Back in the 80’s, my favourite game on the ZX Spectrum was Jet Set Willy. Now it’s been released for the Xbox 360, and here is our two-minute review.

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Last week we told you that it was coming, and yesterday I got my hands on it!

What is Jet Set Willy?

Jet Set Willy is a computer game originally written for the ZX Spectrum home computer. It was published in 1984 by Software Projects and ported to most home computers of the time. The game is a sequel to Manic Miner (1983), and is the second game in the immensely popular Miner Willy Series. It was a significant development in the platform game genre on the home micro. A tired Miner Willy has to tidy up all the items left around his house after a huge party.

With this done his housekeeper Maria will allow him access to his bedroom. Willy’s mansion was bought with the wealth obtained from his adventures in Manic Miner but much of it remains unexplored and it appears to be full of strange creatures, possibly a result of the previous (missing) owner’s experiments. Willy must explore the enormous mansion and its grounds (including a beach and a yacht) to fully tidy up the house so he can get some much-needed sleep. Jet Set Willy is a flip-screen platform game in which the player moves the protagonist, Willy, from room to room in his mansion collecting objects. The game is an early example of a nonlinear title since, unlike the screen-by-screen style of its prequel, the player can explore the mansion at will. Willy is controlled using only left, right and jump. He can climb stairs by walking into them (jumping through them to avoid them) and climb swinging ropes by pushing left or right depending on what direction the rope is swinging. The play area itself consists of 60 screens making up the mansion and its grounds and contains hazards (static killer objects), guardians (killer monsters which move along predetermined paths), various platforms and collectable objects. The collectable items glow to distinguish them from other items in the room. Willy loses a life if he touches an enemy or falls too far, and he is returned to the point at which he entered the room. This may lead to a game-ending situation in which Willy repeatedly falls from a height, losing all lives in succession. Music on the Spectrum version was Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata for the menu and If I Were a Rich Man during the game itself.

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Who are Elite Systems Ltd?

From their website:

Incorporated in England in 1984, Elite was originally a leading developer and publisher of ground-breaking games for the Sinclair Spectrum and Commodore 64 home computer systems…

Today Elite is a highly-specialised developer AND publisher of game software products for handheld, mobile and wireless systems; providing mobile network operators and selected other partners around the globe with “the best names in mobile games”.

Final Thoughts

Wow, this really took my back to my childhood, and many MANY hours of playing Jet Set Willy on my trusty 48K ZX Spectrum.

It is a very good port onto the Xbox 360, in fact I would say it’s pretty much perfect. The game even plays inside an old fashioned TV (as you can see from the screen shot above). You control the game using the Xbox controller instead of a keyboard (obviously).

There are various options you can choose when playing the game, such as infinite lives, so no need to “poke” this game! Also, the various bugs from the original Spectrum game that needed “poking” have also been fixed.

I haven’t played JSW for a very long time, but it was like I had only played it yesterday. I found myself getting drawn back into Willy’s world and even remembering sequences to get through certain rooms (now that is scary!).

There is even a little history included in the menu options of the game to tell you all about the various bugs and issues, so it’s worth taking a moment to read them, and like me you will probably say “I remember that!”.

If you are a fan of Jet Set Willy, or if you are just a fan of retro games, then you have to get this game. Right, I’m going back in – I have to collect everything…..

Jet Set Willy 360 is available now from the Xbox Live Marketplace for 240 MS points. There is also a free trial you can download.

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Buy now from the Xbox Live Marketplace

Tell us your Jet Set Willy memories by leaving a comment below.