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For the 1993 video game, see Jetpack (video game). For other meanings, see Jetpack (disambiguation).
Jetpac Coverart.png
ZX Spectrum cover art
Developer(s) Tim and Chris Stamper
Publisher(s) Ultimate Play the Game
Platform(s) ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro, Commodore VIC-20
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Shooter
Mode(s) Single-player

Jetpac is a 1983 shooter video game developed and published by Ultimate Play The Game and released for the ZX Spectrum and VIC-20. It was later released for BBC Micro in 1984. The game is the first instalment in the Jetman series, and is the first game to be released by Ultimate Play the Game, later known as Rare. The game follows Jetman as he must rebuild his rocket in order to escape a planet, whilst simultaneously defending himself from aliens. Jetpac has since been included in other Rare games such as unlockable in Donkey Kong 64 and part of a compilation in Rare Replay. The game later spawned two sequels and a 2007 remake, Jetpac Refuelled, which was released for the Xbox Live Arcade service.

The game was written by Chris Stamper and graphics were designed by Tim Stamper. 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.[4] The game was met with critical acclaim upon release, with reviewers praising the game's presentation and playability. It later won the "Game of the Year" title at the Golden Joystick Awards in 1983.


Three rocket sections need to be assembled before Jetman can leave this planet.

The game is presented in a horizontal wrap around and consists of three platforms on which Jetman can manoeuvre onto. Jetman has to first assemble his rocket (which spawns in instalments scattered around the map), and then fill it with fuel before taking off to the next planet, where the procedure is broadly repeated.[4] In addition, the player-character has to defend themselves from the planet's aliens, and for bonus points collect valuable resources which occasionally falls from the atmosphere.[5]

After the first level, the rocket stays assembled and just requires refuelling. However, every five levels, the rocket resets and the replacement has to be built before it can be re-fuelled for take off.[4] Each new model has a new design with a higher number written on it, although the gameplay remains unchanged.[5] The enemies change forms each level (cycling back to the first after eight levels) and each alien has a different pattern of movement which means they can be dealt with in a different manner.[6]


Review scores
Publication Score
CVG ZX: 9/10[6]
BBC: 9/10[3]
Crash Highly recommended[5]
Eurogamer 9/10[7]
Home Computing Weekly 4/5 stars[8]
Publication Award
Golden Joystick Awards "Game of the Year" (1983)[9]

The game was critically acclaimed upon release. Crash praised the graphics and presentation, citing that they were of "the highest standard" and added that it was "difficult to find any real faults" with the game.[5] CVG similarly praised the graphics, stating that the presentation was "superb" and the gameplay was considered addictive.[6] In a retrospective review, Chris Wilkins of Eurogamer noted that the colourful graphics and sound effects were advanced for the time, and nonetheless presented a "faultless" experience through its simple gameplay.[7]

ZX Computing praised the game's playability and replay-value, stating that Jetpac was "a very well put together piece of software".[10] The game was number one in the first Spectrum sales chart published by C+VG.[11] The ZX Spectrum version was voted number 73 in the Your Sinclair Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time in 1993[12] and was voted the 14th best game of all time by the readers of Retro Gamer for an article that was scheduled to be in a special Your Sinclair tribute issue.[13] The game won the title "Game of the Year" at the 1983 Golden Joystick Awards.[9]


Jetpac‍ '​s popularity further spawned two sequels, Lunar Jetman (1983) and Solar Jetman: Hunt for the Golden Warpship (1990). The latter, however, was not released for the ZX Spectrum due to disappointing sales of the original NES version, although a version for the Commodore 64 was finished but never released.[14]

Since its release, Jetpac has been included in other games developed by Rare. The game is playable in Donkey Kong 64, where it could be unlocked to play in Cranky Kong's laboratory after obtaining 15 Banana Medals. Beating Cranky Kong's high score of Jetpac rewards the player with a Rareware Coin, in which collection all of them is necessary to beat the game.[15] An enhanced remake of Jetpac, entitled Jetpac Refuelled, was released on the Xbox Live Arcade on 28 March 2007.[16] The game was retained in the April 2015 Virtual Console re-release of Donkey Kong 64 on the Wii U, despite it being technically owned by Microsoft. Microsoft's E3 2015 press conference unveiled the compilation title Rare Replay, which has a selection of thirty games from Rare's lifetime game library, including Jetpac and its sequels.


  1. ^ "PSST is this the Ultimate?", Personal Computer Games (1), June 1983: 5 
  2. ^ "Coming Soon...". Personal Computer Games (2): 7. November 1983. 
  3. ^ a b "Jetpac review, BBC Micro version". Computer and Video Games (38): 36. December 1984. 
  4. ^ a b c "Interface Games are Fast but not Furious", Sinclair User (EMAP) (24), March 1984: 54–55 
  5. ^ a b c d "Jetpac review - Crash Magazine". Crash Magazine (4): 65. April 1984. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c "Jetpac - Review", Computer and Video Games (Future Publishing) (21), January 1983: 136 
  7. ^ a b Wilkins, Chris (25 October 2007). "Jetpac review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  8. ^ "Reaction games across the Spectrum - Jet Pac", Home Computing Weekly (16), June 1983: 15 
  9. ^ a b "C&VG's Golden Joystick Awards 1983". Computer and Video Games (Future Publishing) (29): 15. June 1985. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "The soft touch - Jet Pac", ZX Computing (8), August 1983: 106-107 
  11. ^ "Chart Toppers", C+VG (Future Publishing) (23), September 1983: 37 
  12. ^ "Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time", Your Sinclair (Future plc) (93), September 1993: 11 
  13. ^ "The 50 Best Speccy Games Ever!". November 2004. 
  14. ^ "Solar Jetman - 1991 storm". Games That Weren't. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  15. ^ "Donkey Kong 64". GameSpot. CNET. Retrieved 30 May 2006. 
  16. ^ "Jetpac Refuelled". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 22 February 2008. Retrieved 25 February 2008. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
UK number-one Spectrum game
September–December 1983
Succeeded by
Lunar Jetman