Random Game Wednesdays: Lunar Jetman (Rare Replay)

After being disappointed last week with the game the random number generator picked out for me, I thought I’d go back to an old favorite. Rare Replay has been used multiple times for Random game Wednesdays and it might be my all time favorite compilation of video games.  There’s more good on there than bad, but not everything is a winner. Surely I won’t have bad luck two weeks in a row, right?

Yeah, Lunar Jetman sucks. Rare’s 1983 follow-up to Jetpac, which is actually a game I like a lot, seemed to want to be a little more ambitious. Jetpac is a single-screen shooter where you fly around to collect parts of your ship, eventually building it and flying to the next stage. Lunar Jetman keeps the shooting and flying, but now features a scrolling level and a totally different objective.


Your goal is to bomb alien bases on the moon. You do this by transporting a large bomb over to the base and dropping it. You have a truck that you can put the bomb on, but if the terrain isn’t perfectly even, you can’t drive on it. By standing next to the truck and pushing the B button, you can create platforms that fill in gaps on the ground. This always felt really wonky though, and it took me way too long to even figure that part out.

Speaking of taking too long to figure something out, Lunar Jetman bombards you with so many enemies that you’ll likely die within seconds of starting the game, leading to me having absolutely no idea what I was doing for the majority of my playtime. Even by the time I was done playing, I had only successfully bombed one base, and then died immediately after.


At one point, I decided it might actually be easier to just fly the bomb to the base instead of dealing with the terrain, but there’s just too many enemies and you have a limited amount of fuel. Also, any time you die, you blow another hole in the ground that stays there when you respawn, so you have to patch up the ground for your truck again, making flying not worth it unless absolutely necessary. There’s also some kind of structure outside of the bases that will destroy your truck should you run into it, which is an instant game over.


I’m trying to come up with some positives to throw out there. The best I’ve been able to come up with is that the bases actually look pretty cool. There’s what appears to be a rotating missile silo on the top that has a surprisingly good 3D effect. Also, the actual concept of the game isn’t bad at all, on paper it sounds like a good way to move Jetpac forward a little bit. And that’s about it. Everything else I can come up with is overwhelmingly negative.

Rare is one of my all time favorite developers and they’ve been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. That doesn’t mean that everything they made is gold though. Lunar Jetman is definitely one of the bad ones. That being said,  I quite like that it’s included on Rare Replay. It’s really cool to see where the company came from and where they ended up. Unfortunately, that’s about the only value I see in it though, and I likely won’t be playing it again.


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