Korbats Lab - Smashing Sloth's Storage
Also by ginny_invisible
With the recent reintroduction of the Korbats Lab avatar, it seems fitting that a new guide should be created to help the avatar collectors and gamers of Neopia to improve their scores! Hopefully this article can help you boost that measly score of 250 to something worthy of winning you 1000 neopoints, or even a spot on the high score table! Let’s get started.
Introduction – The Game
Korbats Lab is similar to a popular video game you may recall having played when you were younger. In this case, imagine you are in Dr. Sloth’s lab, and that in order to keep him from creating evil potions you must destroy the boxes in which he keeps his ingredients! In the game, you control a paddle at the bottom of the screen, which can be moved back and forth using the left and right arrow keys. Pressing the spacebar releases the ball from your paddle at the beginning of the game, or any time you start again after losing a life. It can also be used during gameplay to randomly change the ball’s direction – more about this later.
Oh, did we mention something about a ball? The most important piece in the game is the little green ball that you will bounce around the playing window using your paddle. The object of the game is to hit the boxes on-screen, causing them to disappear. When all the boxes you can destroy are gone, you will have completed the level and will move on to the next. There are fifty levels in total.
Obstacles – The Boxes
There are several types of boxes in the game. The most basic are the plain, light brown ones seen in the first level. Each of these boxes can be destroyed by a single hit of the ball, thus exposing the one above or beside it.
Next are those that require multiple hits before they will disappear. There are two of these types of boxes. First, medium brown boxes with a light brown bar on each side need to be hit twice with the ball before they are destroyed, and next are the medium brown boxes with a grey bar on each side, requiring three hits. For each of these types, once the box is hit once it will become darker in colour and show some cracks. The grey-striped boxes become even darker after the second hit to show they are just one bounce away from being broken for good. Both the one-hit and multiple-hit boxes provide ten points each.
There are also two types of boxes which don’t provide points, but do destroy boxes around them: the flame and the bomb boxes.
The flame boxes are the same light brown as the one-hit boxes. However, they have a picture of a flame on the front. These boxes, when touched by the ball, are both destroyed AND release a flame that falls down through any other destroyable boxes below, causing these to disappear as well.
The bomb boxes have a picture of a black bomb on the front. When hit, these boxes are destroyed and also provide one hit to all the boxes around them, including those touching diagonally. This means that all one-hit boxes will be destroyed, and all two-hit and three-hit boxes will become darker and closer to becoming destroyed. Points are awarded for boxes destroyed by the flames or bombs, just as if you had done so by hitting them individually with the ball.
Not all the boxes that appear in the game can be destroyed. Soon enough, you will reach levels that feature grey metal boxes, off which your ball simply bounces with no effect. These are annoying, but you will learn to deal with them and even use them to your advantage. The only exception to their indestructibility is with a particular power-up that will be described later on.
That’s all for the boxes. Seem simple? Well, not quite...
Enemies – The Korbats and Spyders
After hearing a description, you’re probably thinking this is going to be a walk in Petpet Park, right? Unfortunately you’ll soon learn that isn’t quite the case. On many of the levels, Korbats, Spyders, or both will also inhabit the space on-screen. No matter how hard you beg and plead, they will not attempt to play nicely. With practice, though, you can learn to work around them and beat plenty of levels.
To begin, let us discuss the Korbats. These flying creatures in a level will move around, left and right, in a general up and down pattern. Never launch the ball to get it bouncing when a Korbat is too close to your paddle! A ball that hits a Korbat will shoot off in an unexpected direction, and who knows if you’ll be able to save it in time!? It is a good strategy to wait until the bottom third of the screen is free of Korbats before beginning play. Be ready to change your paddle’s direction quickly and keep it in a safe, central position when the ball nears a Korbat.
Spyders are a bit different, but can be equally as tricky. When a Spyder appears in a level, it comes down on its thread from the top of the screen, often interrupting a perfectly-aimed shot. Sometimes being hit by a Spyder can cause your ball to rebound in the opposite direction, but other times it will trigger it to bounce side-to-side on the screen. In general Spyder interruptions are easier to deal with than those of Korbats, but they have the extra bite of being unexpected.
While the monsters in the game generally impede your attempts to score points, they can also provide direction changes to the ball that will help it hit boxes that are otherwise difficult to reach. It is safest for the ball to hit a Spyder or a Korbat while it is in the top half of the screen, so that in the case that it causes the ball to shoot downward, you have time to save it. Practice will help you get used to the game and the way that each type of monster influences the ball. In no time you should know how to best avoid them, or use them to switch things up.
Items – Help or Hindrance?
When a box has been completely destroyed, you will sometimes be rewarded with an item! If so, it will fall from the broken box. You can catch this item by touching it with your paddle as it falls to the bottom of the screen. However, be wary of which items you collect: some are not as beneficial as others! Eventually, you will learn all of the commonly occurring items, and be able to know at a glance whether it will aid or hurt you. The instructions section of the game menu can also be used to become more familiar with the images of the items you may encounter. Until then, the following descriptions can be used as a guide.
There are two different coins that may fall. The silver coin is worth 50 points and is fairly common. The gold coin provides 500 points, but is much rarer. You definitely want to try and collect these bonuses!
This potion is a purple bottle with three balls in it. It will cause three other balls to split out from your original ball. Your original ball will continue in its prior direction, while the other three will break in opposite angles. If you get a power-up while multiple balls are in play, such as the red ball (see below) or a speed increase, all the balls will be affected. However, the three new balls will not possess any previous speed boosts or other bonuses. If you have multiple balls in play and you happen to get another multiplier power-up, only one of them will split into four.
These balls will continue in play for the level as long as you keep them up! Bounce them with your paddle just as you would with the one ball, and try to keep as many up for as long as possible, as they make it a lot easier to destroy the boxes quickly. If you lose one of them, this does not harm you. You will only lose a life once there are no balls left on the screen.
Red Ball Potion:
This is a red potion with a lightning bolt and a red ball inside of it. If you catch it, it will cause all the balls on the screen to turn red for several seconds. This is an extremely useful power-up, because the effect is that instead of bouncing off of the boxes, the ball will go through everything in its path, destroying as it goes. You will get points for every destructible box the red ball touches. Instead of having to bounce the ball against a 3-hit box three times, the red ball will merely go through it with one touch. This is also useful when you have a tricky layout in which metal boxes are preventing you from easy access to boxes above them. Since the red ball can go through them, it reaches into that difficult area above and opens up a path for later.
Make sure you strategize when you see a red ball potion begin to fall. If you get a potion while the ball is at the middle of the screen, falling downward, the ball will revert to normal before you have a chance to bounce it in the direction you want. Therefore, be smart and get the potion when the ball is already on its way to an area with a lot of possible points.
This is a grey potion with a miniature rocket inside it. If you get this, a rocket begins to travel up the screen above your paddle. You can control its horizontal position by moving your paddle left or right. It will provide one hit to the first box it comes in contact with. This means it will destroy a one-hit box, bring a multiple-hit box closer to being destroyed, or set off a bomb or flame. It will not make any difference to the impregnable metal boxes, so make sure you control the rocket to provide the most damage possible. When controlling your rocket, make sure you don't drop your ball! The ball is always more important.
Speed Adjusting Potions:
If your paddle touches green or red potions with arrows pointing upwards or downwards, your speed will change in some way. The potions with a picture of a ball on them will adjust the speed of your ball, while those without will affect your paddle speed. The green ones increase the speed in increments while the red ones decrease it.
Paddle Speed: Making your paddle faster is always a good idea. This will increase your likelihood of reaching the ball. Make your paddle as fast as possible. If your paddle is slow, you may want to consider skipping the level (see Extras section). Not being able to reach the ball fast enough can put you in danger of losing a life, especially if there are Korbats and/or Spyders on-screen, or if your ball is moving quickly.
Ball Speed: Always play safely if you are aiming for a high score! It is more important to keep the ball at a medium to slow speed than it is to increase the pace of the game. Although it is true that Korbats Lab is an extremely monotonous (*cough* albeit ENTHRALLING) game, it is likely that you will be better off playing at regular speed. A faster ball can bounce quickly to the bottom before your paddle can get there, especially if you have Korbats or Spyders in the level. If you must increase the speed of the ball past one increment, be careful! A run-in with a Korbat or Spyder could soon mean game-over.
Paddle Width Adjusting Potions:
The pink and purple bottles with arrows pointing either outward or inward will make your paddle wider or narrower, respectively. It is obviously safer to have the paddle wider, as you are more likely to catch the ball. If you accidentally catch the shortening potion, be very cautious.
This potion is dark grey with some cracks in the glass. It will weaken your multiple-hit boxes and render them one hit away from being destroyed. Get this if possible; makes the level a lot easier to clear quickly.
The green and yellow potions with a "reverse" arrow will flip your controls. They cause left to be right and right to be left in terms of the arrow key you need to press in order to make the paddle go in that direction. With the yellow potion, the screen will stay the same and the controls will switch. With the green potion, the entire screen will flip, with the clock being on the left. If you get either of these potions, you may want to skip the level (see Extras section). They can get you mixed up when trying to catch the ball, which may cause you to lose a life.
These orange or cyan potions have a picture of an exploding ball inside them. The orange one will cause all bombs on screen to explode, while the cyan one will do the same with all flames. You get points for any boxes destroyed by the bombs or flames.
Restart Level Potion:
This potion has a question mark on it. It will restart your current level. This is can be beneficial: since you only have 50 levels, restarting one will give you more points in total. Wait until the last possible moment while your ball gets as many points as it can before you touch the potion. Adversely, if you are playing a difficult level, you may want to avoid collecting this bonus.
Skip Level Potion:
A pink potion marked with an exclamation point provides the same effect as the "skip" code (see Extras section). Touch it and the level will be skipped. See the information on the skip code for suggestions as to its use.
This is not in a bottle, and is an easily recognizable skull. If you touch it, your game is automatically over. Do not touch this at all costs! Losing one life is better than losing them all.
Extra Life Potion:
This extremely rare potion is a bright yellow and contains a star. If collected, it rewards you with an extra life. Obviously this is a good thing to get!
Destroy Enemies Potion:
This looks like a skull inside a blue potion bottle. Do not get it mixed up with the Skull: this one helps you! It will clear the level of all Korbats and Spyders.
IMPORTANT: Catching your ball is always more important than catching an item. A coin can be worth 500 points, but one of your lives can go farther than that! If you are fast, you can judge the speed of both falling objects and quickly grab the item before going back for the ball. If you aren't sure, don't risk it.
The one exception to this is the multiplier potion. If you are in a situation in which getting the multiplier will not leave you with enough to time rescue the ball... get the potion anyway. The original ball will fall, but you will have three other balls you can still work with, and you will not lose a life.
Realize that while you need to be positioned under the ball before it reaches the bottom to bounce it, you merely have to touch the item with the paddle to get its bonus. This means that after bouncing the ball, you may still have time to quickly go over and graze the top of the potion as it falls. If you get there in time, it is still possible to receive the bonus.
Tips – Techniques to Try!
As a supplement to the explanations of each aspect of the game, there are some other tips which will help you to improve your score. Foremost, ALWAYS read the instructions to a game before you start! Although this guide provides you with most of the information present in the game’s instructions, you will never miss out if you read what TNT has to say about the game.
Something you will quickly realize you need to master is using the paddle in the most efficient way possible. This is elementary, but always shadow the ball with the paddle! This is the safest way to play the game, and will also help you to predict what position the ball will have when it reaches the bottom of the playing screen. Furthermore, always hitting the ball with the center of the paddle will not allow you to reach the corners of the screen that you might need to reach to destroy some of the boxes. Try using the tips of your paddle to alter the ball’s angle – but be careful not to miss! Hitting the ball with the right tip of the paddle will cause the ball to travel up and to the right, whereas hitting it with the left side will cause it to travel up and to the left. This is helpful in levels that have flame boxes at the top – if you can reach these early in the level, you will save yourself time trying to destroy the boxes below. Using metal boxes to bounce your ball in favourable directions is also helpful.
Also, take note that the first three levels of the game always occur in the same order, but after that, when you encounter which level plan is random! If you plan on beating most of or all of the levels, this doesn’t influence the game much, but is still a nice piece of information to know.
Korbats Lab takes time and patience to play, but with practice you will get more and more used to it! Read on to learn a few last (but extremely helpful!) pieces of information regarding the game.
Extras – A Bit More Help
There are several hidden tricks in this game that can make it easier to play.
In our opinion, this is one of the most useful tricks! Typing "skip" during gameplay will give the same effect as the Skip Level Potion: it will skip the rest of the level you are on, placing you at the beginning of the next one. The most important thing to remember about this trick is to use it sparingly! Since there is a total of only 50 levels in the game, if you skip too many you will miss out on vital points. Only use skip in these situations:
- All you have left on the screen are bombs or flames, which do not earn you any points.
- All you have left are one or two boxes which seem impossible to get.
- You cannot avoid losing a life (such as in the event that reaching the ball will cause you to hit a falling Skull) .
- You have accidentally gotten one or more power-ups which you think may cause you to lose a life (such as having flipped controls or a slow paddle).
- The ball is about to hit a Korbat or Spyder from a direction you think will cause it to fall to the bottom of the screen before you can reach it.
Again, use this in moderation if you are aiming for a trophy. Don't simply skip any levels that look hard! You need the points from almost every level to be able to score high enough for the first few trophy slots.
If you watch, the candle slowly changes from orange to pink and finally purple during the game. When the candle is purple, the direction of the ball can be changed by pressing the spacebar. This can be useful if you are attempting to get into a difficult space, or if your ball has been locked into an endless going-back-and-forth routine. This makes it easier and faster to beat a level.
Typing in "spiderbite" will give you another life. Use this at the beginning of a level when the ball is still on the paddle. With this, you should have four lives.
Typing in "destroy" will cause your ball to burst into more than thirty balls. Use it when you have a lot of boxes in difficult-to-reach places. You'll find it hard to keep most of them up in the air, but they do make the level a lot quicker. Often this trick will complete a level before the last ball can fall to the bottom of the screen!
If you need to take a break and you are in the middle of a long level, you may want to pause the game. Just press shift and the ball will freeze.
Black and White:
As an aside, typing “monstermovie” will remove all the colour from the game screen and you will be able to play in black and white. Using this code is not suggested, as you will not be able to distinguish the colour changes in the candle. You may also have a hard time identifying the function of some potions.
These extras have been put by into the game by TNT and are not considered cheating - use them as you wish.
Congratulations! You have reached the end of Laura and Ginny’s guide to Korbats Lab. If you are still awake, you’re ready to go off and play the game! Although this version has been around for years now, the avatar obtainable from it was only re-released in January 2009. This has had multiple effects on Neopia: avatar collectors everywhere have celebrated joyously, while trophy enthusiasts have been challenged to score even higher to win a prized spot on the high score table. No fear: you now possess all the knowledge required to have fun and play successfully. Your days of wailing on the Neoboards over failed attempts are over. Happy bouncing!