After the frantic, colourful space shmup that was Light Force our next game in the Your Sinclair Top 100 takes us deep under our own worlds surface. Number #25 is the classic platformer Manic Miner.
Manic Miner came from the brain of Matthew Smith in 1983, published by Bug-Byte Software and then Software Projects. It was the winner of the Golden Joystick Award from Computer & Video Games in 1983 and also picked up third place in the “Game of the Year 1983” in the very same competition. You could say this was a popular game back in then.
You play Miner Willy, the same Willy from Jet Set Willy, and whilst out mining in Surbiton Way you break into an ancient mineshaft. Here you discover the remains of an long-forgotten civilisation, who lived in peace and harmony for centuries until finally succumbing to war, they then abandoned their subterranean life. Willy not only discovers twenty caverns filled with rare & valuable metals and minerals but numerous mining robots that have never been told to stop. With a rapidly depleting air supply Willy must grab the riches and make his escape, without falling foul to the many of the aggressive underground automatons.
Manic Miner is truly a classic and here in the Your Sinclair Top 100 I completely agree with the placing of it above Jet Set Willy (JSW). Don’t get me wrong as you would have seen in the JSW review I adore that too, but Manic Miner is just that wee bit better than its sequel. Here in this world you have 20 caves to gather your flashing icons, however unlike JSW these aren’t interconnected so you don’t have any overall stress about messing it all up at the Banyan Tree; it’s compact and feels somewhat better to play. As with Jet Set Willy, Manic Miner is bright, colourful and has an annoying ditty that earworms into your brain so there’s nothing to complain about there.
Manic Miner ticks all of the boxes in what a classic ZX Spectrum game should look and play like.