Computer Gamer

Manic Miner

Publisher: Software Projects
Machine: Amstrad CPC464/664/6128

Published in Computer Gamer #2

Manic Miner

It isn't really surprising that many of the classic arcade games for the ZX Spectrum should be now be appearing on the CPC464. Both use the Z80, so conversion is simply a matter of altering the sound and graphics routines, a task made much easier by the freely available (though expensively priced) details of the Amstrad's workings (other computer manufacturers please note).

The latest game to put in an appearance on the CPC464 is the well-known Manic Miner, one of the all-time famous pieces of software from the boom days when programmers were all going to drive BMWs once they were old enough to get a driver's licence. It has weathered well and is still as compulsive as ever.

Manic Miner was one of the original 'ladder-and-platform' games, although there aren't actually any ladders. You move from level to level by leaping. The controls couldn't be simpler: you jave left, right and jump, either using a choice of keys from the keyboard or with a joystick.

Manic Miner

The game itself is a faithful reproduction of its ZX predecessor, with twenty screens of ever-increasing nastiness through which you manoeuvre Miner Willy in his quest to collect all the flashing keys which unlock the exit to the next screen. Luckily there is a pause button, because you often have to study the like of the land very carefully to decide the best route past all the keys.

Once you've decided how to tackle a screen, hesitation is fatal. The nasties in each level move about in carefully timed paths and negotiating a safe passage may require split second timing. Life is not made easier by the inclusion of one-way conveyor belts (no going back) and crumbling platforms which melt away underneath you if you pause too long. Once they've totally gone, of course, you may not be able to complete the screen at all, another reason for good planning and a steady hand.

So far I've got through six levels with still a long way to go! Highly recommended as if you buy Manic Miner you'll not only be getting an extra-ordinary compulsive game, but also a tiny slice of home computing history.