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Elite Systems Ltd
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Duncan MacDonald
Chris Bourne

Boing, bong, bong - splat, Curses! Boing, boing, boing - splat! Curses, curses, spit! Boing, boing, splat! Yaaaargghhh!!

In Hopping Mad you get to control a bouncing ball (well, four bouncing balls to be precise), in a sort of Wonderboyish type landscape which scrolls inexorably from left to right. To the right of the screen are your four balls, which bounce alternately (describing a sine wave) (a what? Ed), and the object of the game is to lead your merry rubber troupe safely through the scrolling screens, while eating apples and popping any floating balloons you see bobbing about. Your progress is hindered, however, by various nasties, both ground-based and airborne: hedgehogs, cacti, venus fly-traps (ball traps in this case), sharp rocks, buzzing bumble-bees and sharp-clawed eagles to name but a few. But if you can manage to survive long enough to pop 10 balloons, you get boinged up to the next level (different landscape and flashes) for more of the same.

Controlling your inflatable chums is a tricky business at times. There are just three movements: slow forward, fast forward and bounce. And when you find a ground-based hedgehog scrolling towards you with a balloon above and an eagle behind, can you manage to high bounce over the hog, pop the balloon, and still get all the balls safely down without touching the bird? Answer: probably not but you've only got about three femto-seconds to make your decision... there's no stopping in this game - you can slow the scrolling down but you can't stop it!

The graphics aren't exactly mind blowing, but you could say they are chunky, functional and quite nicely animated.

Hopping Mad is one of those rare games - easier than falling off a log to get into, but a lot (lot) harder than falling off a log to get very far in. We are talking quite addictive here. Quite addictive indeed. Curses. I've just got to go and have another quick go. Boing, boing, boing - splat, Bleeeeeee!

Scrolling bouncy ball avoid'em/collect 'em up. Inflatable 'tear your hair out just one more go' frolics. Almost as addictive as banana Nesquik.