The Jackass series originally began in the year 2000. The setup for the show is pretty much described in the title, the show features a bunch of previously unknown males who perform all types of stunts and pranks. The show only ran for a few years but became rather popular, spawning several copycat programs, lawsuits and eventually two films. So, it's a little bit surprising that seven years after the show began a game has been released, but is Jackass: The Game a title you'll want to pick up or is the game just a big terrible poo joke?
For the uninformed, Jackass: The Game is essentially a mini game compilation. The idea for the game is simple, the cast of Jackass are getting together for another series and the player needs to direct and coordinate specific stunts. All of this is introduced to the player rather cleverly through a decent FMV at the beginning of the game's story mode. The story mode is divided up into seven episodes (a rather short season) with each episode containing five different stunts (re: mini games).
Rather than just having to complete a mini game there are specific video footage goals for each mini game. For example, one of the mini games which is a roof race on the top of high rise buildings features several goals, such as winning the race, smashing through the billboard and making a 30-yard jump. Only by fulfilling three of the goals it's possible to progress through the game and unlock more episodes, which is pretty decent because some of the goals can be rather difficult.
What makes Jackass The Game so enjoyable (and it really is), is that the mini games don't feel tacked on and useless. We're warning you, they're not exactly clean mini games (there are three mini games which feature the word 'poo' in the title) but all of them feel like something the Jackass crew would do, or would like to do if they were invincible, such as the poo dive, the fridge racer and the human bowling.
None of the mini games are overly complex, but the main problem we find is that the player isn't properly introduced to what they have to do for each mini game. When selecting a stunt the player is shown a notebook sketch of how the stunt will pan out, which isn't exactly descriptive. This can make the stunts a little more difficult, simply because the game doesn't explain what you have to do before you play a mini game. One of the prime examples of this is the wee hand stunt, where you're given a knife and shown a hand. Presumably the idea is to actually stab at the hand, but we found out by trial and error that the actual goal of the mini game is to miss the hand as much as possible.
Aside from the story mode there is also a challenge mode where players can select any unlocked mini game and just play for fun. Jackass: The Game also supports multiple copy ad-hoc multiplayer and also includes an infrastructure mode. Online you can play through several different stunts and different episodes. The same options are true for the ad hoc local multiplayer. The PSP version of Jackass he Game also lets you save replays and features a show editor, which is a decent little bonus. It's actually possible to save replays of your stunts and then use the show editor to patch together your own little Jackass episode.
There are a few little touches that will have Jackass fans smiling (of which I am one). When you first hear the Jackass theme at the beginning of the game you'll feel ready to jump into a stunt. The inclusion of Roger Alan Wade's If You're Gonna Be Dumb and the Party Boy theme is also appreciated. At any stage during the story mode you can select which Jackass you take control of. Favourites like Steve-O and Johnny Knoxville are of course characters you can play as, as well as other favourites like Chris Pontius and Ryan Dunn. The only major Jackass exclusion from the game is Bam Margera. He appeared in Tony Hawk's Underground 2 so we're not too sure why he would be missing from the official Jackass Game.
What ultimately lets down Jackass The Game is the lifespan. For the first three hours of the game you'll be in heaven, loving the mini games (with the exception of only a few) and ready to play for another three hours, but then you'll realise that there isn't another three hours left in the game. Sure there is the multiplayer and some hardcore fans may be keen enough to replay every stunt again to unlock some of the bonuses, but most players will just move on and probably not return to the game again.
On the subject of bonuses, there are quite a few little extras which are worth making note of. There is a puppeteer option which essentially lets you fiddle around with the face of one of the Jackass crew and make them angry. The movies can be viewed at any time as well and the gallery contains concept art, Jackass photos and even character renders, although these need to be unlocked. Probably the most exciting option is the download option. Selecting the download will allow players to download other player's stunt replays and even extra stunts down the line.
Graphically Jackass: The Game looks okay. None of the mini games take place in particularly large environments but it is easy to tell which Jackass member you're taking control of and some of the environments in the game will look familiar to Jackass fans. The soundtrack is decent though and features songs from CKY and Roger Alan Wade.
Jackass The Game is a title that is likely to surprise a lot of people. The game is incredibly enjoyable while it lasts, but even at a budget price point the game is over far too quickly. Most of the mini games are rather enjoyable though. Jackass fans should have no hesitation in picking this game up, but those who are just interested in the game for the mini game aspect are probably best looking for another game.