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Platform / 2D
Jet Set Willy
Game instructions, Game map
Initial release 1st August 1983. Re-released by Bug-Byte, EDOS, and Mastertronic in the UK
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Added: 3 Jan 2010
Inventive caverns deserve more success
MUTANT telephones, killer penguins and caverns of ice are all part of Manic Miner for the 48K Spectrum. The game includes some impressive graphics routines which you will encounter when you take your player-character, Willy the miner, through a series of caverns inhabited by all kinds of strange creatures.
To exit from a cavern you have to pick up a series of keys hung from various parts of the ceiling or from bushes which are deadly if you touch them. To reach those keys you must jump on to ledges which are situated at various heights and you must jump in the correct order or you will fall back to earth again.
If you are not careful you could bump into a patrol robot, shaped in various guises, which will take away one of your lives.
The other killer is a fall from one of the ledges which disappears as you walk along it. If the ledge is high a life could be lost.
The game is very inventive and a great deal of thought must have gone into creating the many screens full of colourful characters. It is one of the few games on the market which deserves to succeed automatically because of the effort put into it. It has the depth of concept and quality of sound and vision to make it an instant winner.
If you cannot pass all the caverns and discover the secret of the game in the last sector the author has included an excellent taster routine which runs automatically at the start of the program. It shows the various caverns as they can be seen in the game.
Manic Miner should keep anyone, child or adult, enthralled through the long winter evenings. It costs £5.95 and can be obtained from computer branches of W H Smith.
Issue 1 (Jan 1984)
Added: 26 Mar 2017
Pathos, however, is unlikely to raise its tragic head in the case of Manic Miner from Bug-Byte; it's more a case of frustration and panic as you guide Willy the miner through the underground caverns to the surface, and riches. Starting off in the central cavern, he has to be helped past numerous obstacles on his way to the next. As ever, though, it's a case of one step forward, any number back, as you master the first hazard only to fail dismally at understanding the complexity of the second.
Added: 14 Mar 2011
Manic Miner must be one of the only rerelease games that has never been reviewed in CRASH. This occurred not because the lads couldn't be bothered, but because this classic platforms- and-ladders game appeared before your fave mag hit the streets. Miner Willy is the star and it is his job to travel the underground caverns of Surbiton(!!) and collect the treasure which lies twenty screens to go through, and all the treasure has to be collected on a screen before you progress to the next. Opposing your progress are such bizarre opponents as penguins, performing seals, dancing rabbits and kangaroos. And there's a time limit too.
Although Manic Miner is one of the oldest games to be rereleased, it's also one of the best. The graphics are sharp and attractive, the in-game tune attractive and playability as addictive as it's frustrating. This is an essential purchase.
Then: N/A Now: 92%
Added: 14 Dec 2008
6031769 is a sequence of numbers etched on to the inner thought waves of every Spectrum users crania, involuntarily regurgitated at the mere mention of Mathew Smith's stunning Miner 2049'er inspired game Manic Miner. Rumoured to be his driving licence number, this code opens up numerous cheats in Bug Byte's version of the game; some would say the only way to get through the twenty levels of psychedelic platform mayhem.
Manic Miner sees the player take Miner Willy on a perilous journey through the bizarre and incredulous mind of Smith where killer penguins, evil snapping toilets and mutant telephones from hell are the norm. A rhythmic looping rendition of In the Hall of the Mountain King inadvertently helps the player in making split timed jumps across impossible looking ravines to collect keys that open up the portal to the next level.
As the levels become progressively difficult to navigate, beads of sweat form on the forehead of the player whose face becomes contorted with painful concentration and urgency. One more key and the next level beckons. A miss-timed jump sees Willy fall short of the last ledge and plummet towards his death, losing his last game playing life. A flash of the screen, a screech of static thrust out of the Spectrum's mono-speaker (that if amplified induces a missed heart beat) and Willy is dead once again.
Curses and expletives abound, but never does the player blame the game for being unfair as the responsibility of Willy's death lies firmly with them. After the Pythonesque foot of doom squishes poor Willy, rubbing further salt into the wounds of failure, Blue Danube is blurted out in one channel Spectrum greatness as the player reflects where it all went wrong. Then it's back to level 1 for another go.
Manic Miner is the grandfather of pure, platform perfection on the Spectrum that has been mimicked, blatantly copied but never bettered. A land mark title that made Mathew Smith an overnight star.
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