Jackass the Game Review
Johnny Knoxville and the rest of the Jackass crew might have made injuries cool again, but the idea and style of the show were nothing new to the skating community when it debuted on MTV back in 2000. Bam Margera, a member of the Jackass team, had already produced a couple of videos under the titles CKY and CKY2K. Mainstream audiences largely ignored the videos due to the fact that they were skate videos first and comedy videos second, but in their comfortable spot just under the radar, Margera's videos amassed a huge, devoted fanbase.
To make a long story short, Margera, along with Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville and the Big Brother skating company, transformed the ideas from CKY and CKY2K into a pilot, which MTV eventually picked up and renamed Jackass. The show was a massive hit, so much so that it even spawned two successful feature films. Since every new movie seems to have a game bearing its name, from the fantastic Transformers: Autobots (DS) to the "are you serious?" terrible Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (Multi), it should come as no surprise that someone, somewhere thought a Jackass game would be the perfect companion to the films and television show. I know what you're thinking; there is no way a Jackass game could be anything but awful. Guess what? It is actually kind of fun!
Jackass: The Game puts you in control of your favorite Jackass team member (most of the team are playable characters, with only a few omissions). Not only will you be performing some of the seriously idiotic stunts from the show, but you'll also be videotaping the whole thing to create episodes of the series. This is about as complex as the story in Jackass: The Game gets, but could you really come up with a good back story on why you're volunteering to ride a shopping cart off a building? I know I couldn't, and if the Jackass team had stopped to ponder their motivation, the show may never have been made. This game isn't about the narrative; it is about getting hurt, being stupid and apparently hitting button combos to make a guy in a thong dance. Seriously.
So how does a game based on these random acts of stupidity work? Jackass: The Game has two major modes - the stunts and the video editor. The stunts play out like self-contained mini-games, while the act of "creating" a Jackass episode works more like a way to save and edit your craziest stunt replays, which can then be played back and even uploaded to the Internet for others to watch. Neither mode is perfect, but the combination of the two can keep you entertained, at least for a while.
Let's talk about the stunts themselves first. Each stunt has five goals of varying difficulty. Complete three goals for a bronze medal, four for silver or all five for a gold star. Getting the bronze medal will allow you to play that particular game in challenge mode, which is kind of an exhibition mode with tougher goals than the story mode. You'll probably want to go for the gold, so to speak, to unlock even better goodies like videos, characters and behind the scenes footage.
For example, the first stunt in the game has your character bouncing down a hill to a finish line. The goals range from the standard "finish in x amount of time" to "do more than $1,000 worth of damage (medical bills) to your character on the way down." As you ricochet off rocks and fly into walls, the game not only tells you what body parts you've injured, but tallies them up and adds a multiplier for each bit of damage you can do. In the same way that players who were terrible at racing games excelled in Burnout, players who insist on keeping their game avatars in good health will fail at Jackass. You'll need to play most every stunt a few times to get all the goals completed, but in some cases it is possible to complete all five on the first try.
Most of the best Jackass stunts are represented in the game, though fans of the CKY2K videos will notice that Brandon DiCamillo's freestyle rap and prank calls are somehow missing from both the soundtrack and the stunt portions of the game. In my book, this is absolutely unforgivable as DiCamillo is arguably the funniest person in the Jackass crew and his freestyle could very well be the most hilarious thing I've ever seen or heard. Nearly 10 years after I first saw it, I still know every last word and it still makes me laugh out loud. Making a Jackass game without DiCamillo in a starring role is like Dragon Ball Z without fireballs; it just feels wrong.