Moby ID: 14600
ZX Spectrum Specs
Conversion (official) Conversion (unofficial) Included in See Also

Description official descriptions

Jetman has crash-landed on a distant planet, with ledges suspended in mid-air and populated by various nasties, and he must escape and find his way home. Your first task is to retrieve each of the three parts of his spaceship, in order, and carry them over the base part. After this, you must collect enough fuel to be able to fly away, again by picking it up and dropping it over the ship (you don't have to actually make contact with the ship in doing this). Once you've filled the ship up, you can fly on to the next level, in which you must again refuel.

Each level contains various bad guys, with different attack patterns; you have a laser to shoot them for points, and must avoid contact with them. Diamonds can be collected for bonus points, and you get an extra life after every 10,000 points.


  • Jet Pac - Alternative spelling

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Credits (ZX Spectrum version)

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Average score: 80% (based on 12 ratings)


Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 40 ratings with 4 reviews)

Tricky Fun

The Good
I like the simple, pick-up-and-play gameplay. The controls are simple and responsive, the graphics fairly sharp and quick; generally the whole simplicity.

The Bad
Like most early games, the difficulty curve is a bit off in that the game starts a tad too hard, too fast. It also suffers from being highly repetitive. The only replay value comes from trying to beat a set high score.

The Bottom Line
This is an early title by Rare Inc. (later responsible for the Donkey Kong series and Nintendo64 gems GoldenEye 007 & Perfect Dark). Interesting to see where their roots lie in this game and others -- they originally programmed arcade machines and this game shows it. Anyway, good simple fun that is OK for a few minutes but gets old fast.

ZX Spectrum · by Tom White (12) · 2004

A very good version of Jetpac, but with some faults

The Good
Contrary to what some people might think, Jetpac was not Ultimate’s debut title. That honor goes to Dingo, an arcade game nobody has heard of. The company decided that arcade titles were not their thing, and started turning their attention to the ZX Spectrum. One of Jetpac’s selling points was its simplicity.

As Jetman, you need to gather parts of your rocket ship and drop them down into your rocket ship. When you manage to get all the parts, you must also get some fuel canisters to power it up. Once you have collected these as well, you then make your way inside the rocket and fly off to the next level. Sounds easy? Think again. Flying through the screen are various nasties that must be avoided at all costs. Items can be collected for bonus points. Originally released for the ZX Spectrum, the game was later ported to the VIC-20 and BBC Micro.

Although using the joystick makes controlling Jetpac much easier, it is good that Ultimate catered to those users without one. The game’s low resolution means that the sprites are quite big, and there are a lot of zingy sound effects as you thrust and blast your way through each level. The animations are very good; I like how the rocket flashes pink to indicate that you can enter it, and the launching of the rocket – complete with thruster engines – is spot on.

The Bad
The VIC-20 version is quite difficult. You always start each level on the bottom-most platform, which appears to be invisible, and you can’t get up to the higher ones without losing a life, as too many enemies are blocking the way up.

There is also some poor collision detection in some places. When a fuel canister is dropping down, sometimes it won’t connect with Jetman and you are forced to get said canister before another one can appear. There are even times when, while shooting at an enemy, my shot will go straight through it rather than destroying it.

The Bottom Line
Jetpac is a timeless classic that anyone should have in their collection. The VIC-20 version of the game is quite good, but it suffers from its high difficulty and questionable collision detection. Rare’s owner, Microsoft, looked back through Ultimate’s catalog once upon a time and found out that its simplicity was why it was successful, and released a remake only for Xbox 360, leaving PC users to go find one somewhere else.

VIC-20 · by Katakis | カタキス (43087) · 2020

Great game, and good looking to (even though it’s on the Spectrum)

The Good
Jetpac fits the Spectrum. Most Spectrum games suffered from the attribute clash making graphics messy or monochrome. Jetpac looks great and doesn’t show much attribute problems. It’s an old game but still feels good. The control of the character is very tight and good. Many consider Jetpac to be one of the finest games on the Spectrum and I have to agree.

The Bad
I dislike that there isn’t an ending. Typical of most early 80’ies computer games you start at the first stage again when you have reached the end. But other than that it is hard for me to find any problems with the game.

The Bottom Line
Jetpac is a platformer and a shoot’em’up. It is also an adventure and probably one of the best games of the early 80’ies.

ZX Spectrum · by Nakre Nakresson (68) · 2006

[ View all 4 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

Jetpac appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


Rare included a version of Jetpac in the Nintendo 64 release Donkey Kong 64. Players could unlock the game by finding 15 banana medals. Taking a picture of 6 Banana Fairies unlocks the game for regular play in the "Mystery Menu" option.


  • ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment)
    • March 1991 (issue #42) - Included in the list Greatest Games of all Time in category Shoot-'em-ups (editorial staff choice)
  • Computer and Video Games
    • Golden Joystick Award 1983: Winner Game of the Year
  • Retro Gamer
    • September 2004 (Issue #8) – #52 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)


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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Martin Smith.

BBC Micro added by S Olafsson. VIC-20 added by Servo.

Additional contributors: Guy Chapman, karttu, Patrick Bregger, Jo ST, FatherJack, ZeTomes.

Game added August 31, 2004. Last modified June 6, 2024.