Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 4 NO. 11 / JUNE 1990



Our hero has been captured by mad scientists for use in their evil experiments. Will he survive their terrible tests? Is this the end the dynamic reptile? Holy bugs, Bat - uh - Snakeman!
Maze game
512K, low rez, joystick
BUGS.LST          BUGS SET.5

"You have the test subject, Wilson?"

"Yes. His names Edwin."

You hear your name and look around. There seems to be something that you would call wind" - if you had a brain bigger than a walnut - blowing gently out of the northwest, and the big warm sphere above is making you pleasantly sluggish. You decide that you're not that interested in your name anyway and stop looking around.

"We're not going through this again, are we, Wilson? It's an animal. An experiment. An it."

Suddenly, you're lifted into air. Your first impulse is to stick out your tongue and this is exactly what you do. But since experience has taught you this almost never helps the situation, you pull it back in.

All those "scientific" experiments you've endured have mutated your DNA. You're still Edwin the snake, but now you're just more, well, flexible. Your body stretches and contracts like an accordion. And since scientists do as scientists will, they have one last test for you, to clean up all the underground radioactive leakage that has spawned mutant bugs.

You're taken outside and dropped on the grass near a small hole. Acting on instinct, you wrap the end of your tail around the nearby wooden arch and stick your head into the hole, You can't explain why you do it; it just feels right.

"Ha. See? He's smart. He knew exactly what to do."

"Any bioengineer worth his salt can program innate responses into a snake. Let's just see what happens." Another idea tickles your cerebellum. You plunge into the hole. When your eyes adjust to the darkness, you head for the small gleam ahead of you. You think it might he a good idea to eat it. You do, and notice another one farther along. Instinctively you elongate your body and head toward it.

Suddenly, the gleaming thing in front of you starts to growl. Even if your brain is smaller than a walnut, you know this is not a friendly sign. You hack up and try another passage.

Poised and Ready
To play Bugs!, double-click on the archive file BUGSBUGS.PRG and choose Extract when the dialog box appears. Select a destination disk and the files will he un-ARCed directly onto that disk. To start the program, double-click on BUGS.PRG. The game runs in low resolution and requires a joystick.

At the title screen, press the joystick's fire button to start the game using the first maze. If there aren't any mazes to run, you'll go directly into the Editor. Bugs! comes with nine mazes, which are named BUGS_SET.1 through BUGS_SET.9.

If you want to choose the starting maze, press [Spacebar]. A box appears in the center of the screen. Use the right and left arrow keys to cycle through the available mazes, then press [Return] when the one you want is shown in the box. [Escape] exits Bugs!. [Return] takes you to the Bugs! Editor.

Down the Hatch
Underground, there is a maze of tunnels littered with large and small radioactive pellets, and blue and red bugs. Your job is to eat all the pellets and avoid being killed by the bugs.

You eat something by running over it with your head. You score points if you eat a blue bug, hut a red hug is so radioactive that it's lethal. (Why else do you think it's glowing?) Conversely, nothing happens if a red bug runs over your body, but a blue bug, with its toxic skin, will kill you if it runs into you.

Lucky for you, eating a large pellet causes a radioactive explosion which temporarily stuns the blue hugs but does not affect you.

Clean up the radioactive tunnels, avoid the deadly bugs
and live to run another maze.

When editing a maze, use the mouse to select and lay
down tiles.

For every pellet you eat (big or small) you get points equal to the current level times two, plus one. On level one, for instance, you get three points; on level five, you get eleven. When you eat a bug, you get the level times five. When you complete a level, you get a 50-point bonus for each life you have left.

You must clear all the pellets from the maze and return to the surface in order to proceed to the next level and a new maze. The bugs speed up every three levels and the time they are stunned by the big pellets decreases with each new level.

You have three chances to clear each level. If you're successful, you're given three new lives.

Edwin's Editor
The Editor lets you modify the original mazes or create your own. Enter the Editor from the title page by pressing [Return].

You begin with a blank screen, upon which you can create a new maze. To modify an existing maze, press [Fl]. Again, a box appears and you use the left and right arrow keys to cycle through the available mazes. Press [Return] when the number of the maze you want shows in the box. The [Escape] key aborts this operation.

Edit a maze with the mouse. When you enter the Editor, the blank tile is selected. Press the right mouse button to switch to select mode, then move the mouse until the white box highlights one of the tiles at the top of the screen. Press the left mouse button to make it the current selection and return to edit mode.

In edit mode, use the mouse to move the small white box around the screen. Press the left mouse button to place the current tile at the location of the mouse.

When you finish editing,  saves the maze to disk. You can overwrite a current maze, or press the right arrow key until it reaches the end of the list, then press [Return]. The new maze will he added to the end of the sequence on disk.

A Job Well Done
"Look, the radiation's dropping already. He'll have the whole test site cleaned up by afternoon."

"Good job. So far. And stop grinning. Look, the scanners show another bug coming up. Where is he now?"

"He? You called him a he!"

"Well I... uh.. .0K! OK! He! It's a he!

Greg "Maddog" Knauss has been programming Atari's since he got his first 400 in 1982, despite the fact that several organizations exist to try to make him stop. He promises to visit START when he's next in San Francisco. We're anxious to examine him.