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3 Reviews

Jetpac Refuelled

Review: Diesel power

JetPac Refuelled features the untouched '83 Speccy classic for all to play, but the main attraction is the HD remake which it goes without saying looks significantly prettier than the old bedroom favourite.

JetPac, in case you missed it, was Rare's (or Ultimate Play The Game as they were known back then) very first release. It has you flying a spaceman around the screen collecting parts of your downed ship and then jetting off into space to crash into another rock and do it all over again. The height of Speccy gameplay.

In addition to your ship building antics you're also under assault from a variety of wacky aliens easily blasted with you handy laser gun.

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Colourful aliens, battered moons and twinkling stars look fantastic and typically Rare, with visual effects like sparks and flames from the spaceman's jetpack adding an extra touch of polish.

Gameplay is pretty much untouched from the original, only the enemy count has been bumped up a few notches thanks to the slight power-increase between the ZX Spectrum and Xbox 360, and there are a massive 120 levels to unlock. It's as simple as it ever was; you use the Right trigger to hover and the A button to fire, and there's also various other collectibles falling from the sky for you to play with.

Where the 360 version does tinker however is with the enemy count and intensity of the action, increasing the number of critters on screen drastically as you climb up the level ladder - making for a far more intense and furious shooty experience than the original could ever provide.

You'd also have to be significantly sight-impaired not to notice the new 2-4 player co-op mode, which lets you and a group of others battle it out a ship-building marathon. Stealing other people's fuel right under their noses is incredibly satisfying and will keep you occupied for a while, just don't expect to be playing this in six months time.

Another, more interesting addition to formula is how the camera zooms out when you reach the edge of the screen to compensate for the massive amount of enemies on screen. As you progress the camera pans out further and further to display the alien-blasting madness, descending into Lord of the Rings levels of epic-ness in levels 30 and above.

And that's about it as far as the changes go; if you played the Spectrum original to death 25 years ago you'll see that Refuelled is very much the same breed of beast, if be it a much pretty, hi-def monster.

We're sure plenty of oldschool crooners will appreciate the rez-ed up trip down memory lane but in many ways Refuelled feels limited by the original game's formula, with only different varieties of teleporting enemies supplied to help spice up the gameplay.

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Refuelled can also get rather repetitive in later levels; although there are 120 stages for you to battle through only 20 backgrounds are ever seen, and the action seems to peak in intensity by about level 25, never really ramping up the challenge.

It's certainly a polished and a well made package and fans of the Spectrum will no doubt find plenty of enjoyment for their 400 Microsoft points (£3.40).

But underneath the pretty graphics JetPac Refuelled is pretty much the same game we played a quarter of a century ago. We doubt it'll grip a new generation of gamers as much as it did back in the day but you'll get your money's worth.

The verdict

A solid Arcade package with a polished remake of the classic Spectrum shooter, though the gameplay is starting to creak...

  • Gorgeous graphics
  • Fun co-op mode
  • Levels can get repetitive
  • Challenge peaks early
  • Somewhat limited by the archaic gameplay
7
Format
Xbox 360
Developer
Rare
Publisher
Microsoft
Genre
Shoot 'em Up

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