Manic Miner/Jet Set Willy

Publisher: Software Projects
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Computer & Video Games #43

Manic Miner/Jet Set Willy

Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy have probably made Miner Willy the best known computer games character in Britain. If you have been unfortunate enough to own a computer that doesn't have its own adaptation of the game, or you don't own a computer at all, then you've never played a real computer game.

Both games are now available on the Amstrad computer and are almost exactly the same as the Spectrum original. All the platforms and crumbling ledges are there, as well as the man-eating toilets, mutant telephone boxes and bouncing penguins.

The aim of the game is fairly simple. You must guide Miner Willy through twenty levels of a disused mine which is being run by a workforce of robots. Sounds simple? It isn't.

Manic Miner

On each and every level there are several different flashing keys which have to be collected before the door to the next level opens up. Things are made difficult by monsters patrolling the mineshafts, platforms that crumble under your feet, sending you crashing to the bottom of the mine and poisonous mushrooms which kill Willy on the slightest contact.

It took several months for the first person to crack the Spectrum version of the game and discover the game's secret. I'm sure Amstrad owners will have as much of an entertaining and frustrating time as thousands of Spectrum and Commodore owners did. Even after nearly two years on the market, Manic Miner is still as exciting and novel as the day it was released.

The sequel, Jet Set Willy, also stayed at the top of C&VG's charts throughout the summer and was almost universally praised. I personally thought the game was quite an anti-climax following all the speculation before its release. Software Projects have reproduced the game very accurately though, and I'm sure it will be sailing quite high up the charts again.