10
Feb
13

Jetpack for DOS

Jetpack Credits

Jetpack Credits

Jetpack was made by Adam Pederson and released by Software Creations back in 1993. The author had created Jetpack and his other DOS games back when he was a teenager. We used to play his puzzle game Squarez extensively back on our 386, and we played this game a bit later after we upgraded  to a 486 some years later.

Main Screen

Main Screen

Jetpack is a single screen puzzle platforming game inspired by games such as Lode Runner. The puzzles revolve around avoiding enemies moving around, and finding all the static gems scattered throughout the level. Unlike Lode Runner there are a number of different baddies with different movement patterns, most of which do not chase you directly. It came with 100 levels, some of which are very hard. You can choose to take on the levels in order, or in random order ensuring you get a very varied game experience. I found there were many levels that were quite difficult later on so I usually play them in order.

Playing a Level

Playing a Level

It has VGA graphics which are quite attractive and well animated. All the sprites move smoothly and collision detection is accurate. The only unfortunate part is there is little variety in the graphics from level to level. There were some graphics packs made for it however, in case you get sick of the original set. The most common set is a christmas graphics pack. The death animations are probably the highlight of the graphics.

The Level Editor

The Level Editor

Sound support comes in the form of PC speaker, Sound Blaster or Ad lib sound card, all of which are quite good. Sound Blaster is obviously the best as it has digitized sound. Not all the sound effects utilise the digitized sound however so you won’t miss out on too much if you only have an Ad Lib card.

The Controls

The Controls

The controls for the game are good and responsive, you do seem to have a little momentum which is unusual for a PC game. I’m guessing this is to accommodate the flight physics for when you are using the jetpack.

Static Items

Static Items

The game has a level editor which was quite easy to use. There was a vibrant community of users who used to share and create levels they had made.At the time I would unfortunately not have been able to take advantage of that as we didn’t have a modem or access to any BBS. As we lived in rural Australia, even if we had a modem our experience would have been terrible as dial-up modems have never worked very well out there.

Enemies!

Enemies!

The original Jetpack for DOS has been available as freeware since 1998, so there is little reason not to give the game a go. The author is working on a sequel/port for modern systems that will make editing and sharing levels easier. So if you like the original, I’d recommend you go to his website and have a look at the new version and support him. You’ll find his site here.

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