J-Bird is a conversion of the arcade game Q*Bert. The object of the game is to change all tiles in a pyramid to the target color by having J-Bird jump on the tile. Various creatures and objects can get in the way of J-Bird. These include a bouncing snake, cats, falling balls, and frogs. There are four rounds per level, and each level increases in difficulty by having more enemies onscreen and requiring more complicated rules for a tile to reach the target color (For example, on the second level you need to jump on each tile twice.) On the sides of the pyramid are platforms which J-Bird can jump onto to evade the snake. If the snake is close enough to the platform when J-Bird jumps on, the snake will fall off the edge.
In this game you take control of J-Bird, whatever this abbreviation may mean. The goal is to change all tiles on a pyramid to appropriate ones. To do this you must jump onto them while avoiding enemies.
Despite the good looks of our hero, it doesn't have only friends. Dangerous red spheres roam whole pyramid. They will fall off quickly, but touching them surely is not a wise thing to do. Also, infamous bad luck bringing black cats may appear at the bottom of the level. They are more dangerous than spheres because they can jump in all directions like J-Bird. Fortunately they do not deign to follow him too much. But the most irritating creatures are frogs. They behave like the red spheres with several differences. Frogs are faster, edible (just jump into them) and revert any tile they jump on to previous state. In other words some of your work will be destroyed. May be annoying sometimes. As if this wasn't enough, sometimes a big red sphere may be seen. Beware for they contain arch-enemy of J-Bird: feared King-Bo the snake. It treats our bird as a good source of food and it is constantly hungry. It will chase you even off-screen. There is a way to cheat it. Be sure to find it.
The good news is that player may defend himself. Several wings are scattered around the pyramid. Jumping into them allows J-Bird to fly to the top of the level. Sometimes this may save your nose but remember that each pair can be used only once. If you are lucky enough, a blue sphere may appear. Catching it will freeze enemies for some seconds and provide additional points. Accumulating certain score brings you a new life.
Four levels of difficulty are offered. High score table keeps separate lists for each of them. At novice playing may be boring, intermediate should suit best beginners. Advanced provides more fun because you will have to display good reflexes in certain situations and brutal is the wildest mode. By selecting the last one makes you to face a storm! High dexterity recommended.
The game supports only PC speaker sound. Surprisingly it isn't bad. Pixels are visible throughout the game but high playability nullifies this.
J-Bird is to be recommended for coffee break playing. It is fast and not too absorbing so you can quit anytime. Enemies' completely random moving (except the King-Bo) ensures that player has to avoid close confrontation and play hide & seek with his foes. Simply saying J-Bird is a cat and mouse game worth playing, with you being the latter.
Before Windmill Software and CHAMProgramming, Orion Software was one of the first game developers that specialized in creating PC "clones" of well-known arcade games, usually from the extensive catalogs of Atari, Taito, or William. Lack of originality or official license notwithstanding, their games are excellent conversions of famous classics that, surprisingly enough, often look and play better than official PC ports. Aside from great gameplay, Orion games are also notable for being coded with a built-in timer - which means they work at the right speed even on modern computers. Kudos to the designer Greg Kuperberg for having such foresight.. it's not so often you find a 1983 game that doesn't need to be slowed down :-) If you can't get enough of Q*Bert, Pac-Man, or Paratrooper, check out these excellent classics that truly stand the test of time.
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