Video Game Thoughts: Jet Force Gemini

Jet Force Gemini was a 1999 third-person shooter by Rare Ltd for the Nintendo 64. This game caught me by surprise. I hadn’t heard anything about it until one day I got a videotape in the mail from Nintendo Power, Nintendo’s official magazine. This was really rare. They had never done this before. The tape turned out to be a sneak peak of a number of upcoming games. The one that caught my attention was Jet Force Gemini. The next time we were at the mall, I made sure to preorder the game. I also got the strategy guide with it.

I remember Jet Force Gemini came out the same day my friends and I had planned to do a sleepover. I was excited to show them the new game. I demonstrated it for about an hour, but they weren’t that interested. The rest of the night we played PlayStation games. My friends’ reception of the game made me feel like maybe I had made a bad purchase. However, after getting a lot of time to play it at home, I saw it really was a good game. It may not have been my friends’ kind of game, but I really liked it.

The story was about two twins, Juno and Vela, and their war dog, Lupus, who were members of the Jet Force fleet, Earth’s space armada. An alien race of sentient insects was terrorizing the galaxy. They had already enslaved the Tribals, a peaceful sentient race. Their next target was Earth. June, Vela, and Lupus had to work together to stop the Drone army, rescue the Tribals, and save Earth.

I absolutely loved the scope of Jet Force Gemini. There were several planets to explore. At first, the story mandated the player use a certain character on each planet, but eventually, all three characters could be used. There were areas and secrets that could only be discovered with certain characters. I had a ton of fun exploring in this game. All told, the game was probably fifty hours or more to beat. I definitely got my money’s worth.

I also really liked the graphics and sound effects in Jet Force Gemini. The insect enemies were all animated well with nice textures. I loved blasting the bugs, legs would fall off and green insect blood would splatter on the walls. It was more cartoony than realistic, almost comical sometimes, but I always enjoyed it. The music wasn’t the best I’ve heard but there were a few memorable tracks. The sound effects of the enemies were great, but even better were the gun sound effects. They were all interesting and “science fictiony”.

The only real downside to the game was that there was no replay value. It took me a long time to complete everything in the game, but once I did, I had no reason to come back to it. Playing again, I would just go back through the same story and experience the same situations again. That wasn’t a big deal though with how long the game was. This game was pretty original. It actually inspired Rare’s next game, Donkey Kong 64. I only rented that game, but many elements in that game were the same, such as exclusive areas in each level unlocked with only specific characters.

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