Category Archives: Retro Reviews

Manic Miner : One platformer to ruler them all!

Lets start off on a good note with Manic Miner because if there’s one thing these crabbit auld bastards can still remember fondly, it’s Manic Miner!

A game as simple as they come.
You guide Miner Willy through 20 caverns of platforming goodness with left, right and jump controls.
Collect the items, avoid baddies and falls, get to the exit. ( Choppa? – Ed )
Easy, right?

Ehhh, not so much!

The beauty of this game, like so many of the era is it’s unapologetic difficulty.
Sure it eases you in with a few easy wins to get you hooked but it’s not long before it’s demanding some pretty precise platform skills.
We’re talking pixels here.

Central

You start in the central cavern which is actually harder than the second screen, the cold room.
This was due to creator Matt Smith using the central cavern as an engine test to test jumping distances etc.
Still not difficult but that’s why it’s a little more difficult than the second screen.
There, a wee bit of trivia for you!

By the time you get to even screen 3, it gets a little trickier.
It will take you several tries to beat the birds up on the top crumbling platforms while you learn their movement patterns.
By the time you get to screen 5, the infamous Eugene’s Lair, the timing required and jumping proficiency required really starts to ramp up.
The “Pac Man” level on screen 6 was like kryptonite to me for long enough!

Eugene

Manic Miner is a deeply rewarding game and considered by many as the dawn of the platform game.
Sure there were others before it but this is the one that made the “Spectrum Generation” sit up and take note.
The one that made you go looking for more platform games.

Unlike today’s nanny state games where you are constantly prompted what to do, provided assistance when you encounter difficulties and have basically no negative consequences for failure.
Manic Miner doesn’t let you see it’s deepest levels without a fight.
It gives you 3 tries and if you lose them all on the first screen, tough! It’s back to the start for you.
If you are crap, you will fail. Simple.

It is however not unfair.
Practice will yield progress and with that, immense satisfaction not unlike finally beating a boss in Dark Souls.
Granted a lot of you may not get that reference but the chances are, if you are reading a computer game review site then you probably know what dark souls is.

Manic Miner is now the ripe old age of 32 and still very playable to this day.
Sure a lot of younger gamers will be like, “Oh em geeee, WTF Lolz! What’s this shit?” but that just means their mums and dads have failed as parents. 😉