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Hopping Mappy is an arcade game that was released by Namco in 1986. It runs on Namco System 86 hardware and, as the name suggests, it is the sequel to Mappy, released 3 years earlier. The game was also remade on the Wii Virtual Console in Japan on June 2, 2009.
In Hopping Mappy players control the Micro Police mouse, Mappy, as he bounces on a pogo stick to run circles around pink cats, called Meowkies, which patrol either vertically or horizontally. There's also Nyamco, a cat who patrols in a zigzag pattern, but he needs to take occasional breaks. There are eight treasures the player must grab to complete a level, except on the bonus level where the player will just want to grab all the balloons he can. The main intrigue here is getting past a blockade of Meowkies. What is the best way to sneak by?
The player's controls are really simple: he can bounce in any of the four directions, the only places he can land are the centres of the checkerboard squares (making for very few locations overall), and he will move at the same speed as the cats. If the player pushes the accelerator button and runs around, he will go twice as fast. This is not always good - he can run into a bad guy, or it is tougher to turn.
Regarding turning, the player may want to do this in advance, just after he started jumping onto the square he wants to land on, if he is running away from Meowkies or trying to reach a square with a treasure first. It will ensure no time is lost. But if the player is trailing then obviously he will want to slow down.
There's another case where the player will want to slow down. Say he jumps in one direction and wants to pull back. He can, as long as his shadow is not touching an enemy's.
Mappy: The protagonist of the game.
Meowkies: There may be over ten of these in any level. They will either have patrols up and down or left and right, no variants. Once they reach a side/edge they bounce the other way - they don't bounce off it.
Nyamco: Nyamco always starts four blocks right of you. He goes up to the top, left, down, left and then zags back right once he gets to the side. Occasionally he will fall over, and that allows the player to jump on him for 100 points. But he may want to do so from behind in case he wakes up. Nyamco bounces 15 squares before he tires out, and after eight Meowky bounces quits his huffing and puffing and starts bouncing again.
There are five different types of treasures.
- Fox mask: (Kitsune) 10 pts
- Lucky Cat Statue: (Maneki Neko) 20 pts
- Daruma: 30 pts
- Snowman: 40 pts
- Box: 0 1st, 50 2nd
The player gets a multiplier that starts at 1 and increases when he either jumps on the box that appears for the second time, or he picks up two of the same treasure in a row (the box does not figure as an actual treasure, but picking it up gives the player an extra multiplier, actually.) The best multiplier is 6, and your total points can thus be 10 + 10 x 2 + 20 + 20 x 3 + 30 + 30 x 4 + 50 x 5 + 40 + 40 x 6 = 790. The last is switched because the player can't save the box for last. Compared to the bonus levels that guarantee 3,000+ points this is really nothing and often the player will do rather worse. So definitely do not worry about getting all the items in order, and do not go after a tricky looking multiplier unless it is a matter of pride.
What's in the Box
Generally the player will want to get matching treasures to get the box to appear. Which happens as follows:
- On level 4x+1 grab the fox masks (10 points each)
- On level 4x+2 grab the lucky cat statues (20 points each)
- On level 4x+1 grab the Daruma doll (30 points each)
If the player gets killed between the first and second treasure, the box still appears even with the multipliers reset. But if the box pops up and the player dies, it is gone for that level.
These start off pretty close to the player but get further away as he goes along - the point is to make the player work. If the player gets the box to appear, then it will dispense items that bounce and patrol just like Meowkies, and the player can even get a nice boost for jumping on the box twice. However, the items bounce around randomly, so don't expect to track one down easily. Many items have pitfalls, so be careful playing with them.
Here is a list of the items:
- Red diamond: hit the button with the number scrolling and the player gets a random 3-figure number added to his score. The player must be ready with a move as soon as he's caught the diamond, as the game pauses obnoxiously for a bit.
- Red heart: all enemies stay in a pattern, but they are vulnerable. This is best when the player knows he can clear the board pretty soon and there are lots of bad guys. Beware that knocking them off disrupts the initial formation as the Meowkies do disappear. This is good if they are all in a line, but the player may have to adjust otherwise. The Meowkies are in a straight line at the start, and their bounces are synchronized, so they are more predictable. Pack them off and the player may be in trouble - unless he is willing to sit on the square where they will wind up. The player gets the same points for Nyamco or a Meowky. Here is a list of the scores:
- 1st cat: 10, 10 total
- 2nd cat: 20, 30 total
- 3rd cat: 40, 70 total
- 4th cat: 80, 150 total
- 5th cat: 160, 310 total
- 6th cat: 320, 630 total
- 7th cat: 640, 1270 total
- 8th cat: 765, 2035 total
The player also gets 765 for all cats after that. This can get the player more points than the level proper if he is careful although the red heart wears off sooner on later levels. Of course it is potentially worth more there as there are more enemies. Note that if the player feels he can get 6 cats it will on the whole be a better pointwise effort than getting the red diamond - with the mitigating factor being that the enemy paths get messed up. The best bet then is to do this near the end of the level, with just one easy treasure to pick up. Also for the red heart, the player will want to concentrate on levels where Meowkies are bunched together. Especially if they move when their pattern is extra short.
- Yellow diamond: hit the button with the number scrolling and the player gets a random 2-figure number added to your score. But the player must try to avoid this if he can - it is only 1/10 as good as the red diamond.
- Yellow heart: Meowkies stay in a pattern, but they are vulnerable.
- Blue ball: Nothing(?)
- Purple ball: Nothing(?)
- Blue hourglass: freezes all enemies
- Pink hourglass: freezes all Meowkies
- M-A-P-P-Y: Appears in place of the standard items. If the player gets all letters, he will receive an extra life (only on level 3.) Other 4x+3 levels are less reliable.
In general if the player has the luxury, the hourglass or the red diamond is the best, followed by the red heart, which is especially good if he's close to completing the level anyway. Then he doesn't have to pay much attention to regenerating enemies. NOTE: items wear off sooner on later levels.
Bonus level points
The main source of points will be the bonus level. It is no-risk and fairly brief if not too taxing. Basically, if the player sees a clump of red balloons, he must go after it, and if there is one stray one too far away, do not go chasing all the way down/up the screen to get to it. The player gets 11 points for every regular red balloon he gets. He also gets 500 for each Nyamco balloon he gets. There are around 3 per round. They should be a priority as they are worth at least two regular red balloons. With about 45 balloons (average) the total comes to 4818 per bonus round.
Odds and Ends
- If many cats are bouncing up and down in a particular column, go to the bottom and wait for something to open up. Then zoom by. It may later be a good place to use a red heart on for points.
- Generally the player will want to move quickly, unless there are moves he absolutely has to nail, or bad guys are on either side of him. In that case go slower.
- If Meowkies are in a diagonal formation, the player can just rapidly alternate moves, while accelerating to pick them off if he's gotten a yellow or red heart.
- For that matter it may be even easier to let Mappy bounce twice in one direction, turn, bounce twice, etc. when picking off items in a diagonal. Trying to make sharp turns on acceleration can be tricky even when the player has the hang of it.
- It is possible to bounce one square and avoid two Meowkies adjacent to each other, watching them bounce by. But the effort to get the timing down isn't worth it.
- There's no shame in not getting everything in order although it does seem to affect how much stuff pops up on the bonus round. And there's no shame in wimping out and taking an hourglass to plow through the level. Just watch for the flashing Meowkies as a warning though.
- Don't take too long. After "Hurry up!" appears, all the enemies go twice as fast and if the player takes too long after this, the fearsome ancestral cat coin (Gosenzo) shows up.
- If Nyamco is flashing and on his butt, the player will get the 100 points for knocking him down, but he'll have to wait for him to get up again before he can get the doubled bonus to wipe him off the board.