Got a throwback to the ZX Spectrum days with this one. Going to put a little disclaimer out there that I did not play this on an original ZX Spectrum but instead played the “Rare Replay” version on an Xbox One. I also did use the rewind function that comes with Rare Replay. As stated when I first laid out the guidelines to the “Gaming Conquest” I will only use the tools provided with the game to playthrough to any% completion and in this case rewind functionality is included in the Rare Replay version. So now that we are done with disclaimers, let’s get on with it.

You might be wondering, what is considered “any% completion” when it comes to a high score based game such as “Jetpac?” The game just plays until you lose right? Well yes it does, but there are multiple levels in Jetpac. As such I am counting completing every level before the game loops as any% completion. That means building all 4 rockets and lifting them off in each unique level. Once the game returns to the first rocket ship, I considered it conquered.

A little background on “Jetpac.” Jetpac was the very first game released by “Ultimate Play the Game,” a company which would later rename themselves “Rare” (A much better name in my opinion). “Jetpac” was a hit when it was released and earned a number of awards including “Game of Year (1983)” at the Golden Joystick Awards. But how does “Jetpac” hold up today.

As you would suspect of a game from the early 80’s, “Jetpac” is fairly simple. You control an astronaut with, you guessed it, a jetpack. The astronaut is able to fly around the screen using his jetpack. Turn on the jets to fly up and shut them off to fly down. Unfortunately for our Jetman, he keeps finding himself on hostile planets full of aggressive life forms, and his rocket always seems to be broken and/or out of fuel. The Jetman is armed with a laser gun which he can use to shoot down incoming foes. The objective of each stage is to build and/or fuel your rocket before getting in and taking off to the next planet. The player is able to move left and right with the joystick and can hold a button to turn on the Jetman’s jetpack and take off. Releasing the button turns off the jets and gravity takes over. Additionally the player can press a button to shoot their laser gun at enemies. Each level is a wraparound stage which does not scroll and the player must pickup the fuel/rocket parts that appear one at a time while avoiding deadly aliens. After picking up the fuel/part, the player must return it to the ship. After fully fueled the Jetman may enter the ship and take off to the next planet.

“Jetpac” has that “one more run” mentality going for it. By that I mean, the simple and quick nature of the game makes it easy to take on an almost addictive quality, which makes the player constantly want to try for the high score one last time. That being said it is a simple game and it can quickly start to feel repetitive, if you are not a die hard high score junky. It is the type of game that would be perfect for an arcade setting but does not hold the same appeal in the modern era of console gaming. I can easily acknowledge how this game would have been special in its time with good graphics (relative to the era) and tense, but not overwhelmingly difficult, gameplay. A balance that many older games struggled with. But, for the purposes of this blog where I look strictly on modern enjoyment and not on historical value, I cannot rank “Jetpac” highly. So where does it rank? Number 1!!! Okay, now I know you are confused… Well, as is becoming almost more common than ranking on existing lists, “Jetpac” needs to be ranked on a new list as it does not fit the categories of any currently existing lists. So we are creating the Arcade List which now has a whopping one game on it. This list will be for all those high score based games that reek of arcade nostalgia.

Platform: Microsoft Xbox One. Time to Beat: 34 minutes and 18 seconds.

How to Play “Jetpac?”

“Jetpack” is available as part of “Rare Replay” on the Xbox One, which you can buy right now from my online store

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