Personal Computer News

Manic Miner

Author: Simon Williams
Publisher: Amsoft
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Personal Computer News #096


The game which really started the plethora of platform games Manic Miner is available for the Spectrum, C64, BBC, MSX, Dragon 32 and now the Amstrad.

It all starts with Miner Willy at the bottom of a very deep mine (some 20 screens deep). How he got there is neither explained nor relevant, but with your aid he will do his best to escape by collecting the flashing treasures, and entering a portal which will take him to the next level.

Naturally there are a number of different obstacles, both stationery and mobile, to negotiate. Contact with these is fatal, and Willy only has three lives. Each screen is given a title, and these, together with a number of the characters, from a series of 'in' jokes among members of the arcade programming fraternity. These are beginning to fade with time, but the graphics are still witty and everything moves very smoothly.

The game remains none too easy either, and I've still to get past the fifth screen consistently. The sound effects are average, but at least you can turn the incessant 'Hall of the Mountain King' off. The demonstration mode offers tantalising glimpses of all 20 screens, but these are too short to allow you to develop a useful strategy.

I'm surprised the programmers who converted Manic Miner didn't do more with the Amstrad's graphic screens. The game runs in Mode 1, so only four colours are available, but surely more detail could have been put into each character. Perhaps it's sacrilegious to want changes to the original masterpiece, but it seems a pity not to make the most of the graphics potential of the host machine.

Simon Williams

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