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    FAQ by ASchultz

    Version: 0.5.0 | Updated: 08/14/02 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Yoshi's Cookie(NES) FAQ version 0.5.0
    by Andrew Schultz schultza@earthlink.net
    copyright 2002
    Please do not reproduce for profit without my consent. If you wish to do 
    so then please write to me asking for specific games and addressing my 
    by my first name. Thanks!
    **** AD SPACE ****
    My web page:
        1.2. WHAT IT DOESN'T
      2. THE BASICS
        2.1. RULES
        2.2. CONTROLS
        2.3. SCORING
          3.2.1. THE FACTS
          5.3.1. THE PIVOT
          5.3.2. WALKING OFF THE EDGE
          5.3.2. THE HALF-LINE-UP
          5.3.3. 'OTHER'
      7. TRICKS
      This FAQ covers strategies for the first ten boards as well as the 
    next few but may tail off in detail. It aims to discuss specific cases 
    that may uncover finesses for various strategies or develop intuition 
    further. While Yoshi's Cookie is an easy game to hack through and manage 
    to conquer the first ten levels with a few falls there are some nice 
    theoretical questions and I will attempt to answer the simplest ones 
        1.2. WHAT IT DOESN'T
      I don't really intend to cover two-player mode here, as I am more 
    concerned with the theory of the tiles, etc. Plus the two-player version 
    is theoretically trivial after this document(I hope.)
      The original levels(1-10) are fair, with each different cookie showing 
    up clearly. I can't fully say the same for the Yoshi-characters that 
    appear in levels 11-99. You get a lot of waiting around for the right 
    wild card, in which time tiles also have a decent chance of piling up 
    without your having a say in anything.
    --board and stage are interchangeable terms
    --'the rectangle' means the rectangle of blocks you need to coordinate 
    in rows.
    --occasionally I will refer to moves in very short-hand notation. The 
    move '5U' means that you go to the fifth column from the left and move 
    everything there a square up. The move '2L' means you go to the second 
    row from the bottom and move everything there a square up. I may also 
    use (5,2)U to tell you which square is best to go to, and if you need to 
    move up several times I will say 5Ux2 for instance, or (5,2)Ux2. So the 
    lower left can be considered an origin of sorts.
      2. THE BASICS
        2.1. RULES
      Yoshi's Cookie is pretty simple. You start out with a rectangle of 
    cookies/blocks. At any point in the rectangle you can pivot its row up 
    or down one or its column left or right one. The object is to get all 
    objects in a row/column the same type. Then the row/column vanishes. 
    Eventually you hope to eliminate everything. Extra rows and columns 
    constantly pop up from above and to the right. This may help you if you 
    cannot make any new rows, but as the level wears on the rows/columns 
    appear more frequently. If you wind up with a rectangle 7 on one side 
    the game is over.
      There's a gauge in the lower right that shows about how many of each 
    shape you've put into a row. When the gauge is full, a Yoshi pops up. 
    Yoshi counts as a wild card and is useful on level 10+(a twist on the 
    original game, shown when level 10 is completed) as well as near the 
      What's nice about Yoshi's Cookie is that you can always continue from 
    the level where you left off. So if you just want to breeze through 
    it(generally takes me about two hours) you can do so.
        2.2. CONTROLS
      B button: causes pieces to move in faster
      arrow key: moves the cursor. If you are at an edge of the rectangle 
    and move off it you appear on the other side. Seems to cause blocks to 
    move more quickly too; if you push up or down, the descending blocks 
    come in a bit quicker.
      A button + direction: moves the row/column you're in in that 
        2.3. SCORING
      You get 10*2^(x+y) points for clearing off a row of non-Yoshis, where 
    x = # of blocks in the row - 2, and y = the number of chain reactions 
    before your current row-clearance.
      Per level I tend to get 5000 for the first level up to 10000 per 
    level(if I survive all the way through) for the later ones.
      The Yoshi tends to make scores go weird. It seems to add ten points to 
    whatever row it touches instead of doubling--so 2 in a row + yoshi is 
    less than 3 in a row.
        The first few boards seem to be set up for quick wins. I'll indicate 
    different pieces with 1/2/3 as the colors seem random although the 
    formations aren't. Learning how to deal with these boards expediently 
    will help you to perhaps complete others without adding extra blocks. 
    It's not too hard to make a row, but making a row and leaving yourself 
    open for even more later will help tremendously in the long term. Given 
    how monochrome they are, they probably won't come up long term, but the 
    strategies involved may help you later.
      Board 1-1:
      1 2 1 2
      2 1 2 1
      1 2 1 2
      2 1 2 1
      This one is pretty hard to botch. 2U, 4U is one way to do it although 
    there are so many solutions to start off it is laughable.
      Board 1-2:
      1 2 1
      2 1 2
      1 2 1
      Interestingly, smaller is tougher here. The odd number of squares 
    means a move of 2U sticks you where you have to wait for new tiles to 
    come in. So instead what you should do is (3,3)UL. That will get rid of 
    a row and a column, and then any move wins.  
      Board 1-3:
      1 2 1 2 1
      2 1 2 1 2
      1 2 1 2 1
      2 1 2 1 2
      This is your first non-square rectangle, but it is as easy as the 
    first one. And it gets you double the points, too.
      2U, 4U will clear the board nicely. It'll take longer to watch the 
    rows removed and points tallied than for you to make the right moves.
      Board 1-4:
      1 2 1 2 1
      2 1 2 1 2
      1 2 1 2 1
      2 1 2 1 2
      1 2 1 2 1
      Similar to board 1-2 only this time a little more fiddling may be 
    necessary. This may not be the optimum solution, but it works. My first 
    try(move every other row down one) leads to a general problem--if you 
    have a 1-by-any rectangle, you cannot make further progress. So what I 
    do is to go 5U 3U 1D. This reduces the structure to a 3x2. There's still 
    a chance to mess up unless you go 1D and win.
      Board 1-5:
      1 2 3
      2 3 1
      3 1 2
      This level has a nice symmetry about it. No matter where the cursor 
    is, just move your row left, go up one, and move the row right. You'll 
      Later levels seem to be drawn from a template or possibly even a large 
    set of possible designs(note--I count boards where you can swap colors 
    and they'll look the same to be identical.) With three colors the boards 
    are somewhat checkerboardy and later on I see familiar patterns cropping 
    up where you'll have the following in several rows:
      If you can move these vertically to line them up you have a good 
    start. Board 1-6 has several different possibilities, so I can't give an 
    explicit solution.
      But in general on level one your big hazard may be leaving a single 
    row, where you'll have to wait for reinforcements. Take a pause before a 
    chain reaction; you can probably afford it.
          3.2.1. THE FACTS
      This document describes the starting rectangle dimensions and number 
    of different colors at the start of each board.
    1-1  | 4x4 | 2
    1-2  | 3x3 | 2
    1-3  | 5x4 | 2
    1-4  | 5x5 | 2
    1-5  | 3x3 | 3
    1-6  | 4x4 | 3
    1-7  | 5x4 | 3
    1-8to| 5x5 | 3
    1-10 |     |
    2-1  | 4x4 | 3
    2-2  | 5x4 | 3
    2-3  | 5x5 | 3
    2-4  | 6x5 | 3
    2-5  | 4x3 | 4
    2-6  | 4x4 | 4
    2-7  | 5x4 | 4
    2-8  | 5x5 | 4
    2-9  | 5x5 | 4
    2-10 | 6x5 | 4
    3-1  | 6x5 | 3
    3-2  | 6x6 | 3
    3-3  | 5x5 | 4
    3-4  | 5x5 | 4
    3-5to| 6x5 | 4
    3-7  |     |
    3-8to| 6x6 | 4
    3-10 |     |
    4-1  | 4x4 | 4
    4-2  | 5x4 | 4
    4-3  | 5x5 | 4
    4-4  | 6x5 | 4
    4-5  | 6x6 | 4
    4-6  | 4x4 | 5
    4-7  | 5x4 | 5
    4-8  | 5x4 | 5
    4-9  | 5x5 | 5
    4-10 | 5x5 | 5
    5-1  | 5x4 | 5
    5-2  | 5x5 | 5
    5-3to| 6x5 | 5
    5-5  |     |
    5-6to| 6x6 | 5
    5-10 |     |
    6-1  | 6x5 | 5
    6-2to| 6x6 | 5
    10-10|     |
      It appears that with two colors, you can always find a way to reduce 
    the entire board before play begins. I have no proof and there doesn't 
    seem to be one without strong induction. I suspect you can show that you 
    can always leave a corner in place where you have:
     2 2
     1 1 2
      ...i.e. a pair of each color, so that any chain reactions will not 
    leave you with a dead end.
      The first four boards are pretty trivial since they are pre-planned as 
    you see above, but when you get to a few more colors some observations 
    can come in handy. The 'Pigeonhole Principle' is useful here. In a 
    nutshell it states, for our purposes:
      If you have X squares and Y different colors, then you must have at 
    least (X/Y) rounded up of one color. So 12 squares of 5 colors mean that 
    you must have at least 3 of 1 color. But with 10 squares you need only 
    have 2 of any one. If you have 2 of every color you won't have 3 of any.
      So let's start with applying this on board 1-6. Four by four, sixteen 
    squares, three colors. You will have six of one color. Unless there's a 
    color with four squares(reducing to a two-color board would make this 
    level very easy,) eliminate a row of four squares with that color, and 
    you'll have at least two of that square's color. If you eliminate a 
    color with five squares, then there will be one left, and that is bad.
    There are 28 possible rectangles with sides from 1 to 7, which is what 
    you will see in the game; I don't count 2x3 and 3x2, for instance, as 
    In general it is better in the long run to try to make a rectangle 
    slimmer than closer to a square. However if you are pressed for time and 
    just want to reduce your workload and can't see any way to do this, of 
    course you need to cut down what you can. So for instance if you have a 
    5(horiz)x6(vertical) rectangle it would be ideal to find six vertically 
    in a row but copping out with five horizontally in a row is okay. With 
    experience you will be able to target which cookie you have the most of 
    and how to shuffle it around quickly. The rule of thumb to remember is 
    that narrower rectangles provide a chance for easier rows to knock out, 
    but on the other hand you don't want to knock out a row just for fun.
    1x1: automatically solved
    1x2-6: will automatically become 2x3-7 as there is nothing you can 
    really do. But this is not so bad as it can be immediately reduced 
    1x7: you'd better hope the 1 side is filled next and not the 7, or it 
    will be game over.
    2x2: assuming all four colors are different, we should try to push for a 
    2x3 rectangle instead of a 3x3 rectangle. Hold up or right on the 
    controller--or try for a diagonal move.
    2x3: the 'pigeonhole principle' says that if there are y items and x 
    slots to put them in, one slot must have at least the integral part of 
    ((y/x)+1) items. Replace slots with colors and y with cookies and we can 
    apply the problem to the game. In this rectangle we will have 1+(6/5)=2 
    of one color for sure.
    2x4-7: these are very advantageous. You can always reduce to 2x2 and 
    rather quickly I might add. Pick any type of cookie of which you have 
    two(there always will be one, and preferably the total number should be 
    even, but this is a finesse.) Assume it's color A and look below.
    ** **
    ** **
    ** **
    A1 **
    ** **
    ** **
    ** A2
    Obviously you will get things done if you cycle the columns through 
    whether you push A1 or A2 down or up. It's a bit tougher with the 
    ** **
    A1 **
    ** **
    ** **
    A2 **
    ** **
    ** **
    In this case put the cursor on one of the cookies, move right once and 
    then up/down to get them to match.
    There's a finesse if you have exactly three of a type of cookie. Let's 
    say you have the following:
    ** **
    ** **
    A1 **
    ** A2
    A3 **
    ** **
    ** **
    It looks like the easy choice would be to move up/down. But actually it 
    is not. Moving A2 off to the left may be the better option. Because if 
    you erase two, only one will be left and you may not be able to solve 
    this. If you put all three to the side, you will still be able to clear 
    something(even with 2x4 there will be 5 squares remaining and 4 cookie 
    types--all except A--to choose from.) You can always reduce to a 2x3 and 
    then it will be reduced to a 1x3 right away. So for instance below we 
    could do the following:
    A1 B1
    C1 A2
    A3 C2
    B2 D1
    D2 E1
    E2 B3
    Here you can do the following: 5L 3R 2D to give:
    A1 B3
    A2 B1    A1 B3
    A3 C1 => A2 B1
    D1 C2    A3 C1
    D2 B2    D1 C2
    E2 E1    D2 B2
    Now to eliminate the D's and C's since the E's are matched. Let's focus 
    on tackling the D's--easy enough. 2L 1U. Note that knocks out the C's 
    A2 B3
    A3 B1    A2 B3
    C2 C1 => A3 B1
    D2 D1    A1 B2
    A1 B2
    Oh dear, the A's and B's go too, with a little extra bonus.
    More conventional play may have isolated an A or a C.
    3x3: the pigeonhole principle only assures us that there are at most two 
    of one type. So we may be out of luck here.
    3x4: We may have 12/5+1=3 of one type--in fact, of two types of cookie. 
    First see if for any type of cookie you have one in each column. That is 
    the easiest way to settle business. However if you have four of one type 
    of cookie, not always the case, you might want to try to go for a 2x4.
    This illustrates another rule of thumb--try never to leave one of one 
    type of cookie--and another--when one type of cookie gets rare, try to 
    leave an even number, or if there are three of it put them in a row so 
    two are not accidentally gone(it also helps in the future if more attach 
    to the rectangle.)
    3x5-7: unlikely you'll have 5-7 of any of a type of cookie but if it's 
    easy to make a big column of them try to do so. Fortunately it'll be 
    easy to reduce to 3x3. Note that if you have four of one type of cookie 
    you probably don't want to get rid of it unless you have to. It's also 
    not possible to have four of each type of cookie remaining or you'd have 
    4, 8, 12, 16, 20--not 3x5, 6, or 7=12, 15, or 18. Look around a bit for 
    the cookie you have the most of.
    4x4: it's still easy to peg if you have five of a certain type of cookie 
    but it's not always possible to reduce a 4x4 to nothing at all. For 
    instance if you have 2 types of cookie represented 5 times and the rest 
    2, your first reduction will leave 1 of 1 type of cookie. I believe for 
    just about any rectangle above this you can cut it down entirely without 
    leaving one of one type of cookie.
    Caveat for the rectangles below--I included a lot of analysis for 
    getting rid of stuff right away. Take what you feel is necessary.
    4x5: If you do not have 4 of each type of cookie then you have at least 
    5 of 1(otherwise your total would be <= 4+4+4+4+3 = 19.) Try to line it 
    up so that you reduce to a 3x5 unless you have 6 of the greatest number. 
    In which case reduce that to 2--in the 4x4 remaining you have 14 squares 
    among 4 colors and so you must have 4 of one. Then unless you have a 5-
    3-3-3 combination you can reduce even further(the 4 can go.)
    4x6: Unless you have a 5-5-5-5-4(which means you've solved it anyway; 
    match up the color with 4 in one row and then the 5-colors can all match 
    up and you're done if your fingers are quick enough.) You'll have six or 
    more of one color, maybe more. Get rid of that(unless there are seven) 
    and the resulting 3x6 is easy.
    4x7: Since 4x6 can be reduced to 3x6 and you may be in trouble of losing 
    anyway just fill in any old row you see.
    5x5-7x7: the bigger a rectangle gets, the easier it is to pick a color 
    to eliminate a row. However, it's more urgent as well. First you may 
    want to note if there is a cookie type you can eliminate exactly--in 
    that case you really have control of the situation. Let's look below:
    5x5 will have 6 of one cookie type or be very easy to reduce(5-5-5-5-5.)
    5x6 will have 7 of one cookie type or be very easy to reduce(6-6-6-6-6.)
    5x7 will have 8 of one cookie type or be very easy to reduce(7-7-7-7-7.)
    In 5x6 or 5x7 of course it is easier to eliminate a row of 5 but if you 
    can get the 6 or 7 by all means do so. In general you want to leave 2 or 
    4 of a certain cookie type as even numbers of cookie types are easier to 
    get rid of if the structure collapses to a 2-by-x formation.
    6x6 will have 8 of one cookie type.
    6x7 will have 9 of one cookie type.
    7x7 will have 10 of one cookie type.
    For these, just go with your gut feeling and try to wipe out the most 
    prevalent cookie type UNLESS you are able to count a rarer cookie type 
    and know you can get rid of it.
          5.3.1. THE PIVOT
        The most effective direction I know of is what I call 'the pivot.' 
    If you need to move just one block to a certain square to complete a 
    row, then you should be able to do so. For instance take the example 
    X X X X X X
    X 1 X X P X
    X X X X X X
    X X X X X X
    1 1 1 1 X 1
    X X X X X X
        The pivot point is marked with a 'P.' Move the cursor there, click 
    three times right, then three down. This is the most expeditious way to 
    do things; if you can lump the moving and shifting together, it will 
    save you time and thought. The rule is, in general:
      1. move the candidate square parallel to the almost-complete row until 
    it is on the pivot square, which should be horizontally/vertically 
    aligned with the candidate square's original position and destination.
      2. move perpendicularly until the row is complete.
          5.3.2. WALKING OFF THE EDGE
        It's useful. If the next square you need to access is well on the 
    other side, go off the edge, especially if it's in the opposite corner. 
    But don't pause to see if the distance would be farther that way as that 
    will waste the time you generally save by fewer moves. It takes a bit of 
    getting used to in order to get your intuition up to scratch.
          5.3.3. THE HALF-LINE-UP
        I often find that, at the start of a level, you have a good deal of 
    one certain color. Usually there will be one of it in each column. For 
    whatever reason there often turns out to be two of it. Don't worry about 
    trying to line up two rows at once, but once one is lined up you should 
    see something vaguely resembling a row of the color that's just 
    disappeared.  Move horizontally to fix the columns as you need to.
          5.3.4. 'OTHER'
        This section is reserved for later strategies.
        Levels 11-99 echo 1-10 except there is always a random Koopa shell 
    placed somewhere. This is very annoying--if you apply the pigeonhole 
    principle you now see serious problems with getting stuff done. In 
    2x3 rectangle may have all 5 regular shapes + Koopa shell. In other 
    words there is no way to reduce it. The probability here is 
    5*4*3*2*1/5^5=120/3125=3.84%. However a 3x4 rectangle can be reduced, 
    and having a Yoshi helps.
    4x4 rectangle similarly may have 3 each of all 5 regular shapes + Koopa 
    shell. That leaves no way to reduce it. Generally speaking if the 
    rectangle is big enough you can always find ways to reduce, but if it is 
    pretty small you may just be out of luck. Then even if you get rid of 
    the Koopa shell you still have the conventional slog to wipe everything 
    out and the pieces will probably be going a bit faster.
        The tactics above(5.1) should apply. 
        Since you do not have any Koopas dropping from the sides, you need 
    to find a Yoshi to wipe it out. In particular you will almost certainly 
    need to have a 1-by-something row where the incoming Yoshi can make a 
    row with the Koopa and eliminate it. This is especially difficult to do 
    because chance will not always be on your side--it may take a few Yoshis 
    before you manage to eliminate it. Then there's the matter of waiting 
    out the end as in previous levels, which is complicated a bit by the 
    less descript colors. As in the general strategies if you have a 1-by-x 
    rectangle then the probability you can eliminate a lot of the squares 
    and in particular the Yoshi will line up with the shell is quite good--
    the next objects form a 2 by x+1 rectangle(i.e. add x+2) and there are x 
    slots it can go to where you can place the Yoshi next to it. It's hard 
    to get a 1-by-x just when Yoshi appears but if you do you're in great 
    shape. See below for example of a 1x6.
    N N
    1 Y
    2 Y
    3 Y
    4 Y
    5 Y
    S Y
        If Yoshi appears at any of the 'Y' squares you can move the shell to 
    match with it. If he's on an 'N' square there is no way you can do so. 6 
    Y's, 2 N's.
      7. TRICKS
        Thanks to gamewinners.com for this one: to get past level 10, go to 
    the start menu and then turn the speed to high, turn the music off, go 
    to the level selector, and hold up while you select the level.
        (Note: the game's totally impossible without switching the speeed 
    back to low/medium after you choose the level. And the three songs you 
    can re-choose are different from the 'original' Yoshi.)
        Actually the game tells it to you, but I was too lazy to wait for 
    the finishing credits the first few times. Then I gave gamewinners 
    credit, played through level 10 one more time, went to fix a snack 
        After completing board 1-10 you see Mario running from the left(he 
    always does) to catch a cookie. He gets it and waves to the player.
        After completing board 2-10 you see Mario chase the cookie, catch 
    it, and spin around with it as it rolls to the right.
        After completing board 3-10 you see Mario chase the cookie off the 
    right side of the screen. It comes back with fangs and double the 
    circumference, bouncing towards him. Very Pac-Man.
        After completing board 4-10 you see Mario chase the cookie, which 
    bounces off a building to the right and topples Mario on the way back.
        After completing board 5-10 you see Mario run after the cookie, 
    which spins like a coin. Yoshi comes from the right and eats it.
        After completing board 6-10 you see Mario run down the hill past the 
        After completing board 7-10 you see the cookie roll against the 
    building. Mario jumps on it this time and deflates it.
        After completing board 8-10 you see Mario chase the cookie until it 
    drops. Mario walks over it, tries to balance, and falls over.
        After completing board 9-10 you see Mario chase the cookie off a 
    cliff. It rises back up frowning with a halo on its head, and Mario 
    looks to you and shrugs.
        After completing board 10-10 you see Mario and Yoshi run from 
    opposite sides to trap the cookie, which smiles when they catch it. Then 
    you get the credits scene and the hint to get to level 11 and beyond.
        After completing boards 11-10 through 98-10 you get nothing of note. 
    Although the border around the level changes to reflect the new 
        After completing board 99-10 you get a final list of credits 
    including the monster names and so forth.
    End of FAQ proper
        Being the perfectionist I am, I would like to point out this side 
    game. First, if you've bought the original game, get an emulator. Save 
    the state before starting a board in the first ten levels. Keep trying 
    it until you've solved it WITHOUT getting reinforcements. This will not 
    always be possible(see 4x4 with 4 colors,) but it's worth a try.
        I suppose you could also write a computer algorithm for this sort of 
    thing as well, or at least a cheap C++ game to simulate this sort of 
        Later I may use some actual level starts as examples of how to play 
    this game. Perhaps it may make the later levels completely trivial, as 
    the level starts seem to be chosen from a relatively small group.
    0.5.0: sent to GameFAQs.com 8/14/2002 mostly complete. The regular 
    errant strategy tweaks I bet and some parts are just plain MIA but oh 
    well. I am trying to push myself out of a layoff--this thing was in the 
    hamper for two months.
    vimm.net for the ROM image which helped me futz with a lot of stuff more 
    quickly(replaying a level a few times)
    www.gamewinners.com for the hint which allowed me to explore the later 
    levels. It's not this excellent site's fault said levels are tedious. 
    Before in the spirit of not reading the instruction book 'til I have to 
    I just killed the game after 'winning' the first ten levels a few times 
    before I actually saw it. But that site is always there for an awesme 
    database of codes.