Lunar Jetman

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Lunar Jetman
Lunar jetman title.gif
Lunar Jetman loading screen
Developer(s) Tim and Chris Stamper
Publisher(s) Ultimate Play The Game
Platform(s) ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro
Release date(s) Late 1983 (Spectrum)[1]
Genre(s) Arcade
Mode(s) Single player
Distribution Cassette

Lunar Jetman is a ZX Spectrum video game developed and released by Ultimate Play The Game in 1983. The game is the second in the Jetman series, following on from his adventures in Jetpac, and one of the few games released to support the Currah Microspeech. Lunar Jetman was Ultimate's first game to require 48K of RAM - all previous games had run on unexpanded 16K models. In the game, Jetman has to defend the Earth (and himself) from a hostile alien base. The game was written by Chris Stamper with graphics by Tim Stamper. The game was followed by a third instalment, Solar Jetman: Hunt for the Golden Warpship, released for the NES in 1990.

Gameplay[edit]

Again taking on the role of Jetman, players find themselves on the surface of a small purple moon. Similarly to Jetpac, the player can move around slowly on foot, or use a jetpac to leave the ground and navigate the moon faster. Unlike Jetpac, this time Jetman's jetpac has limited fuel, and must be topped up regularly. In addition to the jetpac, the player has a moon rover for ground travel, inside of which they are (mostly) invulnerable. However, the moon rover can only negotiate perfectly smooth ground, and the player may need to use bridging kits obtained from the rover to fill in craters on the moon's surface. The rover doubles up as a refuelling point for Jetman's jetpac.

Aside from the rover and its bridging kits, Jetman has access to three other pieces of equipment, all of which can be carried on the back of the rover. The most important of these is a bomb. This is used to destroy alien bases when they are encountered, and must be dropped onto them while Jetman is flying. Another piece of equipment is a cannon that may be mounted onto the rover (facing either direction). As the rover is otherwise unequipped with weaponry, this can be a useful way to rack up points blasting aliens while searching for the alien base. The final piece of equipment is a teleporter (or, rather, a pair of teleporters). Entering this instantaneously transports the player (and bomb) to the teleporter's twin, allowing rapid transport around the moon.

Gameplay itself requires Jetman to locate and destroy (with the bomb) a series of alien bases on the surface of the moon. Each new base appears with the destruction of the previous one. To accomplish this task, either by flying the bomb directly, or transporting it on the back of the rover, the player must take the bomb to the alien base and then drop it onto the base. Although, as noted above, Jetman is (almost) invulnerable inside his rover, outside it he is at the mercy of large numbers of flying aliens, although his jetpac-mounted lasers help against these.

Each base needs to be destroyed within a strict time limit. If this limit expires before the base is destroyed by Jetman, two missiles are launched from the base - one for the Earth, the other for Jetman's rover (hence its almost invulnerability). Fortunately, even if the base is not destroyed on time, Jetman can still save the day by intercepting and destroying the missile in flight, although the number of laser hits required increases with each level. When either the base or missile is destroyed, a new base is generated and play starts over once again. After several bases have been destroyed in succession, new (and increasingly hazardous) varieties of flying aliens assault the player.

Reception[edit]

The game was highly rated at time of launch - Crash magazine rated it 95% overall, including a 100% for "Value For Money".[2] When Crash revisited the game in their "Crashback" section a year later, the game was still praised, with one reviewer stating he would not change any of the original scores.[3] Home Computing Weekly also gave a positive review, stating it was "another winner from Ultimate".[4] ZX Computing did not give games scores in reviews, but were enthusiastic, saying "Extraordinary attention has been paid to detail" and "Full marks to ULTIMATE for a superb piece of programming".[5]

The game replaced its predecessor at the top of the UK Spectrum sales chart.[6] The game was also voted number 31 in the Your Sinclair Official Top 100 Games of All Time.[7]

In other media[edit]

  • Rumours of the Hyperglide Moon Rover having a trailer (as in the cover art) were prompted by screenshots being published in Crash.[8] Later disassembly of the code proved the rumours false.[9]
  • The Jetman series spawned a cartoon series by John Richardson published in CRASH magazine.[10]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jetpac
UK number-one Spectrum game
January 1984
Succeeded by
Atic Atac