, partway through the game’s story a little flying robot with lasers started following you around. His name was Floyd (the Droid. Eh? Eh?). He would default to being controlled by the computer AI but at any time someone could press Start on the second controller and take manual control of Floyd. Floyd didn’t have the same versatility as the actual playable characters and playing Floyd was basically playing a shooting game on a track, but boy was it ever helpful to have someone play Floyd for you when you were on a difficult boss fight.

I played this game a lot when I was younger. But I never beat it. Why? Because it was a Rare game that ultimately fell prey to the DK64 Collectathon Syndrome, but in the most horrible possible way. See, up until about, oh, two-thirds of the way through the game, saving all the Ewoks was a good idea, but ultimately optional. Which was fortunate because they were a gigantic pain to collect. It was much more fun to just focus on bug-blasting your way to the end of the level.

So anyway two-thirds of the way through the game an NPC informs you that in order to pass you need to go back to the beginning and go through every level, again, and save every single Ewok.

Yeah, um, guess who stopped playing the game?

Bad Rare! Bad! No cookie!

Still, other than that little slipup, I look back on this game with nothing but memories of awesome. Why this hasn’t been given a sequel or the remake treatment yet is beyond me. Cause I’d be first in line.

6 Responses to “Classic Video Game Monday: Jet Force Gemini”
  1. Soph says:

    I had massive amounts of pain with this game.
    I didn’t have it in my original “collection”, but got it like, 10 years later when I was 19.
    I got to the first level and failed. I don’t know if I was quite simply, “doing it wrong”, but it frustrated me and I never played it.
    I don’t know if I’ve still got it or not but as ALWAYS pike you’ve inspired me to root around in my box of N64 goodies.

  2. morkuma says:

    never got into this one. tried it a few times, but just didn’t get to enjoying it i guess…

  3. Bamos says:

    I remember this one! Played it at a friend’s house. It was pretty fun.

  4. Fig says:

    I think I played it once or twice, but I could never get used to the controls. The N64 really hated lefties D:

  5. Capn John says:

    I never got this one. I recently hooked up the N64 to the TV in our bedroom because it seemed a shame to have it and the 40-50 games (or however many I bought) and not actually play it. I wonder if Gamestop (or whatever they call themselves these days) still has N64 carts.

  6. Baade says:

    This post almost makes me want to go back and try to beat this game again…. Almost…. Oh and I will take Lupus and Floyd over Masterchief any day :-)

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