Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Manic Miner'

Rating:5 User: Digital Prawn

What can I say apart from the fact that bizarrely I'd never actually played this game until around 1993, and even then it was on the (by today's standards) primitive yet technically superb speccy emulator for the Atari ST. I'm surprised that almost twenty years have somehow elapsed between me actually playing this on an emulator and writing this review. The game is three times older now than it was when I played it then!

Anyway, completing the game for the first time seemed like a real achievement. Admittedly, I could never have done it without snapshots. But even then, some levels still remained frightfully tricky. Even the first level is initially a conundrum for the uninitiated as most players appear to get stranded on their first attempts.

Playability, excellent. Atmosphere, absorbing. Graphics, legendary. Animation, fluid. Controls, responsive.

All round brilliant fun, and no doubt ground-breaking at the time of its release.

In the early 1980s all I had was "The Perils of Willy" on the VIC-20 which was at that point the greatest game I'd ever played and technically miraculous on that system (with essentially a character-mapped video mode). I remain a fan of it to this day.

But for me, Manic Miner is a whole level above that, with the quirky custom levels like Eugene's Lair, or the Skylab one.. and the greater variety of antagonists. Thanks to the relatively copious RAM of the speccy, just that extra bit of effort was put in to elevate this game to all-time classic status.