Jim Power in The Lost Dimension (Switch)

Jim Power is one of those distinctly 90s characters, releasing previously on consoles like the SNES and Amiga, Qubyte Game Studio and PiKo have not only finished up and released the Mega Drive version but released a homebrew version designed with the NES in mind. Now being the legends that they are, they have bundled the Mega Drive and NES versions and released them for the Nintendo Switch, worth a dive? Let’s find out.

As mentioned Jim Power was a 90s title, it is a Euro Platformer in the vein of other Amiga born titles like First Samurai, Turrican and the like and its SNES release features a semi 3D gimmick which was frankly quite nausisting. 

Now being it’s era of origin, narrative doesn’t play a massive part in Jim Power to the point I had to hit up the Steam Page to find out what is going on, here is the blurb from that page. 

“Special Agent Jim Power-The supernatural alien, Vaprak, threatens to defeat our world which is the last planet that stands between him and a dimensional vortex. This vortex leads to a fifth and, up until now, lost dimension. If he succeeds in defeating us, he will destroy our world, opening a gateway for his kind as well as the strange mutating effect that this dimension has on all organic life forms. His forces are far too strong for us to defeat in a frontal attack which is why we must send you to slip past his Omni-eye scanners and make an assassination attempt on the greatest evil that man has ever known. It will take absolutely all of your wits and skill but it is imperative you reach his fortress and send him back to the sulphurous plane from whence he came.”

Take what you want from the story, I found it to be window dressing and totally unnecessary, it’s a 90s action platformer so I was expecting as much, just load the game, press start and blast away. 

Jim Power In The Lost Dimension is so deliciously 90s that it likes to mix it’s gameplay up, not content in just being an action platformer, Jim will also try his hand at JetPack sections and even Shmup sections which if you know this reviewer well you’ll know this brought a tear of happiness to my eye. 

The different sections aren’t exactly game changing in their execution, on foot you’ll be jumping, collecting items, shooting and racing against a timer. The JetPack is used against big bosses and feels like a small condensed Shmup and the actual Shmup sections are full on, balls to the walls high velocity shoot and dodge affairs. 

It’s the variety in which it offers which really won me over in that no section ever outstayed its welcome, it just felt like a good old slice of retro pie which also comes with a few caveats I feel I should mention.

Originally Jim Power was a “one hit and you die” affair, in this release you get the grace of 3 hits which being a Euro Platformer means you’ll get 3 attempts at running past killer raindrops before you die.

While on paper this makes it sound easier, it’s more a case of giving you a little more rope to deal with the insanely unforgiving difficulty of the game, even on Easy this game has a habit of leaning heavily into the cheap and unfair territory with enemies appearing with no reaction time and several sections where you just need to know exactly what’s coming up. 

Secondly you have a timer which is somewhat counter intuitive to a game which not only punishes you for rushing but also where Jim Power hasn’t mastered the art of shooting and running at the same time!.

Again I can’t punish the games too much for these as they are strictly 90s affairs and stuff like this was commonplace for a multitude of reasons that any YouTuber who covers retro will gladly discuss at length. 

If you can look beyond this, what you have is 2 fantastic time capsules into good ol’ days gaming with an unreleased Mega Drive version of a game and a completely new NES version of the same game just designed with the NES limitations in mind. 

While most of this review has been with the Mega Drive version in mind don’t let that fool you into thinking the NES version isn’t worth looking at, quite the opposite in fact as that version not only manages to fit in most of what the Mega Drive version does but also provides at times the better experience. 

It still has the old school difficulty of the NES days but manages to tackle them in a fairer manner, being that it was made decades after the original the developer has had time to make a tough experience without the over reliance of cheap and unfair deaths, in fact the only thing really missing are the stages where you pilot Jim’s ship, instead they are JetPack stages but with a more traditional Shmup gameplay experience instead of just boss fights. 

The collection opens with a beautiful Saturday Morning cartoon style opening which is a pleasure to watch and then boots you into a menu where you can choose between the 16-bit or the 8-Bit versions, both proudly boasting they were released in 2021 to show they aren’t the “classic” version of Jim Power.

You have a few filter options aswell as the ability to adjust the screen aspect and you can remap the controls when booted into the games, sadly there are no Gallery or bonus extras which I always love to see on these kinds of titles. 

Finally in terms of port additions you have Save and Load features meaning you don’t have to constantly restart the game from the beginning and pick it up where you left off, something that was painfully missing from the original releases. 

Jim Power In The Lost Dimension is going to appeal to retro gaming enthusiasts, it’s a tough and curious experience with some weird quirks but buckets of charm. It’ll kick you around and you’ll ask for more as you fall in love with the charming visuals on both versions and you’ll find yourself saying “just one more go” more times than you’ll care to admit, a quality re-release of a unique and criminally underrated title. 

4

Summary

A quality re-release elevated by a surprise NES version.

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Straight from the streets of SouthTown, all Dunks Powah'd and ready to Bust A Wolf. Catch me on Twitch/YouTube.