Manic Miner

  • Bug Byte

  • FormatVideo Game
  • TypePlatform
  • SystemMicrocomputer

Load screens. You either love them or you hate them. (Cue the inevitable Marmite gag). But a good one will stay with you forever. Manic Miner's is right up there.

He's a miner. He's also in a rather large spot of bother. He's trapped! Matthew Romano

Basically the screen goes, well it goes manic really. With crazy colour shifting letters that dance to and fro like a rainbow with ants in its pants and in addition, being the first speccy game to feature in-game music, Manic Miner can happily consider itself to be a legend. But what's it all about?

You play a dude called Willy and guess what? Correct. He's a miner. He's also in a rather large spot of bother. He's trapped. Seriously trapped.Throughout twenty underground caverns, poor old Willy has to collect a bunch of flashing keys and escape to the next cavern before running out of oxygen or being walloped by various enemies who also happen to inhabit the stuffy underground.

I say stuffy because even now, the game actually makes me feel claustrophobic. Knowing I can run out of air if I dawdle too much really does make me panic when I play it and don't even start me on my irrational fear of classical music which plays throughout. They should rename it Panic Miner. Yeah I might suggest that to Bug Byte.

Another way the game strikes fear in me is knowing I have to jump over baddies to pass them. Each time I jump I'm terrified I might not make it over the head of the approaching villain. My God this game breaks me!

The baddies in question range from poisonous trees to robots and all kinds in between and there are also several platforms that fall away beneath your feet if you're not quick enough, resulting in poor old Willy plummeting to his death. But seeing that oxygen bar diminishing across the entire width of the screen is enough to send you in to panic mode.
Graphically it's perfectly fine but the introduction of in-game music really does add so much to the game and it transforms it from an excellent platformer to a stone cold legend of a game.

It went on to spawn the Jet Set Willy series but for me, this is the best of the bunch. It also reminds me that I'd be a rubbish miner.

Review by Matthew Romano - @baldandboring

Also remember manic miner endless lives code! 6031769

Spectrum 48k Manic Miner Gameplay
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Spectrum 48k Manic Miner Loading Screen

  • Bug Byte

  • FormatVideo Game
  • TypePlatform
  • SystemMicrocomputer

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