The people at Tynesoft have sure been busy flashing the old chequebook around. Just recently they snapped up the rights to Who Dares Wins, and now they're forking out again for the first hero of the platform game, none other than Jet Set Willy himself.
It occurs to me that you may be an alien from another planet, here to observe our strange Earth customs, in which case you won't know much about Jet Set Willy and the incredibly influential role he has played in the evolution of computer games.
Come to think of it, you wouldn't know a lot of other things either. Like why no bus comes for an hour and then three turn up, or why they put letters on the lids of Smarties, but I'm afraid I can't help you there.
To return to the subject in hand, long ago, in the days when a Spectrum was the only home computer you could buy, a bright young chappie by the name of Matthew Smith wrote a game called Manic Miner. This game was, for its time, the ultimate in home computer entertainment. The game was so popular that its publishers, Software Projects, wasted no time in converting it to every popular games machine that was invented. The author is now stupendously rich and lives in a huge mansion in Neasden where naked Filipino women provide for his every need.
The reason for the game's success is quite simple - it's a very good game with a cute central character - Miner Willy. In emulation of his creator's success, Miner Willy also became rich and moved to a mansion and Jet Set Willy was born.
To celebrate his newfound wealth Willy threw a party for his friends, but things got a bit out of hand and they left the place in a terrible mess. In the original game, Willy has to collect the empty glasses from every room in the house before his housekeeper will let him go to bed and sleep it off.
Jet Set Willy II is subtitled The Final Frontier, so presumably there won't be a sequel. The storyline is somewhat more contrived than that of its predecessors. Here goes: Whilst recovering in hospital from a fall, Willy gets the buildings in to repair the stairs that caused him to come to grief. To cut a long story short, the builders turn out to be little green men with a talent for building extensions and making a lot of mess. In other words, this is Jet Set Willy 1 with more rooms - over eighty of them to be precise.
For those who still haven't got the hang of it, you must move Willy around the various rooms, collecting little boxes perched in hazardous positions. Gremlins abound i the form of poisonous flowers, barrels, razor blades and hideous faces in a hundred different guises.
Some are stationary, but most leap, bound, hover and slide all over the place. There are moving walkways, staircases and one or two other interesting environmental features.The game is loaded in four sections in order to cram all the screens into the C16's meagre memory. When you've managed to collect all 30 objects from the first part of the house the next section loads, and so on.
If you don't already have Jet Set Willy then I recommend you go out to get this one. Everybody should have at least one variation of the all-time definitive platform game and this is certainly not the most extensive. It's certainly good value for money because it's one of those games that keeps you occupied for ever - well, for a long long time anyway.
Only one complaint about a game that is excellent in every other respect. There is a rather annoying bug that causes you to lose all eight of your Willies in rapid succession - not much fun I can tell you. It happens if you collide with a baddie in a confined space. The program returns you to exactly the same spot each time with no chance of escape.
Apart from that, I liked it a lot. The first person to write in and tell me why they put letters on Smartie lids can have my copy.