A game for the 8-bit NES published by Konami, notable for the chance that it gave players to drive a jeep around and press enemy soldiers into scrunched up little worms. Most Nintendo games of the time followed a rule that the hero, though brave, strong, fast and athletic was instantly slain by contact with his meanest foes. This seemed to most adolescent boys (or at least to this adolescent boy) unfair and frustrating at the time. Jackal reversed this rule, and so satisfied a certain natural atavistic impulse in its target demographic, by peppering its screens with miniature bazooka wielding soldiers who would shrivel and die when run over by the player's jeep. This was both satisfying and prudent, as even in video games it is a bad idea to let men with portable rockets roam unmolested.

One shouldn't get the impression that Jackal was one large orgy of big on small butchery (for that see Rampage). There were enemy tanks, and other jeeps, and airplanes that threw explosive juggling clubs. Players also had the opportunity to rescue their own miniature warriors by blowing up enemy huts and allowing POWs to hitch rides. It was quite extraordinary to see how many friendly soldiers could pile into a five seater jeep, especially considering that it didn't have a luggage compartment or roof rack.

Stocking up on POWs was fun because whenever the player was blown up the accumulated hitchhikers would scramble out and wander around forlornly looking for a ride. After a while if not picked up they disappeared, presumably eaten by bears or beaten up by bazooka wielding scrunched up worms who hadn't enjoy being flattened.

It was a fun game back in the 80's / 90's and one that through the magic of piracy can now be enjoyed for free. It's amazing how much I spent on games that can now be downloaded for nothing off of the internet and which take up less than a 128k to boot.

Note: passport points out that the NES version was a port of the arcade game known as Top Gunner in the US and Jackal in Japan and Europe.