There were a few games that were released on the Spectrum that I, as a Commodore 64 owner, desperately hoped would be released on my machine. When they weren't, I made up whatever excuses were necessary to go to Spectrum-owning friends' houses so that I could get my fix. Of all these games, the one that I wanted most of all, and never got, was Jetpac.
The first Spectrum games I played were on the 16K version of the machine. That's a tiny amount of memory in this day and age... you can't fit an e-mail into that nowadays. And yet, there was so much imagination and skill on display in some of these games, and Jetpac was probably the finest example of this, for me.
It's a simple concept, as you'd expect, but with a touch of humour. As chief test pilot for the Acme Interstellar Transport Company, you're charged with the task of assembling rockets from the kits that have been dropped off across the Galaxy, fuelling them up and taking them to their final destinations.
This isn't as easy as it sounds, as indigenous lifeforms roam the planets and are a bit miffed at your presence. Their touch is deadly, so it's best to stay away from them if possible. If it's not possible, then you're armed with a mega-powerful laser which will show them who's boss. That's more fun anyway. And while you're at it, you might as well help yourself to some of the precious gems that are lying around... perks of the job, after all.
Jetpac is a great arcade-style blaster. It's quite original too, I can't really think of an arcade game that it's based on, as such. It's a fair old adrenaline rush, although after you've played it for a long time you start to suss out its patterns and can last a long time. Even so, the same can be said of even the best arcade games, and Jetpac is a name that will live long in the annals of history.