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Mastertronic Plus
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

And you thought you'd seen it all, eh? Armed with a huge space hopper filled with deadly gas and a blunderbuss, you must bounce around the World of Dreams collecting flashing gems. Sounds simple? And it IS! Well, it would be if the World of Dreams hadn't been built out of steps.

The main challenge of Psycho Hopper is simply working your way around the infuriatingly constructed world. Since it takes about four consecutive bounces to reach maximum hop height, and you can't bounce on the spot, you spend most of your allotted time trying to get over relatively simple obstacles. It only takes a couple of steps and a low ceiling to completely halt your progress.

These problems are compounded by the swarms of other creatures who home in on you and don't have any problems getting through the toughest of obstacles.

Thankfully, you are endowed with an unlimited supply of bullets and you can turn and fire in mid air.

Psycho Hopper isn't a bad looking game. It's colourful, with minimal attribute problems and a good turn of speed, even through cluttered screens.

Each stage has its own selection of weird (dreamlike, even) enemies. By far the most deadly are the swarms of bats which flap about and drift doggedly toward you. If you find yourself surrounded by incoming squeakers, you've got to carefully prioritise between bouncing on the spot, clearing the way ahead (thus running the risk of running out of time) or try to press ahead, gaining time but incurring horrific hit points.

The further you manage to fight your way into the game, the more inaccessible the gems become. Even after constant play, I could only achieve a workmanlike standard of control, bouncing around largely out of control, stuck in awkward angles of steps having my energy drained by horrible dwarves tumbling through the roof.

You'll need more patience than me to get the most from Psycho Hopper.


Screenshot Text

Ark! Missed again. Leaping out into mid air to catch the gem is usually fine, but in this case the flames are there to catch you.