Sunday, June 11, 2017

Jetpac


Jet Man is one lucky guy who gets to work as a space pilot for Acme Interstellar Transport Company who are sending him to fifty remote planets to assemble and playtest their latest creations. However, his luck soon ran out when he discovered that each planet is being bombarded by a variety of hostiles ranging from fiery comets to fluffy aliens. I'm sure everyone already knows that Jetpac was originally released in 1983 for the ZX Spectrum by uber gaming legends, Ultimate Play The Game. It is one one of the most iconic 8Bit games from that era and our conversion was developed by Pete J. Whitby in 1992 for Budgie UK. Heck, he also made all the graphics and sound effects too.

If ever there was a repetitive design, it's Jetpac but that is matched by the brilliant and superbly addictive playability. Controls feel tight, yet seem a tad quicker than on the Speccy, so this took a few games to feel comfortable. Jet Man's movements are exactly as you expect but he can no longer wrap around the screen, which is disappointing. But he compensates one ability for another and can now use shield power-ups, which is surprisingly welcome. The range of nasties is wide and very inventive with differing attack patterns that help to keep gameplay varied and interesting. Many are new, some require several shots to be killed and others are invulnerable. Also, watch out for deadly platforms which can zap Jet Man into an early grave! There is even an ending to view, something which the original game never had. Then again, I fear that I probably will never get to witness this!

Graphics are pretty much the same as in the Speccy classic but now include extra colours. Sprites are amateurishly drawn but move fast and smooth. However, I'm not too keen on the background picture, which I feel isn't necessary. Sound effects are pretty lame and it's shocking to hear the ST out-performed by the Spectrum's inferior bleeper.

Jetpac is Jetpac and it will always be superb fun. Okay, this was never going to beat the original but I feel Pete has successfully captured the authentic feel and even implement some great new ideas. What's not to love about frantically zapping a relentless alien hoard when you're trying to collect fuel pods? An excellent conversion.

LINKS

 - 8BitChip have an excellent hard drive installable game.
 - Stonish has a great Menu CD on floppy disk by Criminals In Disguise #22.
 - Here is my YouTube video recording where I flip flop between the music and sound effects... O_o
 - Play the original ZX Spectrum game on your Atari ST using emulation:
             > Artemis is a great b/w emulator which only works on 8MHz Atari ST/e computers.
             > Speccy is another emulator w/ support for colours and faster Atari computers too.