Jetpac was a popular game for the ZX Spectrum, a computer that didn't receive much attention in North America but certainly had its fans in Europe. This 1983 shooter was developed by the company we now know as Rare, which is bringing Jetpac back as an updated Xbox Live Arcade game called Jetpac Refuelled. This basic game receives some nice updates in its "refuelled" mode, but it's still best suited for those who hold some shred of nostalgia for the original game.
Your goal in Jetpac Refuelled is to build a rocket by collecting the two upper pieces of the rocket, which are strewn around the level. Then, when fuel boxes fall from the sky, you must collect and bring them to your ship. Once six fuel boxes have been collected, you can enter the rocket and blast off to the next level. You build a new rocket only after completing four levels with your existing rocket, so the three levels after each rocket-assembly level only have you collecting fuel. This is a side-view game, and you get around with the D pad or analog stick, and by hitting the triggers on the controller, which activate your jet boost to fly around the level. There are enemies spawning at a fairly consistent rate, so you'll have to blast a lot of bad guys with your lasers. If things get too hectic, you can also pop off a screen-clearing smart bomb, but these are, as you'd expect, limited. There are 128 levels in the refuelled mode, and this mode gets very hard as you progress through the game. Luckily, you can start new games from any rocket-assembly level that you've previously visited. Without that, seeing the end of the game would seem like an impossibility. You can also play the game in retro mode, which is a pretty spot-on version of the original 1983 release. Both versions of the game are fun in that simple, arcade game way that makes them hard to put down once you get going.
Jetpac Refuelled has a multiplayer mode, which lets two players compete locally or via Xbox Live. In this mode, the goal is to each build a rocket and then fight over the fuel drops. The first player to fuel his or her rocket and take off ends the level, receiving a point bonus. The game is played on a timer, with settings that range from five to 20 minutes. The refuelled mode has some nice 2D graphics that are bright, crisp, and colorful. The game also has a peppy, upbeat soundtrack with decent sound effects as well.
The player most likely to enjoy Jetpac Refuelled is one who has nostalgic feelings for the original. But when you consider that the full game clocks in at the 400 point ($5) level, it's cheap enough to make a good impulse purchase for anyone who enjoys the classic arcade games also available on Xbox Live Arcade.