Manic Miner (SAM)

SAM, Revelation · £9.99 disk only


Manic Miner’s so old it was probably played by primitive man in his mud hut — it hasn’t even been reviewed in the hallowed pages of CRASH. Mark Caswell resists the temptation to crack any ‘minor willy’ jokes as he enters the catacombs under CRASH Towers...

Surbiton must be the most famous town in the country (after Milton Keynes, of course). Not only was The Good Life filmed there, it’s also where Manic Miner’s set.

As the Speccy version of the game was released a decade or so ago and my memory ain’t what it used to be (who am I? what am I? why is the Ed brandishing a machette?), here’s the basic plot.



Miner Willy’s in the catacombs below Surbiton (as dug by Tom and Barbara Good while chasing their goat one Sunday afternoon) and can’t go back the way he came. But there’s a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel (the 3:58pm London to Birmingham, methinks): if Willy can conquer the 60 caves (three sets of 20) that stand in his way, peaceful Surbiton life will be his once more.

Life ain’t that simple, though (and don’t I know it, mutter, moan, whinge). There are plenty of creatures out to make sure Willy earns his angel harp and wings.

You start in one of three sets of caves, each more brain-boggling than the last. In each cave there are a set amount of objects to collect, while dodging weirdo creatures in the process, of course.


Choo! Choo! All aboard the Willy train — Oh no the bridge is gone poor old Willy can’t carry on!


There’s another obstacle in the guise of limited air — take too long to complete a cave and you’ll asfix… aspix… oh sod it, suffocate.

Once all the objects are collected in a cave, the exit flashes (and is arrested for indecent exposure), so enter the warp to attempt the next.

Revelation may seem to be scraping the bottom of the barrel this month but their three offerings are all classics. Manic Miner’s probably the best of the lot, especially as the programing team have added 40 caves to the original 20. I wholeheartedly agree with Al — the overall mark should be tripled.

The gameplay’s just as tough as in the Speccy offering of yesteryear. The risk of falling foul of the many traps in the game, as well as asphyxiation if you’re not fleet of foot, add great angst to the proceedings.

Manic Miner’s tough, make no mistake about it, but it’s a darn good game no self-respecting SAM owner should miss.

MARK — 88%


‘Oh no,’ I thought, ‘not another crap remake of a dust-covered antique game.’ It’s many a long year since Miner Willy got stuck down that mineshaft — apparently rescue attempts have been abandoned. So here he comes to battle the Kong beast and dodge ostriches yet again. And it’s extremely similar to the original Speccy release. (Cue a communal groan from all frustrated SAM players who know their wonderful machines can do so much more than this.) But hold on a mo before you jump off that tall building with SAM in hand — Manic Miner’s still a blinkin’ good game. Those 40 extra levels are all as mad and brain bashing as the original ones, so this is three times as good a game. Not bad, eh? 246%. Well, I said it’s three times as good as the original, didn’t I? Oh, all right then:

ALAN — 89%


Didn’t anybody teach this rude disembodied hand that it’s rude to point? Who cares, cue the Willy!


Do the time warp with an all-time classic platform game