Manic Miner – ZX Spectrum Review

Retro Resolution Retro Review

System: ZX Spectrum
Developer: Matthew Smith
Year: 1983
Publisher: Software Projects (original release), Bug Byte (re-release)

Manic Miner - Eugene's Lair. Image: Retro Resolution

In the early days of video games, long before production required teams numbered in the tens or the hundreds, on rare occasions certain magical titles and their authors become synonymous with the systems for which they wrote. Carmack and Romero, the IBM PC: Doom. Shigeru Miyamoto, the Nintendo Entertainment System: Super Mario Bros. Matthew Smith, the ZX Spectrum: Manic Miner.

Indisputably iconic and absolutely legendary, Matthew Smith and his Miner Willy created a sensation in 1983 with the archetypal platform game; Manic Miner beckons you to traverse twenty single-screen caverns, each encompassing wonderfully distinctive and splendidly animated sprites, precise and cunning platform designs, and intricately crafted enemy movement patterns.

Matthew Smith - legend. Image: Jontintinjordan

By no means his first commercial release (that honour falls to the little-known TRS-80 title Delta Tower One) Smith’s pioneering magnum opus impresses from the off, presenting a cleverly animated loading screen utilising the Spectrum’s Flash command to alternately display the legend ‘Manic’ and ‘Miner’ in massive, colourful, and chunky (yet friendly) text.

Manic Miner - Spectrum animated loading screen

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