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Spike Hoppin' is a clone of the game Q*Bert, where the player must jump on all areas of a structure to make them the same color in order to advance to the next level. (With the Vectrex not being in color though, in this case, the player needs to make all the areas [which are represented by triangles] on a playfield either brighter or darker, depending on what the current level's requirement is.)
Several enemies with various mannerisms will attempt Spike's downfall, although a few items can help Spike out as well during a game.
The game was created and distributed by Classic Game Creations in 1996 for the Vectrex.
The player controls Spike, the unofficial Vectrex mascot, who starts off every game on the top triangle of the first level. He must hop on all triangles, making them all the same shade -- either bright or dark, depending on what the current level requires -- in order to advance to the next level. (For the first several levels, all of the triangles have to be made darker.) Later levels require all triangles to be hopped on twice, while others can be hopped on, but should Spike hop on them again, they will revert back to the original shade, then have to be jumped on two more times to get them back to their correct shade that is needed to advance to the next level.
The levels are faced with perils; one of which that appears during a game are balls, which drop from the top down to the bottom of the playfield. Spike's enemy Spud will also behave like a ball when he first makes his entry during a level (although he will start off diamond-shaped) -- what with dropping from the top of the playfield to the bottom -- but then once he reaches the bottom row of triangles he will turn into Spud and start pursuing Spike.
Upside-Down Monsters also start appearing after several levels, starting at the bottom of the screen and working their way up, zig-zagging in between rows of triangles in the process. And LOG appears last, who will start at the top of the screen, jump around and change the triangles back to their original color if Spike had already jumped on them.
Colliding with any of these enemies (except for LOG) will result in Spike losing a life. Balls and Upside-Down Monsters can only be avoided, although Spud can be knocked away when Spike jumps on a disc that appears at the sides of the screen. However, Spud has to be himself, and not his original diamond form that he initially appears for this to work. An hourglass that starts showing up after several levels will also freeze all onscreen enemies for several seconds if Spike is able to grab it before it disappears from a level, as it starts off at the top of the screen and drops down to the bottom, one triangle at a time.
Vectrepede is a hidden bonus game that is a simplified clone of Centipede. In order to access it, during the Spike Hoppin' title screen, the player must press and hold down buttons one and three, then press button four on the controller.
In this version, the player controls a gun that maneuvers around the bottom section of the screen and shoots at a vectrepede that descends from the top. The vectrepede will move left and right, dropping a notch closer when it reaches the edge of the screen. It will also drop down a notch if there is a mushroom in its path, and with each vectrepede segment the player destroys, it will turn into a mushroom. A spider also appears in the player's area, darting about quickly.
Unlike with the arcade original, there are no scorpions or fleas, along with there being no bonus either for any partially shot mushrooms left over when the player loses a life. And without a flea being present, the player can shoot all onscreen mushrooms without having the flea drop down to add more mushrooms like the original. However, mushrooms can't be shot in between waves like on the original.
If the player is struck by a vectrepede segment or spider, they will lose a life, and the game will end when all three lives are lost.
In order to gain infinite lives and skip through levels, the player must start a new game, but not score any points. They must then jump off the top platform so they won't land on any others, along with doing this until there is only one life left, then the player must hold down button four on the controller while jumping; afterwards, to skip to a next level, pressing button one will accomplish this.
- On Q*Bert, in order to be rid of Coily, who relentlessly pursues the player, they must jump on a disc when Coily is only two squares away or less. On Spike Hoppin', jumping on a disc knocks off Spud (the character that appears in place of Coily in this game) no matter how close or how far away he is, just as long as he's onscreen and hatched from his original form.
- Spike Hoppin' was originally slated to be on a cartridge entitled More Good Things along with the Disc Duel demo (which would later appear on Vecmania instead), but would later become this separate cartridge.
- On the original Spike game, it was the only game from the original GCE lineup that had speech. Spike talks again on this release, saying the game name during the title screen, "Go for it!" at the start of a new level, and "Darnit!" when he gets hit by an object, although the original voice was a lot gruffer, while this voice is a lot higher in pitch.
- This was the first 16K Vectrex game ever at the time of release.
- With each level (until it maxes out at 15), there is a message that appears onscreen; some of the messages are in regards to instructions and tips for the game, others are taunts if the player has found one of the Easter eggs included in the cartridge, whereas others are humorous (one stating that Spike's girlfriend Molly is "away" from the game, while another one asks "Have you played Atari today?").
- The original Q*Bert arcade game used a joystick that could be moved in diagonal directions only, which can be difficult to replicate with a standard stick. There is a choice between using a regular or angled stick on the title screen, plus rotating a controller 45 degrees (to simulate using it diagonally) and/or placing the controller on a flat object (such as a book) might help with the control.
- There is a collision detection bug with LOG, as the player can sometimes jump through him several times without being able to remove him from the screen.