Everyone knows about this very popular game. Joust is probably one of the all-time greatest two player games (as my friend Jeff can attest to as we always play it when he is over). The simple controls and the sheer uniqueness of the game is what really makes it stand out. The best thing that can be said about Joust is that when you play it, you don't compare it to any other game. It is Joust and being an original is the best compliment!

One of my favorite things about the game is the birds you ride on and their animations. You are either riding an ostrich (in one player mode) or a crane/stork (in two player mode). It is neat to see them fly, but the way they walk is a nice little touch. The legs bend in like an actual bird and they can go from a slow step to a fast run! I applaud the programmers, who obviously have seen a real bird move and not just assume.

Another neat feature is the slow erosion of the play field. First there is the opening of the lava pits, including the lava slowly rising (something I never realized until recently, the little things we overlooked). Then as you progress further in the game, some of the land dissolves and you find the area getting more and more wide open. This can be a blessing and a curse. While the open spaces gives you more room to maneuver, it also does the same for the enemies! On later levels, this can be a royal pain in the neck as they fly around like they just drank down a few liters of Jolt cola.

While there isn't alot of variety of enemy, there is enough to keep things interesting. You have the basic rider, the blue rider who is much faster and more dangerous and the dreaded Pterodactyl. This stinking prehistoric bird will give you fits. As soon as you think you are in the clear, it will zip up and take a bite out of you! While you can kill it, good luck! Only a perfectly aimed lance will take down this bad boy and if you miss, he won't! Last, but not least is the lava troll. While we only see the dreaded hand of this evil beast, his presence is felt, every time you get near the lava. He will grab anyone who flies too close to the lava and has an iron grip. You really have to flap fast to escape.

There may only be a few different characters to fight, but there are also alot of different themed levels. There is the bounty wave where a player gets 3000 points for killing the other player. Then there is the cooperative wave, where you get points for not killing each other. Add in the egg wave and the pterodactyl level and you have enough variety to keep you happy.

All in all, Joust is an all-time classic and a crowd pleaser. It is just one more reason why MAME is a great two player system and a reason to invite a friend over to play. If your friend is not familiar with the game, then they are in for a treat as they will discover one of the most original games ever!

This is just a review of the arcade machine.  If you are looking for the actual arcade machine, you may want to check out ebay.  Click below to see if you can find this game.


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Tom Zjaba 1997 - 2015      

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