HUSTLE is a 1- or 2-player video game which challenges players' reaction time as they attempt to build up a high score. The object of the game is to maneuver a moving arrow into targets which appear randomly on the screen. Each arrow is accompanied by a tail, which can be used to block the opponent from scoring targets.
TARGETS : The targets appear randomly on the playfield. The position of a target, the value of a target, the time a target stays on the screen, and the time before a target appears are all unpredictable : There are never more than two targets on the screen at any time.
To add to the unpredictability, some targets appear with a value of ???. These are mystery targets, and can have a value from -900 points to +900 points. Players go after the mystery targets at their own risk since the only way to determine whether or not a mystery target is positive or negative is to hit the target. Whenever a target is scored, the game pauses while the appropriate player's score is tallied. Two distinctive sounds accompany the scoring, depending on whether the target score is positive or negative. All non-mystery targets (which are all positive), and all mystery targets (which have positive values) are scored with an attention-getting warble sound. All mystery targets which prove to be negative are scored with a distinctive penalty sound.
CRASHES : A crash (accompanied by a loud boom sound) occurs whenever a player hits anything other than a target. The three obstacles a player might hit are one of the screen boundaries, the other player's tail, or his own tail. Whenever a crash occurs, the opponent scores 400 points PLUS all target values on the screen. If any mystery targets are on the screen during a crash, their values are revealed, and they are awarded to the opponent. All mystery targets whose values are revealed as the result of a crash are scored positive for the opponent.
GAME SPEED : The game begins with the players moving at a moderate pace. Every time a target is scored, the pace picks up slightly. After ten targets have been scored without a crash, the pace stays at a maximum rate. Whenever a crash occurs, the pace reverts to its initial moderate value, and increases with each score, as before.
TAIL LENGTH : Whenever a crash occurs, both players' tails grow longer. The game plays quite differently as it progresses. At the beginning of a game, both players have short tails and are highly maneuverable. At this stage the game is a "foot race" to score the targets. As players crash and tails get longer, a blocking strategy is added to the race for the targets. This constantly changing nature of the game is designed to provide long-lasting appeal, and insure a long earning history.
SINGLE PLAYER : HUSTLE has been designed to be just as exciting for one player as it is for two. A single player plays against himself, and not against the computer.
The single player game is initiated by simply pressing the ONE PLAYER START button instead of the TWO PLAYER START button after inserting a coin. The controls for one player are located on the right side of the control panel. The game plays the same as for two players, with these exceptions :
1. There is a single arrow and tail, instead of two.
2. Crashes are scored as PENALTY points, with the same score as in the two player game. That is, a crash scores 400 plus all on-screen targets into the PENALTY score.
3. At the end of the game, the PENALTY points are subtracted from the player's score.
The object of the single player game is to rack up as many points as possible. The game action is the same as the two player game, with the lengthening tail and the accelerating pace.
Screen orientation: Horizontal
Video resolution: 256 x 224 pixels
Screen refresh: 60.00 Hz
Palette colors: 2
Control: 4-way joystick
Hustle was released in May 1977.
To promote the game, Gremlin sent two scantily-clad 'Gremlin Girls' on a 12-city tour where they took on all comers at the game. Players who won 2 out of 3 games won a hundred dollar bill. The company claimed that out of 1233 challengers, only seven won the cash.
TIPS AND TRICKS
FREE GAMES : For areas of the country where free games are legal, HUSTLE can be set to award free games for scores of 11,000, 13,000, 15,000 or 17,000 points. The game is shipped with the free game option disabled. If free games are legal in your area, it is highly recommended that you enable them --- they provide an extremely powerful incentive to play the game. Free games are awarded only in the single player game, since the two player game could give free games any time two players cooperated to give one of the players a very high score.
It is not possible to win two free games in a row (i.e. no free games on free games). Whenever free games are enabled, the message SCORE XX000 POINTS FOR FREE GAME appears on the screen just after the ONE PLAYER START button is pressed. The XX will be 11, 13, 15, or 17 depending on how you jumper the game. This message is displayed for about 5 seconds, and then the single player game begins. Whenever a free game is won, the message FREE GAME! is momentarily displayed on the screen, followed by the message PRESS START. If at this point ONE PLAYER START is pressed, the free game score message will not be displayed before the game starts, since a second consecutive free game will not be awarded. It is also possible to press the TWO PLAYER START after a free game is awarded and play a two player game.
GAME TIME : The top margin of the game contains the word TIME, with a two digit timer above it. The game starts with a time value of 90, and decrements to 0, at which time the game is over. The timer actually counts player moves rather than 'ticking' once per second. Also, the timer stops during all scoring. These effects produce a repeatable game time of about 2 minutes.
It is possible to shorten the game time to about 1-1/2 minutes by changing an internal jumper. In this case, the timer still begins at 90, but it ticks faster.