Faster Harder More Challenging Q*Bert(Arcade) FAQ by Andrew Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org version 1.0.0 copyright (2002-)2006 by Andrew Schultz email@example.com Please do not reproduce for profit without my consent. You won't be getting much profit anyway, but that's not the point. This took time and effort, and I just wanted to save a memory of a great game and the odd solutions any way I could. Please send me an email referring to me and this guide by name if you'd like to post it on your site. ================================ OUTLINE 1. INTRODUCTION 2. CONTROLS 3. STRATEGIES 4. WALKTHROUGH 5. VERSIONS 6. CREDITS ================================ 1. INTRODUCTION Faster Harder More Challenging Q*Bert(FHMC) is a take-off on the popular classic Q*Bert. The board is still the same, as is the object--move Q*Bert diagonally across a triangle of squares and turn them all the target color. But some of the enemies are different or behave differently, which makes the game rather wretched to play. And the way you fill in squares on the pyramids can get tougher from round to round. For instance, Sam and Slick don't just change colors back, they change it to a rainbow, which looks cooler but is even worse. You need Coily or Q*Bertha to step on it to change it--back to the original color. This isn't bad early on but later when you need to jump on squares and not touch them again, it makes letting S&S go nearly fatal. And who is Q*Bertha? A bigger purpler version of Q*Bert who also sometimes undoes his work. It's slightly scary. But not as scary as when Q*Bertha has to land on a S&S-infested square TWICE.Fortunately the level shows you what to do at the beginning, but you will be treading water a LOT unless you use save states on an emulator to see what goes where next. Even still, you will make mistakes, but it is a nice puzzle if you can't ever lose too badly. But unfortunately as things stand, even for the bonus round, the best plans seem to be just waiting somewhere and then making a flurry of activity-- making the game less spontaneous than the original Q*Bert. Running around aimlessly isn't even fun here as it gets you in a worse mess than when you started. Oh and just to be mean they don't give you as many ways to score, and it takes more points to get an extra life. Nasty, nasty. 2. THE BASICS 2-1. CONTROLS You can move diagonally from one cube to another. You can jump off the structure safely only if a disc is to the left/right. You are slightly faster than your enemies or the green balls that drop down. 2-2. MAKING THEM COMFORTABLE If you are using the standard arrows for controls, you will have to hold the keyboard at a 45 degree clockwise angle. This creates a lot of errors you don't want, especially since the arrows on most keyboards aren't in a comfortable square. But wait! You don't have to do that! With any arcade game emulated on MAME you have the option to change the keys around--specific to that game--and so here's what I did. (P) to pause (TAB) to bring up a menu Go to Input(this game) Highlight P1 right, hit enter, hit L Highlight P1 left, hit enter, hit U Highlight P1 up, hit enter, hit O Highlight P1 down, hit enter, hit J Now you have the diagonal movements defined as follows: U O \ / * / \ J L Use two left fingers for the UL/DL and two right for the UR/DR and you should be comfortable. You can pick tetrads of other letters if you want, i.e. R I \ / * / \ F J or... T U \ / * / \ G H Whatever's most comfortable for you. 2-3. SCORING 25 points for each square turned the right color 300 for Sam/Slick 100 for the green ball 100 for Sam/Slick in the bonus, 750 for the extra squares turned solid On level X you start out with a bonus of 600x+400. You lose 200 each time you take a disc, but you'll probably be gaining 600 when Coily falls off. Extra guys at 10000, 30000, 50000, etc. Default high scores are below: 1) TJD 5000 2)RTM 4500 3) SHH 4000 4)MFH 3500 5) JDF 3000 6)TKP 2500 7) JAS 2000 8)THH 1850 9) FDA 1700 10)DAY 1650 11) JOB 1600 12)DDT 1550 13) LEE 1500 14)wBD 1450 15) ZAP 1400 16)NAB 1350 17) JUN 1300 18)HFR 1250 19) RON 1200 20)FXS 1150 21) DLB 1100 22)CPB 1050 23) SAM 1000 Q*Bertha always moves diagonal-up towards you if she can. If you are 2U she always goes UR and 2D she goes DL. 3. STRATEGIES Once you develop a good strategy for one level it invariably has to be tweaked for the next. I might even advise just trying to get through levels the first time by suiciding whenever necessary. S&S do take a while to appear so you can plan that--or a trip off the discs. (floating discs--6 you-moves per theirs on round 1, then 3 per) --You can loop around instead of going to a corner and waiting for Q*Bertha-- also you can let her follow you to the top to get rid of anything pesky. --Wait 2D of the top if you're close to the end but S&S haven't shown for a while. They will. --Taking out the very bottom corners works well as does going along the bottom, much like regular Q*Bert. Then you will want to cover the center and finally the upper sides since a lot of traffic goes through the sides-- Q*Bertha is bound to go there. --Patience is most important here for the early levels. Don't try to do too much at once. --See my Q*Bert walkthrough for how to clear levels w/o Q*Bertha and the "enhanced" S&S. Once you've mastered that, this game may be easier. --S&S hang in the air just long enough for you to jump on where they are before they land--this saves a square turning the wrong color. --the pattern is 2 S&S's, 1 ball, and later it seems to be 3-1. You almost have to get the green ball on later levels. --if there are lots of bottom squares the wrong color, don't let Q*Bertha jump off yet. The nastiest squares to redo are those on the bottom, for which you must let Q*Bertha tail you very closely. Squares nearer the top are much easier to turn back. It's rough math to decide when to bump her off but if you are able to do so with S&S hanging around at the top, you can really make things easy on yourself(they can for 2 moves) 4. WALKTHROUGH I consider a walkthrough up through level 7 as complete, as nobody in their sane mind could be expected to complete that level. Having said this I will be worried one day if I start poking around and things actually work out. Let's just say that if you get to level 7 on your own you probably don't need this FAQ, and what's more, I'm not going to apologize for the insanity crack because you are probably smart enough to figure out that it was borne out of frustration anyway. You're probably smart enough to be able to tell me a better coping mechanism, which might help me with some tough issues at work, which can be almost as mindbending as this game. 4-1. LEVEL 1 Nothing too tricky here for Q*Bert fans. You just need to be aware of the moving discs. Also, how to change the tiles varies between rounds. 4-1-1. ROUND 1 Pink->blue Typical old Q*Bert except the discs in the DL and DR go up every six moves(assuming you don't pause) so you need to be prepared for that. Best to get Coily coming at you from below and then jump another UR/UL if you need to. Take out the corners when he's not there. You'll probably need to trap Coily only once. 4-1-2. ROUND 2 dk blue->brown->yellow Now you have to jump on each square twice. Same strategy as in Q*Bert Level 2--take out the corners, then go for the main part. You may have to goad Coily off 2 or 3 times once he is at the bottom. No Sam or Slick here which is a nice relief. 4-1-3. ROUND 3 white<->green Ah now the fun starts. You change a square back if you step on it a second time! The same strategies as in Q*Bert Level 3 apply, though you need to be careful about timing. Ugg and Wrong-Way will make things tricky, but when things get tough you always have a disc to jump on. Then you can connect the dots between any two white squares--don't try to carve out white squares as you go, i.e. . . . . . . . . . . . . . b . . a . . . . . . . . . . . If a and b are the only whites left, make it to point a, then UR UR UR UR DR DR and UL's back to where you started. You may have to repeat this several times to take care of business. Obviously if you have two white squares together you can just step on them. You can also wait for a disc if you plan carefully enough or bounce forward(DL DL UR DL and wait) so that Coily will follow you where you need. 4-1-4. ROUND 4 black->blue<->white DR 6UL DL DR UR DR UL DL UL and you have the left bit cleared off--get a disc in the upper part(or on the left) and try again with the left, though you may be able to beat Coily into the DL where you can move around quite a bit. Then keep clearing out the center--no Sam and Slick but you may wish to use a disc or two on Coily to keep him in check, then repair whatever damage you did to the side. Remembernot to be too hasty as if a ball forces you to jump one way, do so--you can make it up quickly enough. 4-2. LEVEL 2 Oh dear. If you thought Sam and Slick were annoying in Q*Bert, FHMC is even worse. Per the introduction: 1. Sam and Slick turn a brick a weird color 2. Q*Bert can't change it 3. Only Coily can, back to the original So now you need to keep Coily on the board as he runs around! Lead him on the path to cover where Sam and Slick are going. You may, if you lose a guy, have to go up to 2D of the start and catch Sam and Slick as they fall and duck everything else. You will see them before they fall. Also the green ball doesn't help here if you still have S&S's remains. What's worse, while Coily is following you around, Sam and Slick strike again. New players could do worse than get killed before S&S fall, but if you can lead coily in a circle at/near the very top when you guess S&S are about to come down, you may be able to progress. I'd say they come down every 20-30 jumps or so but I can't be specific. However if you get the green ball with everything clearable(go to the bottom first BTW as those individual squares are much less likely to be touched later) then you really have an advantage--another perk of staying near the top. But it is also useful to hit a disc immediately after Coily makes everything clearable if possible too. Just keep near the top at first to catch and S&S before it drops. The key is landing on the square in the 2nd row before he does.p 4-2-1. ROUND 1 blue->purple I found this to be easy especially since I was able to get on the disc when Sam/Slick first appeared. Basically I went along the bottom a bit and cut halfway through to the top. I also recommend, if you knock Coily off the first time, that you wait for Sam/Slick to jump down. You have enough time to see when they do, so just drop onto the square and wait for them--they'll be a bit to the left or right. 4-2-2. ROUND 2 blue->yellow->pink You probably can't help if the first Sam/Slick comes down and messes things up. You have too much to cover. So just go to a corner and clear as much of that out as possible and work the bottom--Coily will not appear for a while. Remember that S&S will cause squares to turn in an orderly fashion, and so when Coily appears you can position yourself so he follows you up the "contaminated" squares. There's a green ball that seems to appear right before S&S do, so if you've used your time well you can finish the board while it's still blinking from the ball--or you can just wait under where S&S will drop. You will probably have to do some damage control and waiting around with the rest of the board finished and a few squares contaminated, though. For that, wait 2D of the start to make sure more S&S's don't ruin your work. 4-2-3. ROUND 3 blue->black->white Here though the scheme is the same(2x on the same square, no rotate) S&S come down more frequently and so if you are unable to catch them right away you will have a lot to clear--the big problem is that, if one of them gets to the bottom, it takes time to get Coily to jump on the squares, after which the next gets to the bottom, and the only thing that breaks the chain is a green ball--and if you get a green ball, Coily can't help you change the squares back. Still, get the green ball and concentrate on any contaminated squares. If you can clear out a diagonal and a corner 3-pyramid and then muck about near the center to catch the first S&S you will save yourself a lot of grief later. There'll be another, then the green ball. However, there may be too many enemies on the board for you just to proceed up and paths S&S may create so you need to be prepared to duck and break off chunks of a few squares at a time for each Coily that appears. 4-2-4. ROUND 4 yellow<->blue A green ball comes down fairly quickly here, just after a S&S so if you can catch the S&S pretty high up you are in good shape. Go down one side and don't worry about completeness--clear out a lot of the bottom and chase S&S when it comes down. You should be more concerned with net squares turned blue than any specific collection. After you drop Coily the first time you can touch any isolated yellow square and walk back over the blues you used to get there, and that fixes it. Then pick off other isolated yellows. It's worth it to track down the green ball, too, as even squares you turned yellow can quickly turn back blue. S&S are actually less of a bother here on the previous level since you only have to go down the given path once after Coily goes back on it. The main problem in this game is that there are just a lot of enemies floating around and that makes 2-color flipflop levels like this less difficult than 3-color ones. 4-x. BONUS ROUND The bonus round is rather interesting--how to maximize points? It's like a big old biblical plague of frogs with S&S's jumping down everywhere. You'll probably see the rules, but anyway: S&S turn black or blue squares half-blue and when you jump on the half-blue square, it turns blue. But there are so many of them that they can overwhelm you. I usually just concentrate on one side, catching S&S's on the right and then moving to the left and defending the touched squares on the very side. With a few seconds left I move up from the bottom and start playing defense on what I was able to cover, and I am usually able to get 5 or 6 or so. Fortunately it's not critical. But what disturbs me is that the "lazy" strategy of letting enemies fall and then going up the left side and waiting in the UL gets more points than activity, and it makes me feel I may be missing something else. 4-3. LEVEL 3 Here you are introduced to Q*Bertha, who seems to have a crush o Q*Bert and undoes all the work he did! It's obviously critical to use a disc to get her to jump off the board ASAP. And furthermore you will probably see that, for your first trip down, you'll want to work on one side and move to the other so that she undoes relatively little of your work. 4-3-1. ROUND 1 white->blue Here if you are quick you can outwit Q*Bertha and just have to use one disc, but if you must, you can wait around and drop her off the second disc when you should cruise. The usual strategy of picking the corners when no-one's around should serve you well. Just don't let her run around the board too much before dropping--it's not like suckering Coily when you are waiting for Sam/Slick or the green ball. 4-3-2. ROUND 2 blue->white->grey More of the same although this time you will not be able to escape so soon. What is rough about Q*Bertha is that she changes finished squares back to the original color, so when in doubt, just try to cover every square once before covering completing squares--less work potentially lost that way. You may also wish to note where Q*Bertha falls and leave the squares just above her untouched for the moment. I've completed this level after dumping Q*Bertha twice but it requires exact play. Count on three or four times and be patient with the red balls--if you have to run around them to wait for a disc, so be it. You may also want to run Q*Bertha around a circle for general strategic purposes--she'll turn fewer squares that way. 4-3-3. ROUND 3 brown<->yellow OK, it gets a bit confusing here, but again you will have plenty of time to pick off the sides before the first Q*Bertha comes by. Unfortunately she doesn't turn brown squares yellow but as before you can pick off the sides, then individual squares(I go 6DR, UL and DL and the next time 5DR and back UL) when she is gone and gradually pave over the squares where she wasn't. The general strategy for Q*Bert again works here and she is only a moderate confounder as squares you didn't want to change get changed with or without her. However the farther up you can lead Q*Bertha the better as that leaves fewer squares off to the side that you have to flip when you are free of her and the other monsters. Leaving you a free hand with the good stuff. 4-3-4. ROUND 4 yellow->blue<->pink Safety first is again the key here. You'll expect a lot of slow progress as the board fills up with pink squares and it makes sense not to fill the top bits in until the last possible moment. Judicious suicide may work well here. But for the first foray you should try to clear out 5 in the left corner i.e. + + + + + Then the ones in the right corner. Keep Q*Bertha in the center and if you can survive a green ball should come down eventually. Use it. In addition it is that much more important here to try to catch a disk on the side Q*Bertha is on near the end--she needs X fewer step to get to you, meaning that many fewer squares she'll change that you'll jump on later. Here a suicide with two squares left and Q*Bertha's ball at the bottom is a very reasonable thing to do if you just want to pass the level. However, with green balls floating around and no Sam/Slick you may be able to pass the time and just jump on enough discs to get a green ball, which will buy you enough time to step on the right squares if you're quick. 4-4. LEVEL 1 Now Sam and Slick join the fun and Q*Bertha, like Coily, is the only one who can change the squares they contaminate back to normal. Of course, the squares are changed back to the starting color, which means her love for Q*Bert is that much less likely to be requited, but the game would shift from obnoxiously hard to very easy if the latter happened. 4-4-1. ROUND 1 blue->pink This first level isn't too bad. I was able to clear out most of the board and then just wait for the S&S at the top. Then I led Q*Bertha to the top and jumped her off with a disc, leaving the rest as rather easy. You can afford to wait for S&S and in fact 2-color non-flip levels should be pretty trivial by now. 4-4-2. ROUND 2 purple->yellow What's this? The same sort of scheme? Yeah, but Sam and Slick come down faster. You can't really wait for them any more, so you have to use Q*Bertha's dubious attempts at help. Again if you are able to pitch her off just as Sam/Slick appears on top, or if you have everything nearly cleared except for something in row 2 and you can lead her to the top, that is the best way to finish the level. If a S&S makes it all the way down you may just want to have Q*Bertha clear part of their mess and save cleaning the rest for after the next disc. S&S's will fall continuously and if you remember the pattern of Sam/Slick/Green Ball it can help you decide when to bounce Q*Bertha around and when to just jump on a disc. There's no exact science to it unless you memorize the move order(which is a silly idea--general strategies instead.) 4-4-3. ROUND 3 blue->yellow<->pink The first time through don't worry about S&S but try to lead Q*Bertha over the paths they made as usual. Fortunately Q*Bertha only undoes your squares once and you may be able to get the first green ball to win. While it takes longer, there's nothing really to add in the way of strategy. 4-4-4. ROUND 4 green->blue<->white Here Q*Bertha knocks a square back two colors, so you may just want to pick a side to lead her over to and clear that out. And of course get her off the playfield as quickly as usual. If you must duck other monsters, try to get her running in a circle over squares she's already touched. You'll also really want to avoid clearing the sides since that is where Q*Bertha goes and, again, you want to try to sucker her up to the top, on squares you have to go down through anyway. Try to leave her 1 square behind you especially when you need her to jump on certain squares, and remember that if you have Sam/Slick coming down while she is chasing you, a lot can get undone. If youi are able to use the disc right when S&S appear(i.e. if they haven't been around for a while and you can loop in a general area) that'll give you a head start clearing the rest of the board. You need some feel for the last time a little green guy came down and particularly how many green guys came down--if it is 2/3 then the next will be a green ball, which is very good and worth waiting for. When the ball expires, position yourself so that you can get on a disc quickly. 4-5. LEVEL 1 With finished squares flipping back, you can imagine that this level is tougher than the previous, but only really in magnitude. There aren't any really new innovations and you just need to get Q*Bertha to wipe out more of the S&S's work. 4-5-1. ROUND 1 white<->grey Here you have to deal with Q*Bertha again, but now you can't step on the finished squares. Basically when you've cleared all the squares you can, or close to it, don't get surgical to wipe one more out. Play center field to catch Sam/Slick on row 2/3 then dump Q*Bertha--unless she comes down first. 4-5-2. ROUND 2 The second S&S comes right after the first. But after that you have free sailing for quite a while. That allows you to goad Q*Bertha where you need her. There's even a green ball next which can make this very easy. But the next level gets worse. 4-5-3. ROUND 3 pink ^ blue->grey Because Q*Bertha steps on a square to turn it pink here. Again there is the disclaimer about not completing an upper side area unless you have to, and get to the side and dump her quickly in any case. The game also stops hinting so overtly when the discs change here so you may need to keep count of things internally. You can see it, but it is very difficult. 4-5-4. ROUND 4 blue->purple<->yellow Finally you don't get kicked back to the original color, but you do get penalized for stepping on a square again. Q*Bertha doesn't change blues but she still is frustrating. This is similar enough to 4-4-4 that it doesn't deserve much further comment. 4-6. LEVEL 1 Not appreciably different from the previous, qualitatively. You still need Q*Bertha to step on the mess S&S made, but there are MORE S&S. Q*Bertha also changes all matched squares back to the original. Other than that those green boingy bastards now sometimes leak to the corner, where you have to time luring Q*Bertha to the corner so she can jump there, and then you need to go BACK. Ugh. 4-6-1. ROUND 1 Yellow->blue 4-6-2. ROUND 2 Blue->white->green 4-6-3. ROUND 3 grey<->blue 4-6-4. ROUND 4 pink->blue<->yellow This is an even harder level and worse the discs seem to run out. You may have to sacrifice guys just to get through. I was saving states like crazy and it still didn't do any good. At this point you really have to cheat and wait at the top for S&S to fall and get on the square before they do. 4-7. LEVEL 7 Sam/Slick jumps on a square to turn it black. Then Q*Bertha must jump on it twice. Fortunately she does not change the squares you jump on, for the first two rounds anyway. Again you need to wait for S&S near the top after clearing off a few squares. If they land on a 2nd-top square, no biggie to cycle Q*Bertha around, but if they leak down it's almost impossible. Again I can't really offer comment here other than that it's more fun but still tough with save states or infinite lives. And since this is a prototype(incomplete) I'm going to pass off my walkthrough as incomplete at least for the moment once you complete level 7. It's too ha-a-a-a-ard. Waaah. 4-7-1. ROUND 1 blue->yellow You can just camp out 2D of the top and grab Sam/Slick when he gets there and jump on the discs when available. They don't come too often so it isn't too bad. 4-7-2. ROUND 2 blue->grey 4-7-3. ROUND 3 yellow->pink 4-7-4. ROUND 4 grey->light grey 4-8. ROUND 8 At this point you step on a square and the color changes back, which will leave even people whose mommies threw their 2600s out the window for playing too much--calling for the relative niceness of their mommies. There's nothing I can add but that the game gets more exacting and I think the reason it was a prototype was that it got so nasty. I've been solving these levels using save states knowing where and when certain balls fell. And I still got killed a lot in the process. If anyone knows what happens on the next levels--Q*Bertha must jump on something 3x, or even worse--let me know. I don't have the energy to find out when things loop. End of FAQ Proper ================================ 5. VERSIONS 0.5.0: sent to GameFAQs 9/12/2006 through level 3. Need to add Q*Berty stuff. 1.0.0: sent to GameFAQs 9/17/2006 complete through level 7. If you get farther than that, you're probably too smart to need this guide. Except to laugh at the obvious stuff I missed, or something. 6. CREDITS Thanks to the usual GameFAQs gang. They know who they are, and you should, too, because they get some SERIOUS writing done. Good people too--bloomer, falsehead, Sashanan, Masters, Retro, Snow Dragon/Brui5ed Ego, ZoopSoul, War Doc, and others I forgot. OK, even Hydrophant in his current not-yet-banned message board incarnation.