The premise of “Jackass the Game” for Playstation 2 is simple: “Jackass” director Jeff Tremaine is in the hospital for a scrotum-related accident. While he’s out of commission you have to help the “Jackass” boys complete their stunts so the show will get another season on MTV.
The game is divided into mini-games, or stunts, that comprise the seven episodes. Within each stunt there are additional goals to complete. The more goals you complete in each stunt, the better the ratings are, the more money you make and the quicker you can move on to the next episode.
As for the stunts, they’re pretty much the same stunts you’ve seen on the show, though altered slightly to make them physically impossible (well, unless you think dying for MTV to get good ratings is OK). A lot of the show’s signature antics are now on the tops of roofs with open ledges or have morphed into simply dragging Johnny Knoxville’s limp body down a cactus-covered precipice.
When you first play, it’s easy to get lost and have no idea what you’re doing; don’t expect to completely ace all the stunts your first time around. For most of the mini-games you have to look at the button guide provided to the right of the screen to even get started. And since most of the stunts have a time limit to them, this is a bit aggravating if you don’t want to hear the same annoying punk song a second time.
Most of the mini-games just need you to steer something, but some take a button-matching approach. For example, to make Chris Pontius do his party-boy dance during a stunt, you need to match the buttons scrolling through a circle at the top of the screen. Sadly, this leaves you unable to watch party boy do his trademark move.
In story mode, none of these stunts are particularly hard to accomplish, and the whole game can be beaten in less than four hours. So if you are left wanting more, challenge mode offers harder goals for each stunt after you unlock them in story mode. Challenge mode also brings in the money aspect of the game, allowing you to buy different costumes and props to use during the stunts.
Unfortunately, there’s only so far you can get in “Jackass the Game” before you lose interest because most of the mini-games tend to resemble each other. In one, you’ve made yourself into a snowball and are sent down a ski slope to create destruction. In another, you’re in a big plastic bubble sent down a San Francisco-looking street to – you guessed it – create destruction.
As for the graphics, I fail to see how this game excited people at E3 in 2006. The models and the skins are bad, and everything looks smeared or pixelated. The main draw of the show – watching the boys ensure their infertility – is gone because the characters hardly look like they even hit one another. On the PSP, these flaws are less noticeable.
It’s also disappointing that the whole “Jackass” crew lent their voices to the game – what won’t these guys do for money? – and you can hardly hear what they’re saying over the blaring punk soundtrack. To top it off, what you do hear is usually an excessive amount of “damnit” from Steve-O or FCC bleeps. In combination with the punk music, you’ll have to turn the sound off to avoid driving yourself and your roommates insane.
In the end, it’s not the type of game you sit down and play on the big screen with your friends. In fact, that would be embarrassing. Yet the game is kind of fun – sometimes, when you’re playing it on the PSP and you’re on the go. But I’m holding out for the Nintendo DS version that promises an open environment where players interact to pull off stunts.