Review: Jet Pac (ZX Spectrum)

In this review, we take our first look at the ZX Spectrum and give a game called Jet Pac a try. We find out if this action game is worth trying out.

This particular game was released in 1983. While older gamers who are familiar with the ZX Spectrum might remember this game when it was initially released, most slightly newer gamers would have only heard of this game through the newer title, Donkey Kong 64.

The game is rather straight forward in objectives. In the first level, you collect two pieces of the space craft. When you assemble the space craft, you have to go around and collect fuel for the purposes of liftoff. The amount of fuel in the space craft is denoted by how much it’s gone from white to pink. Once you have filled up your space craft, you enter it to get off of the planet. Completing a level will give you a free life.

Along the way, you can collect various items like a nuclear symbol, a diamond, gold, and a blob-like item. Collecting these items will simply increase your score. Like the items, the fuel will fall from the sky one at a time.

Also along the way are a variety of enemies. At the beginning, they’ll simply be a few fireballs that randomly fly horizontally across the screen at varying angles. On later levels, however, enemies will be harder to shoot or avoid as they evolve increasingly more effective methods of killing you.

I found this game to be quite entertaining. The controls took a bit of getting used to (namely, how fast you move in different directions whether in the air or walking), but once I got that down and developed some basic survival strategies (such as sticking around along the top and collecting items right as they are falling from the sky), I was pretty much good to go.

Graphically, for a game of its time, I would say it was pretty good. It was certainly better than Berzerk for the Atari 5200 and is more or less on par with the graphics of a game like Ms Pac Man for the same system. the only real complaint I would have for this game is the fact that sometimes colors bleed from one enemy to another, but that’s about it.

Since this is the first ZX Spectrum I’ve reviewed, I’m not sure exactly how to grade the audio. I’m guessing it was on par with other ZX Spectrum games. Compared to other consoles, it’s about average. There is no music in this game.

Overall, I found this to be a nice addicting game to play. The only real goal is to see how much higher you can get that high score. Even with the limited objectives, it was still a lot of fun. It had a great amount of variety throughout and it had a great difficulty curve. A great game overall.


furthest point in game: Level 8. Assembled the second space craft and fueled it up about half way before losing my last life crashing into one of the flying saucers. High score: 15,250.

General gameplay: 20/25
Replay value: 8/10
Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 3/5

Overall rating: 78%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85

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