30 November 2011

Kong Conquered!

Late last night just before heading to bed I decided to try and increase my score on Crazy Kong. Having reached 73k last week I figured it was worth trying to surpass 75k and move the game into yellow status. As it turned out, I did that and much more!

Having only managed to get past the third elevator stage once, on this attempt I reached that level without even losing a life, and got past it without any issues. At that point my score was around 8,000 points less than my personal best so I wasn’t expecting much more, but things just got better and better as I went on to reach the fourth elevator stage before losing my first life...

On my next life I got past that stage and the following rivet level without further loss of life. I finally met my match in the form of some aggressive random barrels on the fifth barrel stage but not before squeaking past my target score with 100,100 points - how close was that?

So that’s an unexpected surprise and another 100k achievement. On to the next one!

29 November 2011

Week 10 Summary

Well compared to last week, this was a bit of a disappointment…

I’ve decided to add a new stat to the summary which is my average score across all 40 games. This way I can see how close I’m getting to my target and hopefully this will increase each week of course!

With my focus this past week on boosting scores I hadn’t improved since the start of the challenge, progress was expected to be modest, and so it was. I did play quite a lot of other games such as Dig Dug, Asteroids and Flying Shark, but failed to improve my scores on any of those games. Consequently the only notable achievement of the week was boosting my score to 44,600 on Joust, taking it from red to orange status.

The only other score boost was Crazy Kong, with an increase of 5,200 points. While this doesn’t seem particularly special at first glance, in terms of gameplay it was quite important as I managed to get past the third elevator stage for the first time. Unfortunately the following rivets level saw me lose three lives to some insanely angry fireballs!

You may wonder why Crazy Kong even appears in this challenge as to many people it is just a poor clone of Donkey Kong. However the truth is that unlike many bootlegs of Nintendo’s classic, Crazy Kong is actually an officially licensed version and offers different scoring challenges due some of the hammers being inaccessible.

Anyway, this week I’m not setting myself any targets - I’m just going to play the games I most feel like playing and see what happens. Next week’s update could therefore be really good or really bad!

21 November 2011

Week 9 Summary

What a week it was! It seems the break I had was a good thing because after a couple of unspectacular weeks I am definitely back with a bang…

The early 100k achievements on Return of the Invaders and Mario Bros were followed by big increases on two of the toughest games in my challenge, taking both out of the red status. First was a 20k boost on Ghosts n Goblins – multiple playthroughs of the first level revealed some high value secrets that pushed my score up to 48,600. As if that wasn’t satisfying enough, I then played a few games of Sinistar and managed to get to grips with the asteroid mining, gather enough bombs to dispatch the first level’s Sinistar and push my score up to 62,730 which was an increase of nearly 40k! Annoyingly the game won’t let me enter my initials on the high score table so I’m just known as ‘A’ on that game.

On top of those achievements I also managed to boost scores on Mappy, Dragon Spirit and Hyper Sports by varying degrees, so I’m very happy with the last week’s efforts.

This week I’m hoping for more of the same. I’d particularly like to raise my score on Asteroids, which I have been practicing on for the last few weeks with limited success. It would also be nice to see some movement on the games where I haven’t yet increased the score since the challenge started – the likes of Lady Bug, Flying Shark and Joust spring to mind.

20 November 2011

The Path to Points in Pitfall II

While I’m still nowhere near the 100k mark for Sega’s conversion of Activision’s classic Pitfall II, I have learned a few ways of maximising points on the first stage of the game. So here are my tips for avoiding danger and getting as many points as possible before entering the titular Lost Caverns…

1.      You get points for simply running, so try to run around as much as possible to boost your score. Bear in mind this approach has to be tempered against the time limit, which is only increased when you pick up treasure.

2.      On any screen where things are falling from the sky (excluding the volcano screens) if you hand around for long enough a bonus money bag will fall from the sky. The location this falls from seems to be pretty static. Money bags give you 1000 points each but more importantly add 30 seconds to your time limit.

3.      On the screens where there are logs rolling towards you and there’s a hole in the middle of the screen with a scorpion underneath, I’ve found that if you start running across the screen immediately you can jump over the first log and fall through the hole and you’ll never actually hit the scorpion. It will be close, but you should then run left and pick up the treasure from the preceding screen.

4.      It seems to pay off time-wise to take action straight away. For example on the screen with the swinging ropes you can run and jump on to the first rope as soon as you appear on the screen. Similarly on the screen with the crocodiles you can just start running and jump over them immediately. This is important as you need to keep moving as quickly as possible to avoid running out of time.

5.      When you get to the final screen of the stage, immediately run and jump over the first fireball and fall through the hole in the middle of the screen. Chances are you will probably die due to hitting the bat on the lower half of the screen, but this is actually an advantage as you will restart the screen on the lower part with a full 3 minutes of time. You can then run to the left to pick up a money bag and then go back and finish the stage by collecting the key. You get a bonus for all remaining time so will get way more points this way than if you complete the stage with just a few seconds remaining. Of course you may regret losing that life later on, but by that point you should have got an extra life for reaching 20,000 points so you could just see it as a worthy sacrifice!

17 November 2011

Invaders Return... Invaders Repelled!

For the second time this week, what started out as a practice session resulted in reaching the 100k scoring target. This time it was Taito’s Return of the Invaders, and my score was 103,500.

The key to scoring highly on this one is to trigger the Galaga-esque Challenging Stages, which it would appear can be done on every level by simply leaving a cluster of specific enemies to last. These then morph into a mothership that launches enemies towards you to be picked off at will. However, you can also target the mothership itself to score thousands of points. Once again there’s no video of my 100k achievement but I will definitely record one sometime to show how to trigger the bonus stages.

15 November 2011

A Plumber with a Sore Head: Mario Bros. Completed!

I decided to focus on reaching 100k on Mario Bros. last night and after a couple of scores in the 70 to 80k range, things came together nicely and I just managed to reach the 100k threshold witha  score of 101,120! I did lose a couple of cheap lives in a row around the 90k mark which left me with just one life remaining, so it was a bit hair-raising at the end.

Once again I was just practising and wasn’t really expecting to reach the target score, so there’s no video, but to be honest it was hardly a perfect performance anyway. I may record a quick video just to show a couple of scoring techniques, but in all honesty this is a game where concentration and mastery of the controls are far more important than point pressing.

So finally I have reached 100k on one of the games on my horizontal MAME cab. Not sure what I’ll be aiming for next but it’s already been a good week!

14 November 2011

Game Back On!

Well as predicted in my last post, it’s been a quiet couple of weeks, the first of which was spent preparing for the Replay Expo and the second was spent recovering! As a result I haven’t been playing any of my challenge games, but that will change from today onwards.

Replay itself was hard work but great fun. I did try to set some 100k scores on a few arcade classics but the closest I got was 76k on Donkey Kong (the Japanese boardset) and a score of over 60k on Pac-Land. I also enjoyed playing Operation Wolf, Robotron, Juno First and the brilliant Terminator 2 pinball machine – all original cabs of course! If you want to see more about Replay and some of the machines that were on offer, check out my YouTube videos.

Also noteworthy was that Anna set a new personal best on Cosmic Alien with a score of 19,070, which surpassed her previous top score by more than 1,500 points and was the first time she had scored over 10k on an original machine. Congratulations!

Now it’s back to business and I’m determined to break the 100k barrier on at least one game this week...

2 November 2011

Week 6 Summary

Another delay this week due to being out the last couple of nights, but here’s the current state of play:

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to achieve another 100k score on any games but aside from pushing two games beyond 35k as mentioned in my last post, I did also move two games into yellow status – Return of the Invaders and Pooyan, with increases of around 7,000 points each.

This week I won’t be setting any goals as I’m heading up to Blackpool tomorrow afternoon to help with the preparations for the annual Replay Expo. There’s due to be a very impressive line-up of classic arcade cabs there however, so I may try and do a ‘Replay Special’ 100k challenge and see what I can achieve on those machines over the weekend...