Back then I had an Acorn Electron and Jet Set Willy wasn't available for it until Tynesoft did the honours and converted it. There is plenty of humour within the game with some obvious Monty Python influences (the big foot for one) and many rooms with strange names.
Due to the massive success of Jet Set Willy on the Spectrum it was inevitable that Software Projects, with some help from Tynesoft, would port the game to other home computer systems.
The background story to this version of the game was that Miner Willy, now a wealthy man after discovering some lost mine workings and then making his fortune (see Manic Miner) has bought himself a large house and thrown a big party which leaves his house in a bit of a mess. I have never played the Dragon version so don't know what it is like, and as I don't have a Dragon emulator, I can't try it.
A version of Jet Set Willy appeared for the Atari 800 XL and from the description on the JSW remakes website it is the worst version, I have never played it so cannot say if it this is so, but it has to be said that the screenshots do not look good.
The BBC Micro and Acorn Electron versions were the same except that the Electron version had monochrome rooms and no music.
Your Sinclair magazine famously published an April Fool in the form of a listing to allow you to find a 'hidden room' called 'April showers'. I managed to complete the BBC Micro version and if you collect all the items around the house, then upon returning to the 'Master Bedroom' Maria has now disappeared (if you don't want to know how the game ends look away now!). As with all games which are a success the sequel comes along and in 1985 Software Projects released Jet Set Willy 2, this time written by Derrick Rowson.
The background story for this game is that Willy fell down some stairs and has had the builders in to remove the offending edges from the staircase (could these be the ones in the Commodore versions of JSW1?).
The extra rooms make the challenge of completing the game even more difficult as there are now well over a hundred and some of them are not part of Willy's mansion. There were many myths and legends surrounding the original game including secret rooms, things that happened at certain points in the game, and others. The MSX had a version of Jet Set Willy 2 which I have yet to play but the screenshot on the JSW remakes website looks good and shows a room called 'The Maze' and the description of this version is 'Perfect' ! Commodore 16 users fared much better with Jet Set Willy 2 and there were many more rooms this time. The BBC disc version featured all the rooms from Jet Set Willy and just about all the rooms from Jet Set Willy 2, although a few are missing.
I have yet to complete Jet Set Willy 2 on any format, so haven't seen what happens when you do, although I guess that Maria will disappear and you have to touch the bed and he will then walk across to the toilet again. In the late 1980s Software Projects commissioned versions of Jet Set Willy for the Amiga and Atari ST.
As for the Amiga version, I don't think it was ever finished and I have not found it when searching around on the internet. Although Jet Set Willy 2 was the last official release there have been many Jet Set Willy games created using a variety of game editors. One of the first (if not the first) Jet Set Willy remakes was, 'Join The JetSet' and it was written by Richard Hallas. ZX-Heroes - this Jet Set Willy game pays tribute to many of the ZX Spectrum platform games, in which each room is from a ZX Spectrum game.
In addition to the Spectrum Jet Set Willy games there have been many remakes of Jet Set Willy on other machines, such as the Amiga remakes mentioned earlier. There is even a version available for mobile phones, but it would be really good to see a brand new version with the original rooms and lots of new ones, plus enhanced graphics and music, perhaps as a 3D or 2D platformer.
There is also a very good multi-tasking editor to create games with, of which there are two included. There was the heavily rumoured third Jet Set Willy game which was known as 'Megatree and Willy meets the taxman'. With all these new games and remakes going on twenty years after the first game was released it is a true testament to the greatness of the game. Wizard Apprentice is a puzzle based platformer following the popular style of moving blocks as a means to progress through a level and collect all the bonuses. There is a scene-setting screen with two wizards in a 'Hero Quest'-style graphic which doesn't seem to fit in with the modern 3D pre-rendered graphics of the rest of the game. Each level is slightly bigger than one screen and as you move up and down the screen scrolls slightly. It's the learning curve and quality of the puzzles which brings out the enjoyment in this game. The music is neither annoying enough to ruin the experience or amazing enough to enhance it. The game is also supplied with a level editor, so anyone who thinks they have a mind for puzzles can have a go at creating their own taxing level.
Take away Wizard Apprentice's nifty graphics, paper thin plot and 'waiting room' style music and your left with your basic block pushing, mushroom collecting, puzzle game. This is a top-down maze game which was probably influenced by Attic Attack from the Spectrum. An original game where you play a pile of goo which can take different forms to travel around the single screen levels and to avoid being killed by rockets and other hazards. This is probably one of the best PD games since Tom Cooper's crop of games a while back, and is the sequel to the original game Splodge. Bouncy is a simplistic game where you are a ball and you have bounce off all the platforms on the screen to convert them to a nice light blue. Another simple game which seems to me like a spin off of an old PD game a few years back, CarWars.
This is basically a form of space invaders with a scrolling background which gives the false illusion of a scrolling shoot'em up.
Not a typo, this is a clone by Tom Cooper of the original lemmings, made a while before the official conversion of the game.
An unfinished Thrust clone, where you manoeuvre a ship without hitting the surrounding landscape using the mouse. This is a bizarre desktop scrolling maze game where you have to collect the pieces to a map and all the masks on each level.
Although this CD does contain a couple of the best public domain games, it is by no means value for money. Rebellion Interview: Eye of the TIGAAs we've written previously in our history of the UK games industry, after getting off to an explosive start in the 1980s, and growing rapidly in the 90s, the 2000s saw something of a slow down. But we do have Jason Kingsley, founder of one of the UKa€™s most successful and recognised studios, Rebellion, as well as the UKa€™s leading trade association for the games industry. Bit-tech: Can you give us an idea of how you got started in the games industry and what it is that made you want to work on computer games? Anyway, I continued with standard education but playing paper based RPGs and wargaming on tabletops until I finally got a summer job in the games industry while I was at university.
JK: It's got more professional, with fewer risks being taken, and the games have become much more expensive to actually make.
BT: Ita€™s been suggested that the UK has lost some of the eclectic appeal and inventiveness it had back in the days of Jet Set Willy and bedroom coders. JK: It's simply something that comes out of risk management and size not to mention the expectation of the mass audience. BT: Do you think that with the recent surge of interest in casual games and mobile games (which typically arena€™t as complex to develop as mainstream releases) that therea€™s a chance the UK could make a name for itself as a hive of bedroom coders again? BT: Do you pine for the a€?old daysa€™, when design teams were smaller and there were less constraints on what developers could do or do you the larger teams and more sophisticated practices of modern developers? It wasn't quite as good as the Spectrum version but it was still Jet Set Willy and now I could play it on my own machine. Guide the character around some screens collecting items and avoiding things that kill you. Over the years since the game was released it has been been explained what they actually meant.
Versions followed for the Amstrad, Commodore 64, Commodore 16, Commodore Plus4, BBC Micro, Acorn Electron, MSX, Atari 800 XL, and even the Dragon had a version.


After the party all Willy can think about is crashing out in bed, but his housekeeper Maria will not let him into his room until he has cleared up all the mess. The C64 and Amstrad versions are, from what I have seen, pretty much the same, although it is noticeable in all the Commodore versions that the stairs actually look like stairs rather than lines (maybe this has something to do with the background story to JSW2?). However the screenshots on the JSW remakes website show that it ran in black and white and this version also had some exclusive rooms. This was billed as an "Enhanced" version, though it didn't say of what, presumably they meant an enhanced version of the C16 version which is exactly what it was. The BBC Micro version had the music and full colour screens, the room layout was the same as the Spectrum version and it was possible to complete this one. Although the game sold well it was bit disappointing in that it was basically Jet Set Willy with extra rooms and the bugs of the original game removed.
While the builders were there they added many new rooms to the mansion and left a lot of mess all around the house. They include a rocket room, which takes you on a trip into space, and if you flick the switch in the new room 'Trip Switch' then make it back to 'The Yacht' without losing a life the yacht will sail away to 'The Deserted Isle'.
This room can be found on the moon and it makes a basic map of all the rooms that you have visited during the game. On the C64 version you could walk through the toilet to discover some new rooms, and the bath in 'The Bathroom' is purple for some reason. The game was split into 4 parts and you had to collect a certain number of items before you could move to the next part of the game. Just about all of the Jet Set Willy rooms have been removed and about 95% of the Jet Set Willy 2 rooms remain, however there are a couple of rooms which I think only appear in this version. Unfortunately neither were ever released, but the Atari ST version was finished and can be easily found on the internet. There are, however, plenty of Jet Set Willy games such as Jet Set Billy, Willys Weirdy Nightmare, Top Hat Willy also Jet Set Willy 2, and from the screenshots they look very good. They seem to have been mainly written for the Spectrum, and they should work without problems with any Spectrum emulator. It keeps the feel of the original Jet Set Willy games unlike some of the remakes which are for advanced players.
The gameplay is the standard Jet Set Willy, and games featured include Chuckie Egg 2, Bubble Bobble, Henrys Hoard, Dizzy to name but a few. In this game you take on the role of Maria, who has to rescue Willy after he has been kidnapped. The author, Andrew Broad, has created a number of Jet Set Willy and Manic Miner games, some of which are based around a theme, such as Lord of the Rings and a Neighbours themed Manic Miner remake! There are other Jet Set Willy remakes on the PC such as Jet Set Willy - Trash Of The Universe, and Jet Set Willy - The Need For Sleep. The gameplay is identical to the Spectrum versions but they have much improved graphics which look really good and there is a choice of different tunes. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won't, but there will almost certainly be many more remakes. My only criticism about this version is that the end of game 'foot squashing Miner Willy' sequence has been replaced with a simple 'Game Over'.
The game did technically exist and has been recently uncovered in Issue 5 of Retro Gamer magazine.
It is one of the all time classics and will probably continue to be played for the next twenty years and beyond.
Such games have been popular in the RISC OS PD scene - PushyII, for instance - but will this simplistic puzzle genre stand up in the commercial world? The in-game graphics and animation are surprisingly good, running in 640x512 in 256 colours. After cracking a few puzzles you find yourself utterly addicted, where you suffer from 'just another five minutes' syndrome.
On completion of a level, a screen is created using an assortment of blocks from the levels as a background, but unfortunately this means you can barely read the text on front of it. The manual is in black & white but has a nice high-quality front cover, not bad for a budget product. Ignoring the bad menu designs, this is an excellent game and is well worth the new improved budget price. Your mission to run around pointlessly collecting treasure, throwing an endless supply of spinning knifes at purple skinned mutants and munching on the occasional sunday roast for your health.
The graphics are rather plain, but 'splodge' is well animated with a number of humorous squidgy shapes.
It is a vertical scrolling platform game where your character takes the unique form of a blob of goo.
The game is completely drawn in vectors and the basic sound is likely to provide you with little more than a few minutes of entertainment.
It is a very simple invaders game where you have to shoot flying saucers out of the sky, pick up their power-ups and avoid their shots at you. Runs in the Desktop with the only unique feature to this version being a high-scores table in a separate window.
Very simple and amazingly irritating to control, the flight of the mosquito is something that probably won't even provide short-term excitement, unless you're a flight sim nut. Poor graphics and a messed view of physics results in the ball moving unpredictably across the screen. Swarm is a rocket pack game which has been given a new lease of life from the old-style game with nice pre-rendered graphics and a professional look. Very simple shoot-'em-up game from the makers of Starfighter3000, this is one of their first 3D efforts. You must collect the sphere, shoot the factories, then fly into the sky to complete the mission. This RISC OS version does not include ropes and it's a little easier to die, which doesn't help the cause.
The creator of this game was probably on some sort of illegal substances and the thing that makes this game not only disappointing, but insulting, is the fact that it crashes out unless you're in a 256 colour mode. However, this varies from the usual style as the bombs are already placed around the level and you have to pick up a limited number of detonators and pick which bombs you want to destroy to progress though the levels. A side effect of that is that there are fewer well-known individuals among British developers. As well as helping with The Independent Games Developers Association (TIGA)a€™s successful push for developer tax incentives in the UK, Rebelliona€™s latest game, Aliens versus Predator has gone on to sell very well indeed. My brother Chris was also a programmer by then, having made his own games and computers, so it made sense for us to combine our abilities and set something up, which we called Rebellion. It used to be possible to get a game commissioned with about 6 pages of dot matrix printed presentation and a screenshot or sketch, now it takes a huge amount of work from prototyping gameplay to concept art to technical review documents.
Nostalgia is a great thing but sometimes colours your memories and it makes you forget the horrible interfaces, the frustrating designs and the basic graphics. I really have no idea why I like this game so much, but I remember seeing it way back in about 1985 on a friend's ZX Spectrum and that was it, I was hooked. I upgraded to a BBC Micro a few years later which had a better version but after all these years and various machines the ZX Spectrum version for me is still the best.
Unfortunately the original release still contained some bugs and this meant that it was impossible to complete. The VIC 20 missed out due to memory limitations, but VIC 20 owners did get an exclusive Miner Willy game called 'The Perils Of Willy' instead. The music is different from the Spectrum version, but apart from that it's pretty much identical.
I have yet to see this version so cannot say what it is like, but would imagine it would be similar to of the others.
It also lacked the toilet in 'The Bathroom' and Maria was not present in the 'Master Bedroom' which rather defeated the object of the game.


It doesn't have all the rooms of the original Spectrum version but had more than the C16 version and had another exclusive room the 'Back Gate' where 'The Beach' would normally be. They ran a competition asking people to find the new room and the first person to tell Your Sinclair magazine where this room was located won a prize. When Willy touches the pillow the computer will take over and guide him back across the top landing into the Bathroom where he will now stick his head into the toilet! Needless to say Maria the housekeeper isn't happy about this, so as before Willy has to tidy up the mess before he can get into his bedroom.
There were rumours that this happened in the original Jet Set Willy if you let the game continue until a certain time but of course it didn't, so because of this it was incorporated into Jet Set Willy 2, where you can now sail to the deserted island in the yacht!
I remember being told a few things that happened if you did certain things, these all turned out to be false as well.
The Spectrum version gameplay was the same as the first game, and the Amstrad version was pretty much the same as the Spectrum version except for different music and graphics variations.
Perhaps they should have done this in the first place for Jet Set Willy and then the C16 version could have been the same as the C64? There is "The Fallout Shelter" which leads to the moon, and also "Ethel The Aardvark" which is another Monty Python reference.
At various points during the game the disc drive would become active and then load the next part.
It is easy to get into, and on his website the author tells the story about how this game came about and the other Jet Set Willy remakes he made. This game shows what can be created with game editors as the gameplay is different from normal.
That aside, this is an excellent remake of Jet Set Willy, and one of the best ones I've seen so far. You will need a lot of memory free on your hard drive to install this game as it hogs almost 200MB of space, which is a bit over the top for a simple bitmap platformer in my opinion. The smooth moving wizard is professionally animated and his accompanying blob is comically well animated.
By pushing the right blocks in the correct order and making the most of your 'blobby' pal in later levels you can work your way through them. My only moan with the game play is that the characters have the speed of a snail with chronic constipation, so you will find yourself rustling your hair in an impatient manner. The graphics are suitably poor for a PD game with 'Archiman' looking a bit freakish with a massive set of dentures and an uncanny resemblance to Zippy from Rainbow. This makes you very versatile as you can ooze around the platforms, catapulting yourself into the air then morph into a parachute shape and drift safely back to earth. Like all his other PD games definitely worth a play and if you liked the originals, you'll like this. A unique feature of this game is that it uses the mouse to control the main character and as you get to some of the later levels its is guaranteed to make your hand sticky with sweat.
The graphics are very attractive for a PD game, however the five missions won't last you a lifetime.
You have to collect 99 objects in order to complete the game, but whether your eyes can cope with this is another matter.
With good graphics, 40 levels and a level editor this addictive multiplayer game is one of the best on the CD.
While the US has the likes of John Carmack or Will Wright and Japan has Shigeru Miyamoto and Hideo Kojima, the UK doesna€™t have any names quite as big. Yes, the UK developer share of world-wide game sales has dropped and continues to drop as tax competition simply makes it cheaper to set up elsewhere, but things are looking up. Is it to do with the way the industry as a whole has changed, or something thata€™s shifted in UK culture?
Having said all that, I have noticed that modern games are a lot easier to play these days.
However it is well known that the game was hacked by a few people in order to enable them to complete it, and Software Projects later released these 'pokes' officially so the game could be completed. The fact you could wander around all the screens at once, not have to collect all the items on one screen to get to the next. However the pillow on the bed would kill you if you touched it and on collecting all the items if you return to the 'Master Bedroom' it would still be the same, and the pillow would still kill you.
This version doesn't have the toilet or Maria either, but I never finished it so don't know what happens when you collect all the items.
If the block is red then it means there are items in that room to be collected, if the block is green then all the items in that room have been collected. The enemies and the types of items collected are also different, plus when Willy goes to the moon he decides not to wear a spacesuit!
The delay was minimal and didn't spoil the game at all, and was a good way of getting just about all the Jet Set Willy 2 rooms into 32K. For example, Maria can fall without dying, some enemies can be touched without dying, some can't. Included is a new Jet Set Willy adventure called Party Willy, and also the original Jet Set Willy game totally mirrored so the whole game is round the other way. There are some good touches, for example as well as Willy wearing a spacesuit on the moon he also puts on his coat and gloves in the 'Cold Store'. Worse still it uses the most exotic, illegible font and once the different options are rotating round in 3D it's barely possibly to make out what they do. The impressive animation is mirrored in the bonuses and other scenery through out the game.
The large expanse of levels is split up into five different worlds with varying themes and landscapes. The sounds are also nothing special, but the occasional 'whoosh' and 'squelch' after collecting objects can be satisfying. Its basically an improvement over the first 'Splodge' game, but now it's a harder race against time and the bottom of the screen. I can only assume that the target customers are insanely rich and because of the average playabilty of the games being so poor I conclude they must also be dead. You could go anywhere at any time and have a different game each time, discovering the rooms until you found them all and then you could try to complete the game properly.
One noticeable difference in the Amstrad version is the inclusion of a high score table, something which only appears in that version. This isn't really a proper ending to the game, perhaps I missed something, but I don't think I did.
There is also Jet Set Willy in the Manic Miner gamestyle, meaning that you have to collect all the objects before you can get out of the screen, and also Manic Miner in Jet Set Willy gamestyle, where you can wander through all the Manic Miner screens without having to collect the items first.
These new versions have new and enhanced graphics and music and give a whole new JSW experience. Another good feature is that when you die you get about five second of invulnerability so you don't die again instantly.
Once you've peeled back your eyelids and flicked through the manual you can attempt to understand the menu, so onwards to the game.
The game is full of little novelties, for example the game checks your computer's internal clock and it snows in winter time. There is an item to be collected at the top of the screen, so in order to get it you need to have visited enough rooms so you can climb up the green blocks and collect the item. This collection is well worth a look as is the website, as there are a number of game editors and utilities available, plus previews of many other forthcoming games. I'm not sure whether it unbalanced the game or even if we ever played it with those rules, but the fun was in the making for me.



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