Reviews Archive
jumpman on atari
jumpman on c64
  1 player  
  Stand out 8-bit versions - Atari 8-Bit, C64  
  Another important release during 1983, this time from the excellent US company Epyx. Jumpman's aim is to climb and jump his way around the stages trying to defuse all of the bombs. The game stands out as being fast and smooth, with you dodging and leaping around the enemies, there's a lot of levels to play and they are filled with variety and ideas.  
  kangeroo on atari Kangaroo
kangeroo on 2600
  1 Player  
  Stand out 8-bit versions - Various  
  Climbing platformer where you play as a Kangaroo mother trying to reach her baby. Much like most of the platformers that came in Donkey Kong's wake, Kangaroo has you jumping from platform to platform and climbing ladders whilst avoiding hazards. Monkeys throw rocks at you and points can be gained by collecting fruit. Unlike a lot of the other games of this era, you can actually attack the enemies here with a punch. Solid release that got a good amount of ports.  
manic miner
Manic Miner
manic miner on spectrum
  1 Player  
  Stand out 8-bit versions - Spectrum  
  Whilst Jumpman and Miner 2049er were all the rage during 1983 in the US, in the UK the game which ruled the roost was Manic Miner. Influenced itself by Miner 2049er, Manic Miner was created solely by a guy named Matthew Smith in his bedroom. Due to his imagination, eccentric personality, and coding skills, what started out as Mr Smith's attempt at one-upping his favourite game quickly evolved into something else entirely. The game has you jumping across conveyer belts and platforms (some of which crumble and disappear) and hitting switches in an effort to collect all items in a stage and leave through the exit. Unlike many of its contemporaries each level here has distinctively different themes and designs, with the environments even having their own specific enemies, ranging from the surreal (such as mutant toilets), to pop-culture references like Ewoks from Star Wars or other thinly-disguised video game characters like Pac-Man or Donkey Kong. Aside from the gameplay the programming here is also very well done for the time, it has in-game music on a system without a proper soundchip, and the animation is simply phenomenal for the day, with a lavish amount of attention to detail placed on every one of the game's peculiar denizens.  
  miner 2049er Miner 2049er
miner 2049er on atari
  1 Player  
  Stand out 8-bit version - Various  
  Highly influential platformer from late 1982 that has you colouring in the floor of the stages to proceed, whilst collecting items that temporarily allow you to deal with the enemies. The game was very popular at the time, achieving acclaim in many of the big videogaming magazines of the day, and Its pretty easy to see why. As a home release its a fast and responsive game, there are a lot of clever gameplay mechanics in there, such as slides and teleporters, and there's a lot of variety and content for its time.  
  mr robot and his robot factory Mr Robot and His Robot Factory
mister robot and his robot factory
  1 player  
  Stand out 8-bit version - Atari 8-Bit  
  Colourful and very polished Miner 2049er style game with conveyer belts, explosive platforms to dash along and trampolines to bounce off of. You all probably know the ropes by now, you have to colour in the platforms by walking along them, and collecting items allows you to temporarily get rid of the enemies. Its a nice variant on the classic game, and does enough of its own stuff to stop it from being just another clone. Well worth checking out.  
  sir lancelot on amstrad Sir Lancelot
sir lancelot on spectrum
  1 Player  
  Stand out 8-bit version - Amstrad  
  This is a fast-paced platformer from Australia's excellent Melbourne House, an underrated, long-lasting video game company with many good games to their name. Sir Lancelot has you collecting items to open up an exit and depart each stage, it has a lot of emphasis on timing and accuracy, with you needing to carefully slip between the stage monsters. The Amstrad port of the game irons out a few of the original game's creases, allowing you to fast forward the music that plays when you die, and giving the player a new level select hub so that you can tackle the stages in whichever order you want.  
  wizard on c64 Wizard wizard on commodore  
  1 Player  
  Stand out 8-bit version - C64  
  Wizard is another excellent platformer, it's a little bit reminiscent of Jumpman, but really builds on the concept with lots of clever ideas, and adds an extra layer of polish to everything. One of the coolest elements here is the huge variety of Spells that you can use, each level gives you a specific spell to obtain, ranging from projectile attacks, to teleport spells, to speed boosts (and many more). Being that the spells themselves are often tailored to the levels they appear on, the game stays interesting and keeps throwing up new challenges as you make your way through it.  
Atari ST
Atari VCS
Commodore 64
Game Boy
Master System
Mega Drive
Neo Geo
PC Engine
ZX Spectrum