If I were the type of person to judge a book by its cover then I would not have had very much to say in favour of Ricochet's new zap-the-aliens effort, Jet Pac.
The cassette inner sleeve doesn't tell you enough about how to play the game. Once loaded, a menu provides options such as joystick or keyboard controls, sound on or off or view high score table - but still nothing much about the game itself. Once you've made your selection, hit the spacebar to begin.
As a result of the poor instructions I spent the first few attempts being wiped out almost instantly by flying fireballs. It took a while, but I finally figured out how to survive.
So there you are, standing on the ground next to the bottom stage of a rocket. On a ledge above you is the middle stage and the third and final stage is on a second ledge near the top left of the screen. There's also an empty third ledge at the top right of the screen. You don't have much time to realise this before alien fireballs start flying across the screen.
Fortunately you are equipped with a jetpack for movement and a laser which obliterates them. The idea is to pick up the upper rocket stages, then fly over the first stage and drop them in place, all the while avoiding or shooting the fireballs. Other items drop down from the top of the screen at the same time. These are valuable and if you land on them your score increases. These objects come in various shapes, remain for a few seconds where they have landed - then vanish.
Once the rocket is assembled, fuel canisters start dropping at random as well as the other objects. You must collect these and position them over the rocket. Once you have successfully refuelled, you can land on the rocket and it will take you to the next screen. The number of aliens increases once the rocket is fully fuelled.
The next screen is similar, but you do not have to assemble the rocket this time, just collect the fuel. The aliens are still present, but they move differently.
The sound is loud and there's a catchy little tune which plays when you are about to start a game. The graphics are good and the hero looks a bit like Commander John Stryker, but I'm not complaining: At least he isn't an unidentifiable blob of colour.
All in all, Jet Pac turned out to be a jolly game. Even though it looks like a (very good) magazine listing, it is addictive and at £2.99, I'd be tempted to rate it alongside games such as Dunjunz when it comes down to value for money.