's Jetpack is an ordinary run-of-the mill no frills platform shareware game
from the BBS and 2400 baud modem era. Its graphics are either VGA mode or in very low-resolution CGA modes which mean that even 8086 processor computer
s with an elementary graphic card can run it. This game, however, has stood the test of time and is worth playing on a modern 1ghz and plus processor because the gameplay is extraordinary.
A typical jetpack level features a small finger nail sized guy who must collect a number of green gems to beat the level. He can walk from platform to platform, or when the jetpack strapped across his back is fueled, fly from one platfrom to another. However, this can get extremely difficult because the very platform
s he runs on are bound to crush him. In some very difficult levels, some platforms are made of blocks that can be made to appear or disappear based on whether an enemy hits a switch
. So here you are walking along trying to colelct your gems
when one of the enemies, a big rolling steel ball
makes the platform you walk on suddenly disappear and makes you fall on an icy spike beneath it.
This is just one small example of the 100s of factors that can complicate gameplay in Jetpack. If they sound difficult one of their own, just wait until you get to an advanced level when they are all combined into a deadly threat
that will force you to spend hours trying to win.
On some levels, the rolling crushing steel balls travel via teleporter
s giving you the feeling they are bouncing around the screen at a super-fast speed like some kind of robotic maniacs. The teleporter is one of those fascinating features of the game. Once you step on a space that has a teleporter
, it takes you to another geographical location within the screen that has a teleporter of the same color. In some levels, the teleporters make enemies move around randomly all over the screen so that you can hardly anticipate them. In one particular level, there are 20 same colored teleporters placed in the air and on the ground along with about 20 steel ball
s using them. This means, wherever a player happens to be at the moment, a procession of steel ball
s is likely to drop out of any one of those 20 teleporters to ruthlessly crush him. There are some levels that feature teleporters for the use of rocket
s who also tend to pop out in a procession out of any given teleporter
Another wonderful feature of the game that makes gameplay pretty complicated is the use of blocks to create labyrinth
s. If you have a level in which a player has to has to collect his gems by entering one brick-enclosed space after another, that gives the enemies much more room to try to kill him. In some levels, the Jetpack guy has no room to fly around to collect his gems, but has to walk through spaces in which the brick
s are directly below him and above. That restricts his movement so much that he can't even jump. Or perhaps he can jump up just a little bit. Either way, when the player is trapped in those brick spaces, he can't easily avoid the steel balls nor the rockets.
Therefore, the most difficult parts of the gameplay
s in which a rocket or a steel ball flies back and forth in a restricted space
in which a player
can't jump and he has to hide in corner
or fly over the rocket or the steel ball. At times, you have to hold the Jetpack guy in the air
while the rocket whizzes by, pick up the gem
after it's gone, and run
away from it at a fast speed
when it's on it's way back and about to hit you. The beginning levels avoid the use of these restricted spaces in which you have to maneuver your jetpack guy around these rockets or steel balls. Judging by the first few levels, you can hardly anticipate how difficult the game later becomes. That's why, when using the game's built-in level editor
to create your own levels, you have a lot of control in how easy or difficult the gameplay
The game is still available for download at http://www.adeptsoftware.com/jetpack. Though it it used to be shareware
, it is now freeware
P.S: I have not listed all of the game's enemies, nor have I explained all of its many features. However, I hope I've given enough of a taste of it that to interest you in playing it. I've marveled at the complex arrangements of blocks and enemies in this platform game and I hope you also find it challenging and complicated enough to devote a few hours of your time playing it.