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A Novice's Guide to Beating the Swarm


by spoonguardonline

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Swarm II – The Bugs Strike Back. One of the newer games to the games room, and, as with many of the recent game releases, it is remarkably similar to an older game – namely, Swarm. Evidently, Neopets doesn’t mind that people realise that this is a remake of Swarm, because otherwise, calling the game Swarm II isn’t the best way of keeping that fact inconspicuous. It is, though, a good remake, as the graphics are different, and altogether much smoother.

Enough of the opening comments. Now, the novice returns, in a new guide, to Swarm II. And, that knowledge is essential. ‘Novice’ is the key word there. If you don’t know what it means, look it up in a dictionary. Or I’ll do it for you. According to one dictionary a novice is ‘a beginner, someone new in anything’. That’s me. I am a novice. I am not an expert, and I am not fantastically good at this game. Anyhow, let’s get on with the guide, safe in the knowledge that you are in the hands of a total idiot. First, the basics.

The Basic Idea

The basic aim of the game is to destroy the swarm. Hence the name – Swarm. There is a Swarm, full of bugs (that’s where the Bugs Strike Back bit comes from). The Bugs are Striking Back. Do you see the relevance of the name yet? Good.

The slightly less basic idea is how to actually stop the Bugs from Striking Back. You have to move backwards and forwards along a small ridge, with lots of brick walls. Well, lots if you call five a lot. You have to dodge the little fire things that the bugs will fire down at you, and shoot them. If you hit them, they get destroyed. If they hit you, you lose a life. Lose three, and the bugs have defeated you. There are walls, which you can hide behind, and these protect you from shots. However, hit them nine times, and they’re gone. Sound simple? It is.

The controls are equally simple. The left and right arrow keys move you left and right, and the space bar fires your projectiles at the bugs, or the walls, if you feel so inclined. Easy.

Enemies

In this game, there are two enemies:

RED BUGS – These are small, and there are a lot of them. They fire small fireballs at you occasionally, and there are generally a lot of them at the start of the level. If you defeat them all, you start a new level. These are not too difficult.

GREEN BUGS – The green ones are more rare, and fly across the top of the screen occasionally. They fire down large fireballs at frequent intervals during their fly across the screen. They are hard to hit, but the fire becomes easy to dodge after about two minutes of experience, although it can still take you by surprise.

Scoring and Levels

The game works on a scoring system which it doesn’t call Multiple Hit Bonus, but which I do call Multiple Hit Bonus. Basically, it speaks for itself. Every time you fire a projectile, you start to activate this bonus. If you hit one bug, then you score 3 points. However, if your next projectile hits a bug, you get 4 points for hitting that bug. If your next projectile hits a bug, you score 5 points, and so on and so forth. However, if your projectile misses a bug, then your Multiple Hit Bonus resets, and you have to start again from 3 points per bug. If you manage to hit one of the green flying things that go really fast across the screen, then you score 20 points, which is quite a lot (see Other Hints for more on the green things) Every time you defeat an entire swarm of bugs, you move onto the next swarm. There are ten waves of bugs in total. The number and speed of bugs increases as you move onto the next level, and the walls regenerate for each level.

Bonuses

A game just wouldn’t be a game without bonuses, and stuff falling from the sky that does stuff to you. The bonuses are as follows:

GROW – This looks like two arrows flashing blue, and facing away from each other. This makes your tank bigger. You do not want this bonus, as it will expose more of you to an oncoming fireball. It’s not that dangerous, though, and any experienced player will find it just as easy to control a large tank as the normal sized one.

SHRINK – This looks like two flashing red arrows pointing towards each other. This bonus is useful, because it makes your tank smaller. Smaller tank = less hits. Less hits = more points. More points = more happiness. So this small bonus can bring you lifelong happiness. Ahem…

SPEED UP – This bonus is a large, green, flashing cross. Pretty. It is also incredibly useful, and can make you dodge oncoming fireballs with ease, as it gives you a massive speed boost. Combined with Shrink, this can be lethal for the bugs.

SLOW DOWN – This bonus is a flashing blue and pink dash. This, surprisingly, slows you down, so you can’t move very fast at all. This, when combined with Grow, can become lethal for you, as a slow moving, massive tank is not going to be the best at manoeuvring around flaming balls of terror.

LASER – This bonus is a white and blue line, and is, interestingly, the only bonus that doesn’t flash at you constantly. It destroys an entire column of bugs above you, and can also be one of your best weapons against the green bugs. The only disadvantage is that it’s only a one-use power-up.

AP SLUGS – This bonus is a large projectile inside a yellow explosion. If you don’t look carefully, you can also mistake it for a chainsaw. This is one of the best bonuses in the entire game. It gives you larger, faster missiles, and five of them! One for each wall! It also makes hitting the pesky green bugs much easier. Warning: These aren’t real slugs. If you want real slugs, try Attack of the Slorgs.

SHIELD – This shield bonus looks like a white bubble with blue bits around the edges, and protects you from one shot from the fireballs. Quite useful, but not to be relied on.

WALL REPAIR – This bonus looks like a wall, and (surprise, surprise) repairs all your walls. This can be good or bad, depending on whether you rely on walls or not.

Other Hints

- This game is one of those that require persistence, rather than skill, to get a trophy for. Skill is involved, and it is still hard to get (I’m not saying it’s easy, for all those people who worked hard for their trophy), but persistence is the key. This is because there will only ever be a set number of red bugs, but an unlimited number of green ones. So, with patience, you can shoot down every green bug you see, and wait, and get a high score. I haven’t got one, because I lack the patience, but I would know how to go about it. Firstly, you shoot down all but one of the red bugs, then you wait, and hit the green bugs every time they go over. Then, you gain 20 points a shot. However, you may need to shoot down over two thousand of them to get a trophy. That’s a lot!

- A good strategy of removing the red bugs, if you just want 1,000 NP per game, is just to stand at one side of the game, preferably the right, and keep shooting. Then, you get to shoot all the red bugs, one by one, and you get advanced warning of any green bugs approaching. Also, very few fireballs go down the very edge of the screen.

- Familiarise yourself with the bonuses. Make sure you know which ones you are going for, and make sure you know the risks, and whether it is worth going for it or not. Learn to do this quickly, and without taking your eye off the game.

- 1,000 NP is really easy to get on this game. If you play reasonably well, you can easily have 1000 points (all you need for full NP) after wave six or seven.

- Walls can be useful or not. Without them, you stand a bigger chance of being hit, with nowhere to hide, but can shoot more freely. With them, you can hide from shots, especially the dangerous green bug flames, but need to move around to shoot. Walls can be knocked down in nine hits, by a small flame, or by a normal projectile from you. The larger flames, and the AP Slugs do twice as much damage, whilst the laser does four times the damage of a normal shot, although this, unlike the others, damages the thing hiding/flying behind it. Personally, I don’t use the walls much.

That’s all from me. This is spoonguardonline a.k.a. the novice, signing off.

Author's note – Do not get angry with me if this guide is wrong, or information is messed up, or you believe I have no brain. The information is most probably wrong, and the brain I know is non-existent. Neomail is welcome. Thank you for reading!

 
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