Jim Power: The Lost Dimension – One Player’s Descent Into 16 Bit Hell
Growing up buying video games was always a crapshoot. They weren’t as universally excellent as they seem to be now. As a kid I can’t tell you how many times i’d be looking at a game for the original nintendo system that didn’t have a box but did have badass front cover. I’d plop down 50 bucks (which was a king’s ransom when you’re that age) go home, blow in the cartridge, put it in and be horribly disappointed. This happened ALOT, back then some of those NES games were completely unplayable and a literal waste of time, energy and money.
Worse than this however, was when an adult bought a game for you because that was just about playing russian roulette. At least most times when you bought one, you might have played it before or maybe you read about it Nintendo Power or a friend told you about it. Unless you let the adult know exactly what you wanted most parents were completely blind. Hence Christmas 1993, when I woke up to find the Super Nintendo game, Jim Power: The Lost Dimension 3D waiting for me.
Step 1: Cool enough cover, I guess. Some dude with serious early 90s hair with a rocket pack strapped on blasting crazy creatures with a gun. I can get down with that.
Step 2: 3D glasses? I’m sure these will (a) work and (b) be completely necessary.
So after spending a day of togetherness with my family and week off of school I was ready to pop that sucker in and explore the hell out of that lost dimension. The game starts off good enough. Despite being 16 bit, it’s little more than a typical 8 bit side scroller. You have a gun and you run through and shoot shit…mainly Roman Centurions for some reason. It’s one of those games that you have to learn the placement of just about every thing to get through the board successfully including a lot of moving platforms. But whatever, I’m cool with that. It does present a level of difficulty by giving you a one hit and your dead life meter, extremely long boards and a timer. I was young though and up for the challenge.
After a few hours I was able to get past the first board. The boss fight shifts styles (ala Contra). All of a sudden you’ve got a jetpack on and your flying from one end of the screen to the other shooting some giant alien eye. Sweeeeet.
The next board is another style shift to the overhead view. This is where shit gets serious. It’s a long, convoluted maze where you need to find the right keys in the right order and you can be teleported to different portions of the multilevel board by accident. It’s an absolute mess. In a weird way it kind of reminds of me Gauntlet for the NES.
I’ve literally never gotten past that that second level. It’s so excruciatingly frustrating. I’ve busted the game out recently and tried again, hoping it was one of those things I could chalk up to being young and dumb. Well guess what? I still can’t do it. As I did a bit of research to prepare for this article I couldn’t find a whole lot out there. However, I did read that it is often considered to be one of the most difficult games ever created (thanks Mom and Dad!). I’ll admit, this made me feel a little better about it.
If you ever see Jim Power for sale at an old school video game store, avoid it. Dear god do you hear me? Stay away! Unless you plan on buying it to destroy it. In that case send me pictures.
All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners.