When you start the game, you will be put in the middle at the bottom of the screen. You have an area five mushrooms high (about 20% of the playing area) to maneuver your Bug Blaster in. The game will start when the enemies enter the screen. Know your enemies! This is the single most important aspect of this game. If you don't know how each of the enemies behave, you won't last long. The enemies are :
1) Centipede (Body and Head) : Goes back and forth across the screen. Will drop to the next level when it encounters a mushroom or the side of the game field. It will go all the way to the bottom when it hits a poisoned mushroom.
2) Spider : These appear from the top left or right of the player area. They will either bounce across the player's area at 45-degree angles or bounce in at a 45-degree angle, bounce up and down a couple of times, go to the middle at a 45-degree angle, bounce up and down a couple of times, then finally go to the right side (at a 45-degree angle), bounce up and down, then exit the area. They destroy mushrooms they cross over.
3) Flea : These appear in Wave 2. They will appear when you have cleared out most of the mushrooms in the player area.
4) Scorpion : These appear in Wave 3. They go across the screen and poison all the mushrooms in their path.
The Centipede will start out as a head and eleven body segments on Wave 1. Wave 2 will be a head with ten body segments and a head that enters from the opposite side. Wave 3 will be a head with nine body segments and two heads that enter from opposite sides. This progression keeps going until Wave 12 when all that enter the screen are heads. The progression then starts back up again in a never ending cycle.
You must eliminate the Wave 1 Centipede only once. Then, until you score reaches 40,000 points, you must destroy each subsequent Centipede wave twice--first as the Centipede moves slowly towards you, then as it moves fast. After your score reaches 40,000 points, each Centipede will only need to be destroyed once.
Shooting the Centipede can have two effects :
1) If you shoot the head, that part turns into a mushroom and the next segment becomes the new head and the Centipede will travel in the opposite direction (since it hit the newly-created mushroom).
2) If you shoot the middle of the body, then the segment hit will become a mushroom. The old Centipede will continue in the same direction. The new Centipede will develop a head at the next segment after the break and head off in the opposite direction.
A good strategy to ensure you destroy the Centipedes in one stroke and to keep the Fleas at bay is to create 'mushroom corridors'. Mushroom corridors are basically corridors between two rows of mushrooms where you can funnel the Centipede down and destroy it when it is moving head-first at your Bug Blaster.
A good defense against the Flea is to keep a certain amount of mushrooms on the screen. There is no hard set value but when the Fleas don't come down, you have enough. This number gets higher as your score increases.
Speaking of score, Fleas start traveling faster after 60,000 points.
Watch out for the Spiders. They enter at either the top or bottom corners. Your Bug Blaster may be in the way if this happens. In addition to collisions, the Spiders wipe out all mushrooms that are in its path. This can create problems when you are creating mushroom corridors. It can also cause the Fleas to appear since you won't have many mushrooms in the player area.
Spiders are unpredictable, so be careful. Sometimes they pounce using long, high leaps and sometimes it bounces in a series of short jumps. Aim your shots and plan your moves based on where the Spider is, and not where you think it is going.
Remember that Spiders never turn back. Once one passes your Bug Blaster on its journey from one side of the mushroom patch to the next, you can ignore it. If the Spider emerges from the right side of the screen, it will work its way toward the left side of the screen, and vice versa. It may pause along its way to bounce straight up and down, but it will never reverse direction.
Blast the Fleas! They are relatively easy to pick off, especially once you get good at moving your Bug Blaster smoothly across the bottom of the screen. Be careful, though! It takes two shots to kill a Flea and after the first hit the falling speed increases.
Blast the Fleas as soon as you can. Stop them from laying mushrooms because you'll just have to blast them out of the way later. The more mushroom on the screen (especially in the player area), the more quickly the Centipedes work their way to the bottom.
If you don't like Fleas, always leave five mushrooms in your area (out of your line of fire). Fleas stop falling when there are five or more mushrooms in the player area. But be on the lookout for Spiders. They destroy mushrooms and if the count drops below five, the Fleas start falling again.
Keep track of where the Scorpions move across the screen. As soon as the Centipede hits a poisoned mushroom, it will immediately head for the bottom of the screen. The only way to stop this headlong plunge is to shoot it in the head. In the later waves, it is not uncommon to have multiple Scorpions going across the screen. They also provide the most points in the game, but they are hard to get. Often rows of mushrooms protect them.
Play the cycles. As the waves progress and more Centipede segments are entering the mushroom patch as independent heads, put more effort into blasting the heads than into chasing Fleas and Spiders. If your area gets too crowded with Centipede heads, you'll have to move your Bug Blaster with exceptional speed and smoothness to stay alive.
If you get unlucky and let the Centipede into your area, you need to destroy it before it gets to the bottom of the player area. Once it reaches the bottom, it will ascend (it will never leave the player area, though). If it does reach the bottom of the player area, another head will come out from the opposite side to start its back and forth march across the screen. This will continue until you destroy all the Centipede parts in the player area or until your Bug Blaster is destroyed.
If your Bug Blaster gets destroyed, all partially shot up mushrooms are regenerated, all poisoned mushrooms are restored to normal, and you start at the beginning of the wave you got killed on.
Depending on machine set up, all enemies (except the Centipede and Flea) speed up at the 1,000 or 5,000 point mark.
Bottom Side Tunnels : To perform this trick, you must do the following...
1) When the Centipede is one row over the player's area (fifth mushroom up), go to the opposite side that the Centipede is on.
2) When the Centipede turns around, it will be in the player's area. It then will make it to the side you are on. Right when it hits the side of the screen and turns around, shoot it. This creates a mushroom and forces the Centipede to turn around and go down one level.
3) Again, after the Centipede hits the wall, shoot it, create a mushroom, and force it down another level.
4) Continue to do this until you have only the bottom part left. There are two ways to do this :
a) If you get killed by the Centipede, this will also create a mushroom and you will have a vertical line of mushrooms along one of the side.
b) If you are quick, you can pick off the Centipede and create this last mushroom.
5) Repeat this for the other side.
6) Regardless of how you create this 'Side Tunnel', you will now have a trapped Centipede since the only thing it can do is go up and down within the player's area. New heads that come out will also be trapped.
7) Now you can pick off enemies at your leisure. The only enemy you need to make sure you take out is the Spider since it can wipe out part of your 'Side Tunnel'.
8) Good players consider this 'cheating' since it basically lets the player have free reign over the game.
Central Tunnel : This trick works along the same line as the 'Bottom Side Tunnel' trick. The difference is that you create a tunnel down the center of the screen...
1) When the Centipede starts its descent, hit it. This will cause it to reverse direction after hitting the new mushroom.
2) After going one or two mushroom lengths, hit it. Again, this will cause it to reverse direction.
3) Continue to do this until you have built a 'tunnel' that touches the player's area.
4) Also make sure you build up mushrooms to the left and right of the tunnel to prevent the Fleas from coming down and depositing their random mushrooms.
5) From this point on, when the Centipede approaches your tunnel, all it will take is one hit to force it to descend. In a sense, you are causing the same effect that a Scorpion causes, but on your terms.
6) Since you are keeping the top left and right areas clear, it should take a longer time for the individual heads to make it to the player's area.
7) It will take a few waves to build up your areas. Once built up, you should be the master of the game.
8) As for the other tunnel, make sure you take care of the Spiders when they first enter so they don't do any damage to your 'Central Tunnel'.
9) Also make sure that you keep your tunnel cleared out by destroying any stray mushrooms within it.
Fortress : If you are patient, you could build a mushroom fortress around your Bug Blaster. Then all you would do is shoot Spiders for the rest of the game.