3. THE CHALLENGES
This being a sandbox game, the waters surrounding Amity Island are filled with brief side challenges. Some of these are direct homages to the Jaws films, like this bit where you eat water-skiing enthusiasts as they try to ramp over you. Or maybe it’s a Happy Days reference. It’s hard to be sure.
Above: In Soviet America, shark jumps you!
Others are just the ridiculous sorts of things you’d imagine a massive, human-eating shark would get up to in real life, like yanking down bungee jumpers for fun or pulling helicopters out of the sky.
Above: This was a great idea all around
Above: Yes. YES. SUCH POWER
For our money, though, the absolute weirdest challenge involves hurling explosive barrels at the beachfront homes of polluting executives and then killing them as they run for safety not to the trees behind them, but toward the beach. You know, the beach where the explosive barrel came from. And where a killer fish is now waiting for them.
Once they’re down there, you’re free to attempt to eat them (which won’t work), or hurl another barrel at them, which will immediately immolate them.
Above: This happens
It seems like a silly, throwaway mission, but it raises some disturbing questions about Jaws’ intelligence. Even if we assume he knows what a house is and what throwing explosives at one will do to it, there’s the question of how he found out that corporate suits responsible for pollution were living there. Did he perform a background check? Did a phone directory float past him at some point? Is he just completely omniscient?
Above: We’re going to go with that last one
Whatever the case, you can see the toasted corporate types – and a few of the other, weirder challenges – in the video below:
4. THE TAILWHIP
As you gain points from beating levels and challenges, you’ll be able to upgrade Jaws’ abilities, which in turn will grant you new attacks to try out on the hapless residents of Amity. Out of Jaws’ entire arsenal, however, no move is as blatantly silly, inexplicable or awesome as the tailwhip maneuver. Unsurprisingly, it involves Jaws slapping a victim into the air with his tail, but what happens next is… well, maybe we should just show you.
We don’t know why they explode, but they do. And it will never, ever get old.
5. IT’S A LOVE STORY
Jaws Unleashed isn’t just the first Jaws game to put players in control of the shark; it’s the first to craft a love story around that shark. It’s hard to get a read on our hero’s emotions through those black button eyes of his, but we’re pretty sure that when he wanders into the bay of Fisherman’s Isle, he immediately falls in love with the giant blue whale carcass floating just beneath the surface there.
Above: Jaws has always had a thing for big girls
At least, it’s about as close to a love interest as Jaws has, seeing as he likes to spend time with it and put his mouth on it. It even has a suggestively titled side mission, “Mine All Mine,” which tasks you with defending it from other, more puny sharks. This is, for the record, the only time Jaws ever defends anything other than himself. Given this rare devotion, is it really so strange to think that love could bloom between a vicious predator and an unfathomably gross health hazard several times his size?
6. JAWS THE TORPEDO LAUNCHER
At one point, you’ll be tasked with bringing down a trio of oil rigs a short distance from shore. It seems like an awfully big task for a creature that’s just basically a giant set of wind-up teeth, but as we’ve learned, Jaws is abnormally resourceful and the people of Amity are abnormally stupid. This time, they’ve left a wrecked submarine just laying
there, with a full complement of loose, live torpedoes ripe for the picking.
Above: This is the exact point at which we completely stopped expecting the game to abide by real-life rules and learned to love the awesome
Above: No, wait. This is that point
Once Jaws has disabled the gun turrets mounted on each rig’s supports (by biting them, naturally), it’s time to go in for the kill. Two torpedoes launched from the mouth of a dopey-looking shark later, and the oil rig is history. Also, whatever oil it was able to extract should probably be contaminating the bay at this point, but, again – we’ve given up on real-world rules ever applying. And we’re much happier for it.
In fact, we actually had bigger reservations with the second half of that level, wherein you’re asked to swim up to an underwater generator and destroy it with no tools other than your face.
Above: Oh, OK. Good thing I know what that is, being an animal and all
Above: Oh. I just have to bash my face into that pipe a few times? OK, that seems reasonable
Above: Good thing I know to do that, too
Above: OH NO DID A SHARK ATTACK US!?