LGR – Jetpack Christmas Special! – DOS PC Game Review

[Christmas LGR Theme plays]
[fizz, sip]
You know, Christmas is one of those times of year
that will really bring out the nostalgic feelings in you
for one reason or another.
You go digging through old boxes of junk
and remember things from previous years.
Things that’ll make you go, “Oh, I remember this!”
Maybe I’m not like most people,
but I end up going through my boxes of floppies,
and I came across this unmarked specimen.
Popped it in the old 386 and guess what?
Oh, I remember this!
Yes, it is Jetpack,
released in 1993, developed by Adam Petersen
under the name Adept Software.
Jetpack was one of those games
that was just friggin’ everywhere.
Back in the mid-’90s, I remember finding it on AOL
on that Games channel that they had.
It’s a game with lots of content
that doesn’t take up much space,
with VGA graphics and cool
sound and awesome gameplay.
Initially reminiscent of games
like Jumpman, Lode Runner,
and even a little bit of Montezuma’s Revenge.
But not everyone seems to be
aware of the Christmas version,
from 1993 as well,
which was yet another promotional version of the game,
in addition to the regular shareware levels.
Now if you’re familiar with Jetpack, you
might not be thinking that’s that big of a deal
because the game did come with a level editor built in,
just like Lode Runner,
and there were countless fricking level packs
available online for people to download.
In fact, there were even different
texture packs for people to download
like the “Mario Mod,”
which switched all the graphics to fit
everyone’s favorite fat Italian plumber.
But those weren’t official. This one is.
It is another game completely by Adam Petersen
and I assume new graphics by Wayne Timmerman.
This is apparent by the very first screen of the game,
which is an altered version of the original game screen,
except with very nicely animated falling snow
which accumulates on the text.
The menu is also changed,
although the options and really
everything else is still exactly the same.
Just press S to start the game and
you’ll jump right into the first level.
The entire point of Jetpack is
that you are a daring adventurer–
in this case, Santa Claus in the Christmas special–
in search of… things!
In the original game, it was emeralds
or green eggs and ham, I really don’t know,
but for Santa, it’s the obvious choice of Christmas gifts.
You must make your way around the level,
climbing ladders, avoiding enemies,
gathering the Christmas gifts, along with coins,
gold vases and extra lives and such.
And once you gather all the presents,
you can make your way to the next level.
What separates this from games
like Lode Runner and Jumpman
is the fact that you have a jetpack,
model number L1069-E, to be precise,
which is specially designed for human flight.
Which makes me assume that the author of this game
thinks that Santa Claus is human.
It was my understanding that he was an extraterrestrial,
or at least a being from a higher plane of existence,
but that’s OK.
Until you find fuel for your jetpack,
you can just jump around,
which is pretty much like Jumpman,
or climb ladders like Lode Runner.
Once you get the fuel, you can press the Alt key
to move your jetpack upward,
and of course left and right to steer it.
You also have a weapon, of sorts.
It’s more of a tool
known as a phase shifter.
You can use this on certain
blocks to break down a path,
which is sometimes necessary
in some of the later levels,
and it’s just nice to get out
of the way of a robot or two.
You can’t kill anything with it,
and you can’t shoot the floor.
So it really does rely more on
avoiding the enemies completely
rather than trapping them like in Lode Runner.
That’s really the gist of the gameplay,
but as the levels continue,
you’ll run into different things
to either avoid or manipulate.
There are teleporters which will transport
you around different parts of the level,
and barriers, which are deactivated
by pressing buttons of that color.
And of course, there are moving
platforms and ice and spikes
and sludge and all sorts of goodies
that are just there to KILL you.
And when you die, it is nothing short of spectacular,
especially if you have a Sound Blaster.
[horrific screaming]
Yes, not only does Santa explode
in a rather spectacularly animated fashion,
he dies screaming.
That’s tragic but also quite hilarious.
[high-pitched scream]
[sinister laughing]
Not everything is out to kill you, though.
You do have these little, white round things,
which are stunners for the monsters,
pausing them for a short time.
And you can also get shields which
give you temporary invulnerability.
And that’s really just about it.
There’s lots of variations later on in the game,
but unfortunately in this Christmas version
there are only ten levels.
In the regular full version of the game,
there are at least a hundred,
but of course, the editor is still in the game,
so you still have that to mess around with.
Although you can’t actually
play them in the regular game,
you can only test them in the editor.
So you’ll need the regular full version game
in order to play your immature-themed levels.
Another disadvantage of this Christmas version
is that it is shareware,
so it doesn’t have the registered version’s features,
like the ability to save your game.
Now there’s only ten levels,
so I guess that’s not a huge concern,
but it would be nice to have
that ability to save your game.
I don’t know if there ever was a
full version of the Christmas game.
I’ve read that maybe there was,
but Adam Petersen lost the files.
I really don’t know, but you can find this one for free
all over the Internet.
In fact, there is a download link in the video description.
And if you want more, just get
the full version of the game,
which is also freeware now.
It’s the same gameplay, just with lots more content.
And of course there are crap tons of levels
and good stuff like that out there for that game.
There’s even a Christmas texture pack for the full game
that you can treat as an
extension of the Christmas version,
with Santa delivering presents
instead of collecting them.
So the final verdict on Jetpack, is it worth it?
Yaw– pfft! Yeah, man! Of course it’s worth it!
If you like arcade platforming
Donkey Kong descendants
like Jumpman and Lode Runner,
then of course, give it a look.
It’s a small game, it’s really fun,
the graphics and sounds are more than adequate.
In fact, I think they’re rather charming.
I mean it’s just a well-made game overall.
And when you’re bored, you can make more of it.
And as far as Christmas games go,
it’s gotta be one of the better ones out there,
even though it’s kind of short on content.
So if you haven’t tried Jetpack
Christmas, or even Jetpack,
download it, have fun and thank me later.

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