Roller skates were only a craze. Now it's those Walkman radios. Addicted to both speed and sound comes a new breed of hero, Jet Boot Jack.
Jack, with his Walkman and rocket-assisted boots, jets around the various platforms of colourful chambers collecting up all the musical notes hanging in the air.
He hitches rides on elevators and moving walkways, while dodging overhanging rocks, plungers and creepy-crawlies. He has a limited amount of power for his boots but replenishes it by bumping into what looks remarkably like quivering blancmange.
The high quality of this game is evident from the start. As it loads, it displays a countdown on screen before launching into an impressive title sequence, complete with musical accompaniment.
Options available include a 1 or 2 player game, 5 different skill levels (plus a practice mode), and the ability to skip any screens already conquered in this session - good thinking, that.
There are ten different screens ranging from the lowest; where there are enough hazards to test you out, to the top; where the screen teems with detailed machinery and monsters.
Jack is a lovingly drawn and animated figure. A fiery exhaust streams from his powered boots as he zooms around.
By moving the joystick with a gentle touch, Jack can do a quick knees-bend, jet to the left or right, and bounce up and down (dislodging any beasties hiding under the floorboards).
Each screen consists of several platforms linked by lifts. The musical notes are suspended in the air - Jack merely has to pass through them.
Monsters go creeping about the place; if Jack bumps into one he loses one of his five lives. If one is hanging from the ceiling, he pops up to the floor above and removes the danger by bouncing up and down above - which gains you bonus points too.
Other hazards include plungers going in and out on the roof, over floors which rush first one way then the other, and fast moving flat transporters. There's a lot to watch out for.
Jet Boot Jack has to be one of the best, most playable and carefully thought-out games for the Atari that I've seen for a while. The fact that it's on cassette rather than disk or cartridge makes it all the more impressive and makes it available to more users. Excellent throughout. English Software has produced a likely chart topper.