Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Manic Miner: The Hobbit'

Rating:4 User: Digital Prawn

The prospect of combining the two great interests of retro-gaming and Tolkien's works was certainly to be relished when this title was released around the beginning of the new millennium. Here, long time Manic Miner & Jet Set Willy expert and artisan Andrew Broad expertly crafted a highly challenging game which manages to flawlessly graft Tolkien's "The Hobbit" into the "Manic Miner" gaming environment.

It is immediately apparent that some considerable genuine enthusiasm has been poured into this game by the author. The nineteen chapters of the book naturally fit well into the twenty screen Manic Miner, allowing room for one bonus screen to be fitted in at the end. The provided instructions are very detailed and you just have to love the line that reads "Miner Willy plays Bilbo Baggins". There are two versions of the game, a "standard" version and a "lite" version.

As someone who has completed the original Manic Miner game a couple of times using between-level snapshots, I will say this of "Manic Miner: The Hobbit":- The "lite" version is reasonably difficult. The "standard" version is incredibly difficult. From my point of view anyway!

In game music has been specially re-written for this game and consists of entirely appropriate Norwegian folk music. The "standard" and "lite" versions of the game feature different tunes. As for the screens, they are wonderfully rendered with the first two being particularly memorable. The use of striking colour really brings out character and a feel of total enthrallment. The "hobbit hole" on the first screen and the roaring fire of "Roast Mutton" make this a lasting triumph of Manic Miner editing.

Overall this is one of the better Manic Miner derived efforts, which I personally find fascinating due to the fact I have never yet seriously dared to attempt the difficult version. Clearly it is also a must for any speccy enthusiasts who also enjoy "The Hobbit" of which I expect there are quite a few.