Manic Miner: Being the age that I am, which is somewhat older than I used to be, I remember this game on the ZX Spectrum the first time round.
It was as it is now – engaging, frustrating (in a good way), colourful and musical, and one that provoked deep thought. I was 11 at the time and this game was more important than oxygen.
The premise is simple. Miner Willy has to enter twenty wildly different caverns, jump from one platform to the next, collect all of the flashing objects and exit the level before his oxygen runs out, which will begin to flash once the last item is picked up. All the while, you must avoid the enemies (listed in the cassette inlay) as “…Poisonous Pansies, Spiders, Slime, and worst of all, Manic Mining Robots…”, all of which have their own path and often move at different speeds from one another, but each one is always constant. Death also comes if you miss a step and fall too far – so watch out for those collapsing platforms – or tread on a poisonous bush.
Originally released in 1983 and written by Matthew Smith, this was the first game to have in-game music, and while the main menu featured an arrangement of The Blue Danube, during the game proper you heard a rendition of Edvard Grieg‘s In the Hall of the Mountain King.
This new release of Manic Miner features various options, such as to pretend you’re watching it on an old-style TV set, and there’s even a “winter mode” to ‘blue-ify’ everything, as well as giving the game the infinite lives cheat. Back in the day, we had to either type “6031769” (based on Matthew Smith’s driving licence) or “TYPEWRITER” to activate this, depending on whether you played the original Bug-Byte release or the later Software Projects version.
While the new version of Jet Set Willy makes it impossible for you to go forever falling with the infinite lives cheat, this one doesn’t, so you will have to restart the level if you take a tumble.
Overall, Manic Miner 360 is never massively difficult, but – like I said – it’s always engaging. And I can say it’s not difficult now when I’m playing with infinite lives…
The decision is simple, especially for a price of a mere £2 on Xbox Live Arcade: Download this today and let your younger children play it. They’ll be completely encapsulated.
Also, please visit my DVDfeverGames Youtube channel for many more gaming videos.
- Publisher: Elite Systems
- Price: 240 MS points (approx £2.00) (Xbox 360)
- Players: 1
- HDTV options: 720p/1080i/1080p
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.