Jetpac (1983)            

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Details (Sinclair ZX Spectrum) Supported platforms Artwork and Media
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Ultimate Play the Game
Tim Stamper, Chris Stamper
1-2 (alternating)
Audio cassette
UK (£5.50)
Lunar Jetman
Official game poster, Instructions
Re-released by Sinclair Research and Ricochet in the UK (£1.99)

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Your Reviews

Issue 4 (Crash)   3rd Jan 2010 08:39



Situations Vacant
Wanted: Space Test Pilot
Qualifications: Rocket Pilot Licence, elementary technical knowledge and Award of Merit from League of Blasted Aliens
Special Details: Volunteer required to assemble and launch test vehicles.

Dangerous conditions (hordes of homicidal entities alien to all known galaxies), but good rewards for initiative can be acquired through a 10% commission on all minerals secured. (High profits assured on every trip.) Lengthy experience in laser weaponry required, strong nerves essential, and a preference for working alone. Xenophobiacs preferred, a pathological tendency to blast everything in sight helpful. Certificate of Insanity not mandatory but also helpful.

Can you fulfil the above criteria and become the Ultimate test-pilot? This job is not for the faint hearted or for those with lethargic reflexes. The task itself is simple enough; as sole test pilot for the Acme Interstellar Transport Company you have to assemble a space ship which is conveniently distributed in bits on the planet surface while fighting off hordes of maniacal aliens. Once assembled the test-pilot must wait for fuel supplies to descend from the heavens or he can supplement his income by collecting the various gems that also accompany the fuel supplies. The screen display shows the planet surface, the rocket parts awaiting assembly and three ledges at various heights. The screen has a wrap around effect which enables the jetman's laser to leave and re-enter the screen at opposite points. The aliens are of different colours, and their numbers are supplemented by new arrivals to prevent you from feeling lonely.

Your jetman can negotiate 16 screens and assemble four space ships before the game begins to repeat itself, but getting there is a difficult task as the aliens vary from subnormal laser-fodder to vicious intelligent hunters who follow you around the screen. None of the aliens is armed but collision is usually fatal.

It is easy to see why Jetpac turned Ultimate into a household name virtually overnight; even now it stands out amongst the plethora of mediocre arcade clones. The presentation of the game is excellent, it loads reliably under a beautifully designed title-page which shows almost exactly the cassette inlay illustration. The keyboard controls and the game itself are comprehensively covered within the inlay; however, the program, once loaded, gives you a choice between keyboard and joystick controls, or between one and two players.

The graphics are colourful and the test-pilot jetman with a rocket pack on his back is accurately drawn with remarkable attention to detail. The animation of the jetman is superb and his movement in flight, and that of the aliens, is very smooth indeed. My favourite piece of animation is when the fully fuelled rocket blasts off for another planet with the frustrated aliens hopping about angrily in the flames from the rocket's afterburners. The smoothly animated multicoloured laser blasts and the variform aliens are very eye-catching as well.

The only criticism with this cassette (if one is hypercritical) is with the sound, which is adequate without being exceptional, and with no catchy tunes being played.

In appraising this game it is difficult to find any real faults. The game is easily played with either the keyboard or joystick. The high-resolution colour graphics and excellent animation routines make full use of the Spectrum's capabilities. Ultimate have gone a long way towards creating the perfect arcade-quality game, and at only £5.50 my verdict is rush out and buy it before Ultimate realise that it's grossly under priced.

RetroBrothers (Unknown)   21st Sep 2010 03:44
(Anonymous) (Unknown)   18th Nov 2015 06:59

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There are no cheats on file for this title.Jetpac was one of the very few Spectrum games also available in ROM format for use with the Interface 2, allowing "instantaneous" loading of the game when the normal method of cassette loading could take several minutes.It won the "Game of the Year" title at the Golden Joystick Awards in 1983.The game used the common technique of placing planar sprites with image sprites atop another, which often created graphical errors and overlapped colours on both ZX Spectrum and BBC Micro versions of the game.The game was also able to run on the 16K version of the Spectrum.Jetpac also inspired several clones and unofficial remakes, such as Archer MacLean's Atari 800 game DropZone, which was released the following year after Jetpac.The game sold a total of 300,000 units for the ZX Spectrum and generated 1 million in revenue for Ultimate Play The Game, which enabled the Stamper brothers to gain a foothold in the early video gaming market.


This title was first added on 6th October 2009
This title was most recently updated on 26th March 2017

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