Thursday 16 February 2012

Jetpac - Commodore VIC-20 & Sinclair Spectrum - 1983

Lunar Jetman went on to star in a long running comic strip in Spectrum magazine, Crash!

Another one on the list from Ultimate Play The Game and their very first release. 

Jetpac is a single screen shoot ‘em up. It is a game I first had on the VIC-20 and by the time I got the Spectrum I had other games to play so didn't bother with it.

Your task on the first level is to assemble and then fuel a rocket.  There are a couple of pieces of the rocket on the platforms.  You can move over these to pick them up and they automatically drop onto the base of the rocket.  Fuel then drops onto the screen to be picked up and also dropped onto the rocket. When the rocket is fuelled up you can enter it to blast off to the next screen where you only need to pick up the fuel. Every fifth level you have to assemble and fuel a new rocket. Various alien enemies appear from the side of the screen and be blasted with a nice Defender style laser.  Each type of alien has its own movement pattern that differs from level to level.  Bonus objects such as gems and gold fall from the top of the screen and can be picked up for extra points.

I doubt I would have selected Jetpac for my list if it wasn’t for the VIC-20 version. There are plenty of better games on the Spectrum but not so many on the VIC. But which version is best?  With Ultimate developing the game you would think the Spectrum version would be better, but I prefer Jetpac on the older machine. The speed has been turned up a notch on the VIC which along with a smaller play area (due to the lower resolution) makes for some frantic gameplay.  Additionally the sound effects blow the rather weedy Spectrum efforts out of the water. 

The Spectrum version has much better graphics...
...but I prefer the faster pace of the VIC version

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