Games Module: Hopper
Command Module Review
(Reviewed on account of the fact that lots of people wonder if it is the same as Frogger.) (It isn't.)
I have I often heard it said, or is it just a convenient figment of my imagination that the most effective things are simple things done well? Wherever I got the notion, HOPPER fits the category anyway. I have always thought that when it comes to sitting down at the computer and choosing a game to play, a rather different set of rules comes into effect than the ones in operation when I want to gasp at someone's programming ability or choose to review a meaty package. Somehow I need to have a goal to achieve, yet relax at the same time. I don't want a long drawn out or complex issue at times like that, I want something pleasant to look at and convenient to manipulate. That's why I often revert to Munchman, Invaders, and lately HOPPER.
It was after playing Hopper for a cumulative total of about 6 hours over several days that I realized there is no music written into the module, not even on title screen. Somehow if the game 'works' such details have less import. Nor do the graphics win awards for variety, but who cares if the all important 'playability' factor is present?
You see it's like this. You are a kangaroo - oh yes you are - and you are being pursued around tne room by trainers. Scattered about the place are packing crates. In order to evade your pursuers you duck and weave around tne crates and 'kick' them into the paths of the traihers; either to trap them or squash them. And that's it.
Mind you, with strategy and fast reflexes you can really pile on the points. If you just squash a trainer, so good, but if you can confine one or more and close in on them to hem them in completely, they die rather more dramatically and you get extra points. Sadistic aren't we? You get points also for knocking the crates around. In fact, as well as wiping out the trainers, you want to clear as many crates from the screen as possible.
If a crate is free-standing and you kick it, it shoots across the room to the nearest obstacle, whether it be another crate or the wall. If the crate you kick is already up against something then the crate is crushed. Obviously, the aim is to trap trainers, smash crates to pieces all over the shop, then come pack and polish off the
Therein lies my ONLY moan, in that once you nave trapped tne trainers, it is a bit of a plod going round smashing crates witnout even a time limit or bonus scheme. Still it wouldn't be a real review without one gripe, would it?
Naturally the completion of a screen heralds the dawn of another, harder one. There are ten in all, with a nasty twist on the tenth. You have five lives to play with, and options include ohe or two player games, and keyboard or joystick control. There is also a useful pause facility in case you get caught short.
To sum up, the impressions that HOPPER leaves are simple but appealing graphics, compelling sound-effects, good joystick response, and fast, addictive animation.
And is that mot, my friend, what all good arcade-style computer games are really about?