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Jaws Unleashed was a 2006 video game licensed from the 1975 motion picture, Jaws. It was developed by Appaloosa Interactive (developer of the popular Ecco the Dolphin series) and released by Majesco. Like the Grand Theft Auto series, the game is open-ended; the player can roam free throughout the water, feeding on other animals & humans and destroying everything in his path. Jaws Unleashed for Xbox is not currently compatible with the Xbox 360.
Amity Island is growing, making corporate connections with prestigious companies like Environplus to improve the Island's economy. Unfortunately the increased population around the Island and recent industrial activity has also attracted one of Earth's most fearsome creatures: a great white shark, but with megalodon-like proportions. When the Environplus CEO's son falls prey to the shark's deadly attacks, the CEO hires renowned shark hunter Cruz Raddock to track and kill it. Meanwhile, Marine Biologist Michael Brody tries to capture the shark for research.
In Jaws: Unleashed, the player assumes the role as the fifty-plus-foot-long shark Jaws. The shark first enters the island from the southern end and the player finds itself in a cove. The cove has tutorials to allow the player to become familiar with the controls, such as the ones for moving the shark and attacking. The shark has a menu for upgrades as well. These can be accessed from either the main menu or the pause menu. Upgrade points are earned by causing destruction around Amity Island (in levels and in free-rome mode), completing levels, and/or collecting bonus items, the most frequently found of which being treasure chests. There are numerous upgrade criteria to choose from. Players can choose to upgrade the shark's power, speed, hunger, health, or accuracy. During gameplay, there is a HUD in the lower-right corner of the screen. This HUD has four meters and a sonar that informs players of the positions of important objects, prey, and enemies. The two parallel meters above the sonar are for Jaws' health (right side, red-colored), and hunger (left side, green-colored). As Jaws becomes hungry, its health will diminish, forcing the player to "eat" constantly. The health bar will also diminish as Jaws takes damage. The last two meters are used to charge the shark's tail-whip and head-butt attacks. The more each meter fills, the stronger the attack is. The meters are on the left quadrant of the sonar, running along the arc with the head-butt meter on the outside and the tail-whip meter on the inside. The head-butt meter is orange when charging, flashing when fully charged, and is the same with the tail-whip meter, but it is purple instead of orange. Jaws has unique attacks in its arsenal. The shark can ram objects with its snout, whip others with its caudal tail, bite (of course), and when the player earns enough points to upgrade Jaws' abilities, new attacks become unlocked, such as the "corkscrew" and the "body bomb." To perform a corkscrew attack, charge up the head-butt meter and tail-whip meter; head-butt first, then release the tail-whip button and the shark will spin around, causing damage to anything caught in its wake. To perform a body-bomd, simply charge the head-butt meter, point the shark upward, release the head-butt, and quickly dive down; the shark will then drive itself out of the water, and then dive downward, sometimes making boats explode if timed and positioned correctly.
Jaws Unleashed received a mixed to poor critical reaction. Most complaints against the game center around the game's glitches and freezing up and its camera problems. One of the most positive reviews came from IGN, which rewarded the game with a score of 7.4 out of 10 while calling it "Grand Shark Auto". Some other reviews however were far more harsh such as GameSpot who gave the game a rating of a 3.8 out of 10, while Official Playstation Magazine gave it a 1.5 out of 5. Game Rankings's aggregate scores for Jaws Unleashed were 54% for the PS2 version and 53% for the Xbox version. Game Informer magazine gave the game a sub-par 4.75, saying, "This game reaches a new level of video game absurdity, going well out of its way to make a complete mockery of the license it's based on." As the game was released on PC, players experienced a better overall performance, handling, and fewer problems during game play were reported, thus indicating the later released PC version to be better than the console versions, with an average score of 60%. The same has been thought to be true in the PAL (Europe) version as indicated by higher reviews scores (such as a 7/10 from OPN UK). Despite this, the game was a commercial success, selling over 250,000 copies on Xbox alone, therefore earning it GameSpot's "Worst Game Everyone Played of 2006" award.
- Official Jaws Unleashed website
- Official Majesco Entertainment website
- Official Appaloosa Interactive website
- Jaws Unleashed and Martha's Vineyard where Jaws was filmed
- NTSC-uk's Jaws Unleashed Review
- Jaws Unleashed at MobyGames