At a Glance: After painting my house by dropping a single bead of paint and blowing it across a surface, I came to the realization that my life was slowly running out of tedious things to do. The hairs on my head had been counted and the grass had been cut using a tiny thread scissors. My only choice left is to play some Solar Jetman.
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here - 192k)
Download: Download ROM here - 64k
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Game Plot Our story begins with our hero, Solar Jetman, losing something important. The Golden Warpship has been stolen, a ship capable of doing so much that it's never really mentioned. Apparently some aliens were bopping along in space and totally T-boned it on its last mission. Instead of paying for the damages like a good space citizen, they just stole it, disassembled it, and spread it across the universe. You have no choice but to retrieve your ship from their greedy hands before they use it take over the planet or a karaoke night (depending the powers of the ship). This isn't a very pressing danger considering they are the ones who had the bright idea of tearing it apart before they threatened the galaxy with it. If this isn't enough motivation I'll make one up: the Golden Warship still has your Foghat eight tracks in it.
To get back the pieces of your Warship you have to navigate the one thing as cold as my ex-girlfriend's heart/vagina/canned ovaries in my freezer: space. Since I trust that all of you have sound minds, I take it on faith that none of you will approach this game even if it has a "free burritos if you touch this" sign above it. For everyone else, let me explain something. Space is exactly like earth except you can't breath in it. For reasons unknown to science this causes your spaceship to continue in whatever direction you start moving. So let's say you want to move left and you're inside some small space. To use an example that all of you may be familiar with, let's say you're firmly wedged inside my comedic range. To your immediate left is a "&in your heart" joke and to the right is some gimmick like "what if I write this Rom Pit like I'm a paraplegic grandpa pirate?" If you use your thrusters to get away from one joke you will slam straight into the other side unless you push backwards. This very long and stupid explanation is to tell you that for every move you make in this game, you will have to undo so you don't explode. Analysis: Stupid. Further Analysis: Moving anywhere is extremely tedious.
To combat the terrible game play Solar Jetman tries desperately to interject humor whenever it can like a kid trying to fit in. An example of their drive to wackiness is seen in making the treasures you retrieve french fries or "fancy alien items". Although a hoot with your dad, these little tidbits go over like a knife lodged firmly in your skull at a social gathering. It only gets worse when you've just spent ten minutes piloting your space jalopy to your mothership just to have it explode right before you land.
Enemies: Every single enemy in the game is a rebel with a cause: killing you. Since they've achieved this ranking, all in-game rules that bind you do not apply to them. Enemies can locate you and shoot you from off screen. Your alien enemies can travel through walls. They can appear out of nowhere and disappear into nowhere. Their weapons can kill you in one hit unless you have your shield on. They know your marching band nickname and will tell your girlfriend as soon as you leave her alone. Basically, the aliens have powers and skills way beyond what your feeble human mind can comprehend.
Let's move onto the real enemy of this game: the reason why it exists. I can't shake the feeling that this game is the result of those jerks that always crop up around sci-fi movies. "There's no way he could survive that" they say, or "how does he eat and breathe, and other science facts?" Those two movies about Mars, Solar Jetman, and a trashbin full of short stories involving the deadly conflict of getting dust off your visor are all your fault. Way to go, captain science.
Weapons: Your initial weapons are your force field and your gun, the latter being completely useless unless fired wildly in a Last Starfighterish Death Blossom maneuver. The shield allows you to survive a bit longer, but honestly, is that a good thing when you're playing this game?
When you travel between worlds (and only if the gods fancy you), you will be given the chance to purchase some new weapons to aid you on your gigantic fetch space quest. You can launch these weapons while holding up and the attack button. Considering you're always correcting your flight patterns so you don't slam into something, you might as well be teaching the missile how to attack with obedience classes then shoving the missile out of your pod with your bare hands.
Levels: Each world is monstrously huge for a NES game, especially one where getting your paper from the front lawn might as well involve slaying a dragon and riding it's intestines like a sled to your mailbox. Items are scattered around this giant map in increasingly complex routes, all of which have to be swung into a warp zone or brought straight back to your mothership.
Bonus stages appear like boils at the end of each level where you are forced to collect diamonds. Avoid these. Avoid this game.
Bosses: There are no bosses of the usual kind, but I like to imagine that the walls and ceilings are a boss. They follow standard boss rules by being barely beatable and programmed specifically to make you miserable unless you cheat.
Defining Moment: Watching my Solar Jetman's butt explode over and over again.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).