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How to Fetch! a Top Score


by htamale

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Fetch! is one of the simpler games to play in Neopia, but being simpler to play does not necessarily mean it's simple to play it well. Your Master has sent you, a somewhat emaciated mutant Blumaroo, to retrieve an object for him from a maze. Little is known about this Master. It is generally assumed that he is male (or surely it would be Mistress, although we should learn from Xandra not to take these things for granted). We do know the Master is evil because:
  1. He never shows his face.
  2. The maze is in Haunted Woods.
  3. He could easily buy these items from a shop or the trading post.
  4. He probably put the item in the maze in the first place – surely he could have just kept the item and saved us the trouble?

Not that it really matters, but the item you will be asked to retrieve will be one of the following, Ergy Paste, Blood Mole Seeds, Melow Seeds, Sporkle Droppings, Smellyshroom Essence, Bloatershrooms, Grackle Pus, Ghostbeef Essence, Froiler Essence, Faerie Dust, Whomp Berries, The Stuff or Rotten Peachpas. The item makes no difference to your score.

Anyway, you have to go into the maze, grab the item and get out of the exit in fewer steps than you have available. Oh yes, not content with making you navigate a maze, the Master has given you a limited number of steps in which to retrieve the item and get to the exit; otherwise, you collapse in exhaustion and are branded a failure (told you he was evil). On a brighter note, the quicker you do it, the more points you get, but the main objective is to get out.

There are five levels of which the last two have to be unlocked. As the levels get harder, they get bigger, and the number of available steps goes up, but not by as much as the size, so it gets harder (otherwise, it wouldn't be insane, would it?). Fiendish becomes available at 1000 points and this is the map I suggest you use if you are targeting a score which will get you a trophy.
Level Size Steps NP for Completing
Easy 10x10 65 101 + step bonus
Medium 15x15 100 201 + step bonus
Hard 20x20 175 225 + step bonus
Fiendish 25x25 225 1501 + step bonus
Insane 30x30 250 2501 + step bonus

The first important thing to note is that the item you are searching for can always be found a maximum of one square from the center. So on easy it's in the 5th or 6th row from the top and 5th or 6th column from the side. In Fiendish it's 12th, 13th or 14th row from the top and the 12th, 13th or 14th column from the side. I assume you can work out the others for yourself by dividing the size of the maze by two.

The second important thing to know is that the exit is always on the opposite side to where you started. The only problem is when you start in a corner, as that means it could be on two sides – better hope you are lucky!

How does the above help? Well, you can count your way towards the centre. If you are lucky enough to be able to see two sides when you start, work out your location, and then as you move, add one or take one away. For example, I start in the top lefthand corner, so I start at 1-1. I move right so now 1-2. I move down so 2-2. I move left so 2-1. I move down 3-1. and so on and so on. I must admit, I write it down as I go because I can get confused about which number was up/down and which was left/right.

We are aiming for the centre so if you know where you are, you can work out what direction you want to be moving in to get the item. Not that it's always that easy, it is a maze, but it keeps you on track. If you can see you are going to hit a dead end, then don't waste steps; double back immediately and try a different route.

Upon getting the item, aim for the opposite side to where you started. I tended to find upon picking up the item it was best to continue on in that direction rather than double back. Don't neomail me if it doesn't work; it's just a personal observation. I must admit I often stop counting once I have the item and just try to head in the direction where I know the exit is. I imagine if you continue to count, it may yield slightly better results, but as it's a lot easier to find the side of a maze than the center, I prefer to save the time and wing it.

I know some people who map the levels. I assume there are not an infinite number of levels and that in theory you could have a map for every level. Whether you could identify which map you are on is open to question. Personally I think it's unnecessary; counting the steps has always worked well enough for me to not go through the pain of mapping levels, but I present it as an option for your consideration.

The final point to note is that you get a high score by chaining together wins. Each game scores you the number of neopoints you get for beating that level plus half the number of steps remaining. You can chain together a maximum of five wins. To be scoring enough points to secure a trophy, I strongly recommend playing on fiendish. Insane scores more points if you complete it, but you only get twenty five more steps and the map gets a lot bigger. If you can chain together five wins on fiendish, you are virtually guaranteed a trophy – at the time of writing this, five fiendish wins has a base score of 5 x1501 = 7505 which would be a first place and gold (for bronze a chain of two would get you there).

You may not need to score that high; have a look at the high score table to see what is needed. Remember on reset day that a score posted early may well not hold by the end of the day as people in other time zones wake up and send scores. Scores are more stable later in the month, although they will be higher, but at least you know what you need to get. If you do beat it five times on fiendish, you may as well have a go on insane. If you win, your chain of five will increase in value by around 1000. If you lose, you still keep your old score.

The key skills you need are the ability to count, a little special awareness so you don't keep going back where you came from, patience as this game does take a little time to play, and luck. I wish you the best of luck escaping the clutches of the evil Master and hope this helps add a nice shiny trophy into your collection.

 
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