I've been in a real gaming funk lately. My two wireless 360 controllers broke within a day of each other, so I went over a week without the 360 as I waited for my new one to arrive in the post. I couldn't be bothered with any of my PC games, and I really couldn't be bothered to hook up any of my old systems. The iPhone did provide some moments of respite, but... y'know.
Then, on Saturday, my new 360 controller arrived... and I just couldn't stand any of the games I tried to play! Disc after disc was thrown in and ripped back out in minutes, if that, as my malaise seeped into the core of my gaming persona. I needed something that was a quick blast, to try and re-ignite my fires. And so I turned to one of the first games I bought for my 360... JetPac Refuelled.
Lasers are pretty.
JetPac, of course, was one of the Spectrum's all-time classic games. Released by the legendary Ultimate, it was a single-screen shoot 'em up where you played a spaceman who had to rebuild a variety of spaceships whilst fending off the hostile natives with your blaster. It was great fun, and one of the games I really coveted as a Commodore 64 owner.
I was over the moon when I bought my 360 and found JetPac Refuelled on the XBLA Marketplace. I bought it without so much as looking at a single review. And I wasn't disappointed... not only was it a great piece of blasting action, it also contained the original JetPac! It was the best of both worlds on my 360, and I really enjoyed it.
...aaaaand we're outta here.
Of course, with my 360 being new, I was distracted by the shinies... new and lovely-looking games were everywhere, and JetPac Refuelled was soon shoved to the back of my mind as I indulged myself in the finest games the modern generation had to offer. But it was never forgotten...
A few months ago, I got back into the game in an attempt to pick up one of the achievements that I really felt I ought to have... Retro Cyclist, given for completing the original game. The old-schooler in me wouldn't let it rest until I had that one. I'd grown up playing that game, even if it was just on mates' Speccys. There was no way I was going to let it beat me. And though I found a couple of the sixteen levels bastard-hard, it finally fell to me after a few days of trying.
This is how we kick it old-school.
And then I left the game alone again.
I certainly had unfinished business with it, though. I don't think I'd ever really played it properly, or concentrated hard enough, and so my games had finished far short of where they should have. And then, whilst reading up on the game on TrueAchievements, I spotted something that I'd never noticed before. The game has a smart bomb!
It was no wonder I wasn't getting as far as I should, or scoring as highly as I should. There are times when JetPac Refuelled overwhelms you, with tons of enemies on-screen at a time. It's actually one of the game's little flaws... in taking advantage of the power of the modern system, there's actually too much going on at times, and occasionally you or your enemies get lost in the backgrounds, which leads to the odd unnecessary and frustrating death. I think that was what had put me off going back to it, in part. But the discovery of the smart bomb changed that.
When the enemy numbers increase, sparks will fly.
And so, after an hour or so this afternoon, three more achievements have fallen to me... Survivalist, for reaching level ten without dying; Robo Rocket, for building the ship on level thirteen; and Millionaire Man, for, ummm, getting a million points. I'm happy with that... that's over 600,000 better than my previous high score.
It's amazing what finding out one little extra game mechanic can do for you. Having said that, I kind of learned how to play the game properly as well, learning not to fly recklessly around the screen, timing my excursions better and bunny-hopping around the ship with a fuel canister to hand when things looked dangerous. It's opened the game up, and I can now see myself cracking on with it in an attempt to finish the game.
Peeeoooowwwww! That's what a smart bomb'll do for you!
JetPac Refuelled is a lovely update of a classic game, at a great price (400 Microsoft Points). It's pretty much a must-have for anyone's 360, and I'm very happy to have re-re-discovered it. It's knocked me out of my gaming funk and, as you can see, out of my writing/blogging funk too. That's good, because I've got some projects I need to crack on with...