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9  |  This Game Has Bugs, Part 1
Darryl B. , 8/24/2005 12:00:28 PM
Bugs, meh. Aren't there more species of bugs than there are TOTAL HUMAN BEINGS on this entire planet? Yeah, I think so. Sure, they're good for keeping nature in balance -- I guess -- since they keep certain birds fed and happy, but most of 'em are ugly, we have to buy sprays and/or bomb our houses occasionally to keep them at bay, they give most girls the creeps, and even some of the guys! Yep, a certain insane, rather foolish man that does his own death-defying stunts, has broken numerous bones (repeatedly!) in his body, movie star Jackie Chan is reportedly afraid of bugs! (Hilariously ironic, no?)

So, it isn't much of a surprise that there have been numerous video games created in regards to squashing the critters, and of course Lady Bug is no exception.

Granted, there's no bug-squishing here -- except for when you lose a life, I guess -- but, aside from eating up your garden (I think), lady bugs aren't bad: they're slow-moving, so they're not a threat to the ones that have the nerve to fly in your face and scare us half to death, and they're nice and colorful.

Likewise, your lady bug doesn't do anything destructive in this game, being a variation of Pac-Man. However, this one's much more intuitive, and different than any of the Pac-Man games, since it gives you more to do, and requires different strategies than any of it's dot-munching cousin Pac games as well.

Unlike any of the Pac-Man games (Jr. Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Mania, etc.), you first start off in a maze alone; there's a monster pen in the center of the screen (a la Pac-Man) for the bugs to start crawling out of, but they're on a timer, rather than immediately appearing first thing. This gives you some time to come up with a strategy in regards to eating as many dots as you can (maybe you can pretend they part of the garden of the a-hole next door neighbor with the loud stereo) before the bugs start being released.

Like I said, this is a bit different than Pac-Man, due to several things, like the turnstile doors: certain doors in the maze can be turned, some of which, if turned at the right angle, can even close off a path to a bug that's pursuing you (in your face, ugly bug! I'll just pretend that was annoying weathercaster Willard Scott...). There are also various bonuses that you can rack up your score with (like enabling the 2x, 3x, and 5x score multipliers), along with giving yourself an extra life (by spelling out "EXTRA") beyond the looming death that is a can of Raid (ok, that isn't actually in the game, but it's close enough).

Unfortunately, there aren't any energizers to turn the tables on the bugs and eat them...just the opposite, really: there's several skulls in each maze, which, even though they don't move, you still have to navigate around them, or else contact with one of them = one dead bug. But as per Colecovision usual, this has most of the bells and whistles of the arcade original, even down to the crummy response from the crappy controllers, as I just played the Ultracade version of the original at a gaming expo a couple of months ago, which I was going "was the control ALWAYS this bad?" I couldn't remember, since it had been a very long time since I played it last...but it hasn't been as long for since I last played this Coleco port, though :)

Not that I'd include this in a "better than sex" list, but as far as this being More Fun Than Having to Deal With Real Bugs:

1. You can stay inside, away from possibly god-awful heat and humidity (like here in Houston, where I currently live).

2. You don't need bug spray.

3. You won't get bitten by anything (much less eaten alive, due to...well, see #1 again).

4. You won't have to clean off your shoes from stomping on bugs, and

5. Even if Jackie Chan lives in your neighborhood (which is doubtful), even a tough guy like him won't be able to help you with your bug problem anyway.

9/10

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