Lunar Jetman

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Lunar Jetman by Ultimate takes 4.5 minutes to load, which is longer than most other games for the 48K Spectrum.

Starting with overtones of the “Six Million Dollar Man” it transpires that Jetman (yes, the same little person who starred in Jetpac) has crash landed on “a stranged undiscovered world” where he discovers the inhabitants are about to attack his beloved Earth, and destroy us, poor unsuspecting souls. Bravely, our little hero sets about destroying all of the enemy missile installations he can find. All he has to aid him in this mammoth task is his Hyperglide Moon Rover (Sinclair’s electric car?), an unlimited supply of bombs and bridging platforms, and of course, his faithful old Quad Photon Laser Phaser. This may seem a fairly straight-forward exercise, but be warned, it’s not!

The first problem is that Jetman can’t find the operating manuals for anything, so he doesn’t know how to use bombs, teleporters, detachable gun or the bridging platforms and indeed doesn’t even know where to get the platforms! After playing the game for a while, things will gradually become clearer, but you will probably have lost countless men and suffered severe frustration by this time! The teleporters are cylindrical objects which sit on the surface of the planet, and these allow Jetman to transport himself (and indeed anything which he happens to be carrying) to another point on the planet. This part brings back fond memories of the classic “Star Trek” series (beam me up Scottie!).

The other problem is the inevitable aliens, but more of these later. Once the game has loaded, a menu appears allowing the choice of a one or two player game and the method of control, i.e. keyboard, cursor joystick or Kempston Joystick. Having made your selection, the screen changes to show the landscape at the bottom with the lunar rover sitting close to a bomb (complete with fuse!). At the top of the screen, one and two player scores are displayed, along with lives left, the number of bases destroyed, direction indicators (which show the direction of the missile installation and lunar rover), a guage showing the remaining fuel in your Hydrovac Jetpac, one for the time remaining until the missiles are launched and finally, in the middle, the hi-scroe, which stands at an unbelievable 105140! Don’t despair though, it can be beaten.

Jetman appears close to the lunar rover a few seconds after the main screen appears, su unless you have your fingers at the ready, he’ll probably be flattened by something before he’s had a chance to move! At the start of the game there are three types of alien flying about, all with their own pattern of behaviour, As the number of destroyed bases increases, so does the number of alien species, and after blowing four bases to pieces, things get decidedly hair-raising to say the least! Up until now, it’s been easy! Having obliterated ten bases you will find yourself dealing with no less than ten different types of alien, all of which will cause the instant demise of your Jetman should he touch them. Of these ten types, three actually follow you, and another shoots it’s own missliles!

In the event of not reaching a base in time, you are given a warning informing you that the missiles have been launched. The only way to prevent your lunar rover from being blown up is to fly towards the base until you encounter the missile, and then shoot it (the number of hits required are given in the warning) with your phaser, dodging the aliens in the process!

The game ends when your lunar rover is blown up by a missile, or you lose all of your lives. Incidentally, an extra life is awarded after every four bases.

A hall of fame exists in the program and lists the eight highest scores along with the initials of the players who obtained them. The scores range from 10500 to 105140, and when you score enough points to qualify entry to the chart, your problems aren’t over! You’ll have to figure out how to place your initials in the chart, as there aren’t any instructions to help you!

The choice of control keys has been sensibly made, so that even left-handed people shouldn’t have any trouble in using the keyboard. Indeed, it seems to be easier to play the game using the keyboard, than it does uning a Kempston joystick! In all, there are seven keys to master, controlling movement left, right and up, firing, pickup up and dropping objects, getting into and out of the lunar rover and teleporter, and finally, one for hovering. The game can be paused by pressing the “0” (letter) key, and restarted by pressing this key again.

The graphics are nothing short of superlative, and the smoothness of movement is such that you could be forgiven for thinking that you are watching a cartoon! Sound is excellent, as is the use of color.

All in all this is a very well written and presented game which is also very addictive. Even the character set has been redefined! Extraordinary attention has been paid to detail (the aerial on Jetman’s backpack wobbles when he walks!) making this one of the best computer games of all time. Anyone who buys games for their Spectrum should have Lunar Jetman in their collection.

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