LadyBug FAQ(Arcade) version 1.0.0 by Andrew Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org Please do not reproduce this FAQ for profit without my prior consent. However, if you write a polite e-mail to me referring to me(and this FAQ) by name, then I will probably say OK. But if I ignore you that means no--and I am bad about answering e-mail. Sorry. **** AD SPACE: **** My home page: http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Exhibit/2762 ================================ OUTLINE 1. INTRODUCTION 2. WHO DOES WHAT 2-1. YOUR CONTROLS 2-2. MONSTERS LEARN TOO, SADLY 3. BASICS 3-1. SCORECARD 3-2. BONUSES 3-3. THE BOARD 3-4. LEVEL PROGRESSION 4. STRATEGIES 4-1. POINTS 4-2. SURVIVAL 5. VERSIONS 6. CREDITS ================================ 1. INTRODUCTION LadyBug is a frustrating little chomp-game that provides a brief spurt of challenge. Playing it too much in one sitting leads to a frustration at its randomness and arbitrary movements. It's definitely a game designed to suck down quarters and although you can pick up power pills to gain point multiplier(blue hearts,) a life(yellow EXTRA) or even another game(SPECIAL) you can't attack your enemies. You need to use doors to shut them off. On later levels they're fast and precise enough that you need to make sure you can wall things off quickly. Unfortunately the controls aren't ideal, and the randomizer for the EXTRA seems to cheat against you a bit. Fortunately the graphics are goofy and cute, but given the deceptively easy start you can get wrapped up in a late night session like a bad drinking binge all because of cognitive dissonance. There are a lot of nice ideas but it doesn't come together. Mr. Do, a later game by Universal, did a better job of this, though the big archetype game it imitated was Dig Dug and not Pac-Man. 2. WHO DOES WHAT 2-1. YOUR CONTROLS Ladybug moves four directions. This is easy enough. She can't run into walls, either, and in fact she can stop before she reaches an intersection, and if you try to turn then you'll just run into any available walls. This is a critical part of the game's challenge and I always seem to lose my last few guys because of this. You do need to establish a feeling and flow for when to turn, or else. Ladybug can also turn doors--the green things, two walls connected by a pivot. These prevent bad guys--sort of--from coming in. If a bad guy is closing in towards you anyway from the side, he'll get you. If he's just behind you and almost catching you, he will. Otherwise the maze will shift, and the monster will lose the trail. Often you'll want to wait for the right moment to flip a door, or you can even barricade yourself behind a poison dot to be utterly safe for a while. You can also trap a monster against a poison dot. The slightest tap will push a door open, and this can be good(push a door to the side while a monster chases you down a corridor) or bad(monster turns direction and you didn't expect it, but you tap the door.) Fortunately it's easy to undo this sort of thing, but the main thing to remember is that you can't wait until the last minute. If you step on a skull(poison) you die and all the other poison squares disappear. Stepping on a letter or a heart will pause game play to register your points(time for a quick strategy session,) but it won't give you any other advantages. 2-2. MONSTERS LEARN TOO, SADLY Four monsters start off in the 'pen.' A green line slowly forms around the edge, after which a monster pops out from the center and starts chasing you around. Through subsequent levels monsters get 1) faster and 2) more keen to where you are. Often they'll bounce back and forth on the other side of the door, which is annoying, and you'll have to find some way to circle them. Also if all four monsters leave the pen, a vegetable will appear. It'll take longer for the fifth monster to pop out, and in the meantime if you can get to the vegetable you'll get lots of points--and freeze the monsters for six seconds. Now they can still kill you if you touch them, but it's a great chance to take out a huge chunk of dots that you previously couldn't. One annoyance to all this is that if a monster eats poison with the vegetable visible, the monster goes back to the pen. If the timer's about to run out, and you're going for the vegetable...tough luck for you. If you wait too long to finish the level monsters seem to get even faster. 3. BASICS 3-1. SCORECARD Eating a heart when it's blue increases your multiplier--from x1 to x2 to x3 to x5, although it is reset at the next level. Eating a vegetable in the center once the four monsters have vacated it gets you 500*(1+level number) up to a maximum of 9500. Note that you get about 7 1/2 seconds with blue, 1/2 second with red, and 2 with yellow. Eating a heart/vegetable/letter gets you 100/300/800 points depending on if the item was blue, yellow or red. Standard multipliers apply. All other dots are worth ten points. Poison gets you nothing. There are no point bonuses for a SPECIAL or an EXTRA. All high scores are 10000 by LADY BUG on default mode. You have eight spaces to write your name. There are 121 dots total on the screen, minus 3 each for hearts and letters, minus 2 through 6 for poison. Total left: 109-113. This makes for 1000+ points that can be multiplied. 3-2. BONUSES Note that you get about 7 1/2 seconds with blue, 1/2 second with red, and 2 with yellow. Making S-P-E-C-I-A-L makes a wedding scene(between two humans) and gives an extra game. E-X-T-R-A gives you an extra life. Both kick you to the next level. The way bonuses are given is as follows: You have three letters per level. One of them is chosen from XTR. The second is chosen from SPCIL. The third is chosen from EA. Therefore if things were random, and assuming you always got the letters right, you could expect to get the XTR completed in 1 + 3/2 + 3 = 4.5 levels, using expected values. In reality it seems to take MUCH longer, so I suspect that Universal may be fudging the random values against you, especially if you have several lives left. I can't look at the assembly code to be sure, though. EA is expected to be completed in 1 + 2 = 3 levels. SPCIL would take 1 + 5/4 + 5/3 + 5/2 + 5 = 137/12 = 11.58333 levels. This is assuming you get the timing right(very tricky) and you get the EA's(much easier.) Getting the extra game is close to impossible because you need to get the letters when they turn red. To get the EXTRA you just need to get letters when they're yellow, which has a wider window--you can make a run when you're seven dots away from the letter. SPCIL requires anticipation on the faster levels. 3-3. THE BOARD +---------------------+ |. . . . . . . . . . .| | #-o-# ### ### #-o-# | |.#. .#.|.#.#.|.#. .#.| | ### # o # # o # ### | |.|. . .|. . .|. . .|.| | o #-o-### ###-o-# o | |.|. . . .#.#. . . .|.| | ### #-o-# #-o-# ### | |. . .#. . . . .#. . .| | ### # # # # # # ### | |. .#.|.#.# #.#.|.#. .| | # # o # ### # o # # | |.#.|.|.|. . .|.|.|.#.| | # o # o # # o # o # | |.#.|.#.|.#.#.|.#.|.#.| | ### # ### ### # ### | |. . . . . . . . . . .| | #####-o-# #-o-##### | |.#. . . .#.#. . . .#.| | #-o-### # # ###-o-# | |. . . . . . . . . . .| +---------------------+ . = where skulls/hearts/letters may show up. This is all random, and you don't even get a break to see where to go after the first level. This creates a problem as otherwise you could more easily go after a letter you need. 3-4. LEVEL PROGRESSION Nothing tricky here but in case you're wondering about the vegetables that pop up... (o=orange, y=yellow) |POI |POI| Veggie |NTS |SON|COLORS |SEC|SPEED ---------------+----+---+-----------------+---+----- Cucumber |1000| 2|lavender |12 |SSLOW Eggplant |1500| 3|red/green stripe |6 |as fast Carrot |2000| 3|green 4 legged |4 |as fast Radish |2500| 3|o/y bug eyed |3.5|a bit faster PArsley |3000| 4|white, o shell |3 |a bit faster Tomato |3500| 4|o/y bee-like |2.7|faster Pumpkin |4000| 4|o/y stripe/pincer|2.3|faster Bamboo Shoot |4500| 4| |2 |faster Japanese Radish|5000| 4|mixed |2 |way faster Mushroom |5500| 5|same as level 9 Potato |6000| 5|all the way down Onion |6500| 5| Chinese Cabbage|7000| 5| Turnip |7500| 5| Red Pepper |8000| 5| Cherry |8500| 5| Sweet Potato |9000| 5| Horseradish |9500| 6| Levels past 18 are all the same as level 18. I didn't see anything with seven skulls, and I cheated past level 35. So I am pretty sure it repeats(unless it all blended together during my observations.) 4. STRATEGIES 4-1. POINTS If you are playing for points, then don't go for the shiny letters first. The blue hearts are the first as they give nice multipliers. The letters are your big ones, so save them if possible. I don't recommend playing for points unless you're very comfortable with a level, so if you see a letter you don't have yet(especially X-T-R) go right for it when it's yellow. Getting an extra guy may not give as many points as you think; the problem is that you'll get an extra life on a nasty level, and that won't last too long. But it may help improve your skills long-term. Trying to time a red is not in your interests. I generally settle for a yellow if no-one is chasing me. I also find it's easier to keep moving and just chewing up dots and deciding what to do with the biggies later. Sneaking in for the vegetable is a good idea if the bad guys have gotten separated from the center. You can just wait 1 right and 2 up of the monsters' pit, then move in. Beware on very tough levels that they'll guard the pit directly or will be able to zoom in. They can in fact obstruct you from getting out if they're close enough. You also don't want to wait to pick up the vegetable--if the monsters start wavering around that last dot, then they will eventually get faster and your attempt to get cute will backfire. I suggest just letting things fall as they may--this also generally only happens when you get through a level without losing a life. If you lose a life, then just try to clean everything up without too much more of a problem. Another bad finesse is to try to pick up points on one level before getting that final letter for EXTRA and SPECIAL. The rationale would be "I don't want to get just 1000 points on a level" but given that it's best to take the letters as you find them, and that a longer wait from a point-hunt means more monsters, focus on that final letter for your first task. Even if you play for points on the early levels I find it's bad practice as you may try to over-finesse on the later ones. I'm usually happy just getting the x5 multiplier for the hearts. If I get it early enough those other dots tend to add up too. 4-2. SURVIVAL This will involve much more long-range planning. The first thing you need to note is that you can *never* block off any part of the board so that you are completely safe. You can often make it so that you are protected by poison until a monster runs into one, but that is temporary. You can also block off a monster so that he will eventually run into a poison, and in fact it is a good idea to taunt them by moving so there's a poison between you. On later levels they'll see you. Time is a key factor in the later levels, and you'll want to waste as little as possible as you run around. One simple maneuver will help cut out a good deal of backtracking. x x -o- x x ---> Here you could just go right along the bottom, But why not swing up, right and down through the door? That will pick off two dots without any undue exertions. They'll often be ones you'd have to come back for later anyway. An extended example of this concept might be in the upper right: 7 8 1 2 6 9 0 3 5 5 4 3 4 6 7 2 1 The way the board is set up, some back tracking is necessary, but certain areas are ripe for this sort of thing: for instance, at the start, go L-D-L-2N-R-N-2L-N-E Or in the lower corner, you can go N-E-S around the bottom doors. That conclusively avoids a backtrack. If there aren't any good letters in your current level, you might be best off running to get the dot in front of the center. You always get at least two seconds, and it's easier to hide out on the sides, so you'll want to get the tough bits first. If there's a letter you want to get, it's best to get it first, but otherwise try to make sure the bad guys are sealed off before you get it. That's because often you may need to wait for a yellow letter, and if someone might be honing in on you, you'll have to jump too soon. Also note that any one ofthe X-T-R is rarer to get than the E-A, so you can be a bit more cavalier picking off a vowel. Whatever you do, don't run into poison. It's one of your greatest assets, and if you touch it, all the other shields will disappear. They also buy you time if enemies crash into them by mistake. Turn doors behind you. If someone's chasing from a distance, that'll teach them. In the bottom corner, you don't have as many doors nearby but you can create a natural bunker. I've found that creating zigzagging passages is better than creating a long passage. True, you'll be able to see things easier, but enemies also bounce around a lot. For instance(hypothetically) if a passage bends back around enough there could be an enemy on one side of the wall trying to bash through it to the left, when he really needs to backtrack right. The mechanism to get out of this seems random but even if the enemies show blazing speed, they will bounce around for a while, so they won't be up to much. When waiting to pick up a vegetable in the pocket 1L/R and 2N, be sure to flip the doors behind you if bad guys are zooming in. If the one bad guy waits too long, move back and push down while he's headed towards the vegetable so you can find another way to do things. Note that the vegetable isn't just a cheap way to get points; it's a way to pick up the last few dots. Hemming yourself in an upper corner with poison near you gives the satisfaction of killing an enemy, but you may have to wait long enough that the net effect won't be favorable. End of FAQ proper ================================ 5. VERSIONS 1.0.0: sent to GameFAQs 11/10/2003. Complete with the usual detailed strategy missing--if anyone can do better I'd love to hear it. 6. CREDITS The usual GameFAQs gang. They know who they are, and you should, too, because they get some SERIOUS writing done. Good people too--bloomer, daremo, falsehead, RetroFreak, Snow Dragon/Brui5ed Ego, ZoopSoul, and others I forgot. War Doc for pushing me by example to look for that one more game that needs/would like coverage. CJayC for creating GameFAQs.com so that I could post cute little time wasting guides like this. mame.net and the cheats section for helping me replay this--and get somewhere in it. My new cat Otto who provided an even better distraction than the Internet while I was typing this up.