Jackal Arcade Game

Jackal Arcade Game

Those gaming giants Konami released the action fest Jackal into the amusement arcades back in 1986.

This classic game took the top-down vertical scrolling viewpoint as you took the battle hardened 'Jackal' squad into enemy territory to rescue as many of your fellow soldiers as possible.

Whilst never being a massive hit it was still a popular choice with arcade goers and casual gamers alike.

I enjoyed playing this one back in the day and must have thrown plenty of ten pence coins into it!

I became quite a dab-hand at this game (even if I say so myself!) and enjoyed the simplicity of the action and the ever increasing difficulty level.

With it's nicely constructed levels, superb weapon power-ups and fast moving action Konami had once again delivered the game-play goods.

Let's take a look at another fine game from Konami as the Jackal squad race into action...


Jackal Arcade Game Opening Screen

The opening screen to Konami's Jackal
The opening screen to Konami's Jackal

Jackal Arcade Gameplay

In the game you took control of the 'Jackal squad' which was a four-man team composed of Colonel Decker, Lieutenant Bob, Sergeant Quint and Corporal Grey.

The team had been sent to rescue soldiers being held as hostages by the dastardly enemy.

One or two players controlled the teams who parachuted in and jumped into an armed jeep.

The jeep(s) was used to venture through several enemy strongholds to rescue those comrades imprisoned there.

In each of the six levels the goal was to rescue the prisoners from various buildings dotted around the landscape, and then transfer them to helicopters patiently waiting at various heli-pads.

Once the soldiers were secure, it was then time for the usual end of level boss battle who had to be defeated before you could proceed to the next level.

If you managed to fight your way to the last level, there were two bosses to take on and fight.

As with most run and gun games, there was a points system that granted the player extra lives depending on the score attained.

If a collision occurred with an enemy vehicle, or the jeep was hit by an enemy bullet, a life was lost.

To add some variety to the game some buildings contained one flashing prisoner; if this man was rescued the jeep's primary weapon was given an upgrade.

Further weapon powerups could also be attained if enough prisoners were rescued. The powerup was granted during the unloading process to the rescue helicopter.

The Jeep's initial weapons consisted of a machine gun and a grenade launcher.

The grenade launcher was not bad for starters, but once upgraded it became a serious ass-kicker.

Once it was transformed into a rocket launcher things got good. When it was further upgraded to shoot long-range missiles or even 'spread missiles' enemy destruction was dealt out with every click of the fire button.

The day of the Jackal was at hand. Muhahahhaaaaa!

Jackal Arcade Game In Action

Your jeep takes on enemy boats in Konami's Jackal
Your jeep takes on enemy boats in Konami's Jackal

Jackal Arcade Game

Take out the enemy soldiers in Konami's Jackal
Take out the enemy soldiers in Konami's Jackal

Jackal Gameplay Differences Around the World

There were subtle differences to Jackal depending on where in the world you were playing it, with three versions of the original coin-operated game manufactured

The original Japanese version was called 'Tokushu Butai Jackal', the world version (which I played) was titled 'Jackal' and the North American version was called 'Top Gunner'.

In the Japanese version, the machine gun shot bullets in the direction the jeep was facing, whereas in the worldwide and North American versions, the gun was 'fixed' so that it always shot it's ammunition northwards.

The 'fixed gun' actually added a tactical element to the game as it made it a little less easy to mow down the enemy troops.

Jackal Arcade Game In Action

Jackal on the NES

Jackal on the Commodore 64

Jackal Arcade Game Popularity

Jackal was a reasonable hit for Konami and was a popular choice with arcade goers.

The game was very playable and the difficulty level increased gradually as you progressed through each level.

The 'north facing gun' added some strategy to the proceedings; but the real fun was to be had by driving over any enemy troops that were running around the landscape. This game did it years before Grand Theft Auto did!

You had to beware any rocket-launcher toting troops though as they could take you out with one well placed hit.

Conversions of arcade games was commonplace by 1986 and Jackal ended up being released for the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC 464 and the ZX Spectrum,

Consoles such as the Famicon and NES were also treated to Jackal, and a PC version was also released in 1989!

Not all of the conversions were great, and Jackal ZX Spectrum was a disappointment.


Jackal Arcade Game Theme Music

Jackal Arcade Game Music

This game featured some very 'toe tapping' music that integrated with the gameplay nicely.

I used to find myself humming the background music for days after playing the game.

The music was absent from the Spectrum and C64 versions which again was a major let down.

The NES version did manage to incorporate the music and it was the best version I ever played outside of the arcade.

Jackal Acade Game Co-Op Mode

Jackal could be played by two players in co-operative mode.

This was a lot of fun as you and a friend teamed up to take on the bad guys.

One of you could lay down covering fire whilst the other collected hostages from a building.

This game was great fun as a solo experience or as a double act.

Jackal Arcade Game Controls Overlay

Want to know how to play the Jackal arcade game?
Want to know how to play the Jackal arcade game?

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Anyone care to comment on Konami's Jackal? 4 comments

JohnGreasyGamer profile image

JohnGreasyGamer 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

Terrific Review of the game, and it reminds me heavily of an old Xbox Live Arcade game, Assault Heroes. I love run 'n' gun games but my all-time favourite is Contra! Just one question though: has the Colonel Decker in this game got anything to do with the same one in the A-Team? ^^

Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting! ^^


RetroBrothers profile image

RetroBrothers 3 years ago from Sunny Scotland Author

Hi John,

Thanks for the comments. I don't know if Colonel Decker was inspired by the A-Team character, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was.

Funnily enough I've never played Contra, so I'll have to give it a go.

Cheers mate.


lee 21 months ago

I miss the old games, this new technology just don't have the same vibe. I guess because it's got so complex it's just not as fun anymore.


Jacobb9205 profile image

Jacobb9205 15 months ago from Gloucestershire

The game looks fun

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