Rest easy, Michael Caine. "Jaws: the Revenge" is no longer the worst spin-off of Steven Spielberg's 1975 genre-defining thriller. That dishonor now belongs to "Jaws Unleashed," an almost unplayable adaptation that will have gamers screaming in terror like the residents of Amity Island.

Rest easy, Michael Caine. “Jaws: the Revenge” is no longer the worst spin-off of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 genre-defining thriller. That dishonor now belongs to “Jaws Unleashed,” an almost unplayable adaptation that will have gamers screaming in terror like the residents of Amity Island.

To be sure, publisher Majesco made a smart choice by making the great white himself the main character, rather than having players hunt him down. It’s bloody good fun to chomp down on an unsuspecting swimmer or rip an orca whale in two.

But good luck getting it done. Despite a year-long delay, “Jaws Unleashed” feels like it was either made on the cheap or released before it was finished. From unresponsive controls to unclear goals and a health meter that often runs out for no apparent reason, “Jaws Unleashed” is more often an exercise in frustration than fun.

While the shark himself looks OK, the people he stalks are feature-less blobs that don’t even move their mouths when talking. Muffled underwater sounds are well designed, but the endlessly repetitive riffs on John Williams’ classic score will quickly drive players to the mute button or the Advil bottle.

Beyond gameplay issues, the storyline is simply absurd. If you can imagine a great white shark biting down on a scientist and holding him in front of a key card scanner in order to open a door, or tossing explosive barrels with its mouth in order to destroy a polluting oil refinery, you apparently have something in common with the designers of “Jaws Unleashed.”

Jaws Unleashed

Production

A Majesco Entertainment presentation of a game developed by Apaloosa Interactive for PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox. Rated M. Reviewed on Xbox.
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