24
Oct
11

Jetpack on NetBSD

Jetpack is a simple arcade game written for X windows. Not to be confused with the DOS game jetpack written by Adam Pederson, it is according to its man page written by Mark Bradley in 1992. The premise is simple, you are a nondescript blue person wearing a jetpack who has to retrieve a key in order to move onto the next level. All whilst avoiding various baddies that move around the level. You begin in a door that protects you until you leave it. Upon finding the key, you return to the door in order to complete the level. You have a bonus that counts down whilst you search for the key and return, making it imperative to move through the maze quickly to get a high score. The graphics are simple yet functional, and remind me of the really old school arcade games from back in the day. The game performs quite well over a network connection and doesn’t require high specs because of this. I built and ran my copy on my old Sparcstation using pkgsrc with pretty much no problems building it at all. In theory it should work across multiple platforms, but I’ve not seen it on any Linux distribution, or in any repository other than BSD based systems. The controls are simple using the mouse buttons to move left, right and firing the jetpack. There are some keyboard controls, but there is no key for firing the jetpack. Because of this, it is kind of mandatory that you have a three button mouse to play this game. I used the mouse button controls myself, they were a little bit clunky and confusing at first but I got used to them relatively quickly. The gameplay whilst simple in its design, quickly becomes entertaining, and gets harder very quickly. The mazes quickly  get bigger, the keys further away, and enemies are arranged in patterns that are more difficult to avoid the more you progress through the levels. I found the fireballs the most confounding as their patterns are usually the ones that get in the way the most. Your jetpack in the game requires fuel, which you can pick up during the course of a level. Whatever you have left carries over to the next level so it is important that you keep stocked up on fuel, lest you be caught out with very little in the next level. It’s not too difficult early on to deter new players, but provides a decent challenge as you progress. All in all this game is still a pleasant distraction that doesn’t take up too much of your time. You probably wouldn’t play it constantly, as the gameplay does get repetitive over time, but in short bursts this is a good bit of old school arcade fun.

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