Okay we’re gonna have a bit of a problem with some people on this one but, i’ve got to say it, Bruce Lee is the king of early 8-bit platformers. I’m comparing the games on the most popular platforms they were released on (Spectrum – Manic Miner/Commodore 64 – Bruce Lee).
Released in 1983 on the Spectrum by Bug-Byte and developed by Matthew Smith, Manic Miner was released to critical acclaim. It was a very polished game with well animated graphics but the tune that played was headache inducing. But the gameplay was exceptional. Platform games at the time were rather simplistic. But this polished platforming to a fine art. Pixel perfect jumping was the order of the day. Near perfect level design. Well designed character artwork. It took a bit of time at first to beat it but once you learned where to jump to reach items it could be gone through quite quickly. It really was a classic.
Along came Bruce Lee on the Commodore 64 by Datasoft/U.S. Gold and developed by Ron J. Fortier. Released in 1984 this did everything the game above did but added two important elements, enemies that would chase after you and fight (yep, a beat-em-up platformer) and a two player mode (the second player controlled one of your enemies). To me this raised platform games to a new level. The platform game that had everything. It was easier than Manic Miner to get through to be fair on one player but when adding a friend, it was perfection. In one player it wasn’t quite as pixel perfect. The sound is quite simplistic. But I wasted more time on this in my early computer owning days than any other game, one player or two player.
These games were released on other computers and all conversions are fairly good.
So what was your best platform game of the time?
We’ve also got these available for purchase on our website at www.retrogamesandfilms.com