All consoles need a mascot, it’s a friendly face to the public due to most platformers are non violent (well at least not bloody). Nintendo got Mario, Sega has Sonic, what X-box’s will be is yet to be seen. Sony has (or should it be had?) Crash Bandicoot but that could very well change now.
Jak and Daxter are two ordinary teenagers who in search for a bit of excitement run off to the creepy Misty Island. Things go very wrong and Daxter falls into a pool of Dark Eco, when he is spitted he has been turned into what looks like a small furry orange fox thingy. His mouth almost seem to have grown as he can’t stop blabbering and no matter how funny the change is he insists to be turned back to normal. To do this the two must travel to the Black Sage Gol Acheron who lives at the other side of the island. Unfortunately the island is filled with evil creatures and a rather nasty lava canyon. While Daxters “strong point” is dishing out at times helpful comments Jak is what seems to be mute but delivers a nice roundhouse kick and other karate chops. To help him there are four other types of Eco; blue can activate ancient Precursor items, which are shattered through out the island. Green restores energy and yellow gives the ability to shoot fireballs.
As much as Jak and Daxter tries to pull away from other platform games it doesn’t change the basics. The most important item is power cells as these allow you to get through certain obstacles. Besides the power cells there are Scout Flies and Precursor orbs. Scout Flies gives one power cell once you’ve found 7 in one level while the orbs are a type of currency and can be used to buy power cells from citizens you meet. The great thing about Jak and Daxter comes in the form of diversity, one minute you’re catching fish to gain a power cell, the next you’re racing over hot lava on a custom made land speeder.
Most of the time the game is a traditional platformer but nothing bad can be said really. Animation is nicely done, levels are interesting and have a real-time world day turns into night and back again. What more is that the game doesn’t have any popup and that loading is so well disguised that you can run from one end of the island to the other without encountering any. The only really problem with the gameplay is that it is very focused on jumping, which can become frustrating for some.
The music is a mix of tribal drums, odd squeaks, it smoothly plays in the background and gives a nice touch to the game, but you will most likely not pay any major attention to it. All characters has voices and credits must go out to Naughty dog as the dialog is well written and executed and never tiresome, except when Daxter fires off one of his remarks when you die (that just made me want to dangle him over a piranha infested lake).
Jak and Daxter is a bright and extremely well done platformer, which I can recommend to everyone. The only downside of the game is that in my opinion is way too short, I completed it the first day I got it in about 8 hours, by the second I had found 99% of everything. So if you think of yourself as a hardcore platformer you may just want to rent it, chances are you will be too engrossed in the story to stop playing before you’ve completed it and then there isn’t much to do.
Great story and characters
Often demands a lot of jumping
Few camera bugs
Way too short