Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Budget Day - Jason's Gem (ZX Spectrum)

My search for previously unplayed games takes me to many places.  However, sometimes the games I find aren't particularly suitable for blog posts.  Sometimes they're too complicated to get into, or sometimes they're just too bland to write anything interesting about.  I play a lot of games looking for good blog fodder.

Jason's Gem has been sitting on my "to play" list for a couple of years now.  I've meant to play it and never got round to it.  That's partly because I've never played it before, and I've tended to see the name at times when I've needed a quick post.  To write about a game that's new to you, you need a bit of time.  Fortunately, today I've had some.

Aaaargh! My eyes!
The first screen of Jason's Gem is annoying and completely unnecessary.  Your spaceship glides down the screen, and you must land on a moving platform to pick up some cargo.  It's never specified what this cargo is, so unless it's your ship's laser then this irritating screen could have been left on the drawing board.

Having successfully completed this screen, I was horrified to find myself in a Lunar Lander/Caverns of Mars type of game.  Jason must not only pilot his craft to the bottom of the cave, he has to shoot his way through.  This is very difficult... you don't have much time to react and you need to be pixel perfect when moving through gaps.  To make it worse, you can leave a screen in such a position that you die instantly on the next.

That's ridiculous. Did the writers of Galaxy Quest invent this room?
Should you reach the bottom of the cave, Jason exits the ship to go exploring the cave in an attempt to find his missing gem.  I'll tell you what, that must be one hell of a gem because those caverns are terrifying!  Too terrifying for me... I was unable to negotiate my way to the end.

Jason's Gem is alright for a £1.99 game, but certainly not as good as its average rating on World of Spectrum.  I could certainly imagine myself persevering with it in 1985... it would have held up much better back then.  Now, though, it's a bit too obtuse to stick with.

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