Talek's Trophy Tips: Whacking Wicked Wights
Ever wondered how to get that shiny golden trophy? Or chase up that elusive avatar? With guides abound, it has never been easier to get trophies. Everyone’s writing down tips, but you still can’t wrap your head around it? Talek will take you down the path towards the gamer superstardom. Follow this new series of "Talek’s Trophy Tips", and every few weeks I will present you with a new tutorial how to make it to the top of the scoreboard. This article will provide a step-by-step tutorial and some advanced insight to reach that extra mile.
NOTE: This step-by-step guide will set you on the path to stand the highest chance of getting a champion trophy after the monthly trophy reset. For the month-to-month evolution of the scores, consult Sabre’s TrophyTracker petpage.
Whacking Wicked Wights
Now that we have explored the depths and the skies of Neopia, time has come to return to ground level - with a catch. This time we are crossing into the metaphysical, going Ghost Bopping. Time of foul, dark magic is abound as Halloween has long since come and gone, leaving the pathway for ghosts, wraiths and other malevolent entities to freely enter Neopia for another year. In this entry, we will venture deep into the Haunted Woods, tasked with helping the graveyard caretaker to get rid of the pesky wights that are coming to haunt Neopians from beyond the grave. As protectors of Neopia (a.k.a. caretaker-in-training), it will be on our reflexes to eliminate the denizens in a whack-a-mole, err… whack-a-ghost fashion and save Neopia from the looming ghastly threat.
The base principle of Ghost Bopper is to whack all the ghost Petpets that pop up from the graves, all the while collecting as many points as possible and maintaining enough lives to get you through the game. The game itself is played on a 3x3 grid, corresponding to the numpad section of the keyboard (or the appropriate subset of the qwerty keyboard). In each level, you will have 30 seconds to whack as many ghosts as possible - but beware: missing a ghost, whacking an empty grave or a skull will lose you a life. Whacking a ghost will give you points - as will hitting bonus coins that randomly appear in their wake, and treasure chests, while whacking a heart will give you an extra life (up to a total of 10 lives).
In total, there are thirteen levels in the game - four sets of three levels each based around a different rotation of the controls, and the final "boss" level. As you progress through the levels, the ghosts become stronger requiring more whacks to disappear. As well, after every few levels, new objects will start to appear.
Ghost Greebles, requiring one whack (Level 1 onwards)
Ghost Faellies, requiring two whacks (Level 2 onwards)
Skulls - hitting a skull will lose a life (Level 3 onwards)
Treasure Chests - hitting chests will give you points and spawn a heart or bonus coins (Level 4 onwards)
Wandering Kacheeks - hitting the Neopets will lose you points, but contrary to in-game messages, it will not deduct lives (Level 5 onwards)
Ghost Deavers, requiring three whacks (Level 6 onwards)
Ghost Onas, requiring four whacks (Level 8 onwards)
Skeletons, requiring one whack with the corresponding number shown by the skeleton, as opposed to the grave they are on (Level 13)
The final level of the game will also last double as long - you will have 60 seconds to get as many points as possible, with the added caveat of skeletons which will mess up your rhythm. The level is good to build points - but take heed, it is not particularly trustworthy for points. Sometimes they spawn really slow, and will only spawn one or two at a time. Be sure to make as many points as possible in the levels before! Also, sometimes the level will glitch and the actual key you are pressing will not trigger, instead triggering one randomly on-screen. From what I have seen, it is only visual and will not take a life away.
As previously mentioned, the game enables you to play using either the numpad (789-456-123) or using letters (YUI-HJK-BNM). Fundamentally, there is no big difference in gameplay. However, the letter grid in keyboards is not normally evenly aligned, making it a little bit more uncomfortable than the numpad. From my experience, Macs also do not recognise the keyboard numpad by default, which may hinder some players by forcing to play using the letter keys. Ultimately, make your own choice - though the numpad would be my recommendation.
However, whichever you choose, there is a catch…
The controls rotate ninety degrees after every three levels and will make it very difficult to play the game if you keep the keyboard still:
In levels 4-6, the keyboard will turn 90 degrees counter clock-wise: instead of 789-456-123, you will have 963-852-741.
In levels 7-9, the keyboard will flip 180 from 789-456-123 to 123-456-789. Recommended to keep the default placement.
In level 10-12, the keyboard will flip 90 degrees clock-wise: 789-456-123 to 147-258-369.
In level 13, the keyboard will be the same as in levels 1-3.
In this game, you will need to rotate your keyboard accordingly to make gameplay easier. Also this is where the uneven alignment of letter keys will present itself as a problem.
Furthermore, not unlike other games, the game will offer multiple size and quality options outside of the game. Low quality is the recommended option, like with most timed games, to make the game go smoother and faster at the expense of graphics.
So now we come to the scoring. Understanding how scoring works is one of the key determining factors in guaranteeing yourself a chance to get a trophy. On the surface, it is pretty simple. Ghost Petpets will give you a point for each whack they require - 1 for Greebles, 2 for Faellies, 3 for Deavers, and 4 for Onas. Skeletons on the last level will give worth 5 points. On the upside, coins are worth 20 points each, while each treasure chest is worth 10. So, a treasure chest with a heart (extra life) will be worth 10, and the one with coins will net you a whopping 30 points! On the flipside, hitting a Neopet deducts 2 points.
The complexity comes from when you are aiming to get a high score. You are not only aiming to get the Petpets, but also aiming to get rid of items on screen as fast as possible, giving the highest point-to-level ratio. All of this is because there is a limit of items that can appear on screen, and you will want to increase the rate of occurrence for the more usable items. Skulls will often take space and hold you back from seeing any Petpets. In order to do that, you will, at times, be forced to take risks, whacking those Neopets that deduct the score or whacking skulls. Why, you may ask? Well, contrary to what it may seem, they can give you points. Yes, the two obstacles run the same routine as ghost neopets - they can drop bonus coins. What you will have to take into account is that due to randomness, it might not result in you getting any points. But when going for the trophy, you will have to take risks. Risking to take out skulls while maintaining 4-6 lives will be the name of the game, and you will see yourself sacrificing points from ghost Petpets to get rid of the Kacheeks, as your screen gets clogged.
An age-old game, unsurprisingly Ghost Bopper became easier to get a trophy in. Still, it seems to draw enough attention to make it competitive every reset. For the lower spots, particularly bronze, the scores seem to range wildly, ranging between 600 and 1100. For the top spots, it takes on average 1100 points for silver and 1200 points for gold. The scores stay roughly similar throughout the month, however, with 1200 pretty much guaranteeing a trophy, whilst the champion spots rise to 1300. Thus it is not a game that is completely dependent on reset to make a trophy run.
The tactics for how to get a trophy in this game are the same for whichever score you are aiming for. Sadly, a lot of that comes down to the randomness of bonus coins/treasure chests/skulls that spawn. However, there are certain steps, from level to level, that can be taken in order to maximise your chances. When going for a trophy, you will have certain point thresholds that you will want to reach before a certain level. Rather than focussing on each level, we will focus on them in groups (not unlike the rotations).
Levels 1 to 3 are fairly straightforward, introducing the basic enemies and basic level progression into the game. The 1st level will spawn Ghost Greebles, worth a point each. On average, you should be looking at 28-29 points, plus any coin bonuses you can muster. Level 2 will start spawning 2-point Faellies, and you should be looking at 44-46 points before bonuses. Now the third level will start spawning Skulls - and sadly, once two are spawned, you will not get anything else to spawn until they are gotten rid of, either through waiting or whacking them. This is a decent time to start whacking them to speed up the game, all the while keeping at least 5-6 lives.
You will also want to average at least one set of bonus coins per level for 50 points per level (150 after level 3). Ideally, you will be targeting a score of 200, but that is supremely rare. If you score less than 125, you will have little chance of getting a trophy, so it is better to restart. But, because of how random the bonus coins are, do not be too disheartened if you can’t meet the higher threshold - because treasure chests…
… will start spawning from level 4 onwards. They are the holy grail of Ghost Bopper, netting you the most points through extra coins. By this point, you will have your controls rotated but if you followed the advice to rotate your keyboard, it won’t pose many problems in the long run. Keep going after bonus coins using a similar strategy.
Levels 5 and 6 will also start spawning Kacheeks and Deavers respectively. Before the Deavers and Onas appear, it will be very difficult to chase up the points lost from the Kacheeks, so be sure to only whack the Kacheek if skulls are prohibiting your next move. Like all objects, they have the chance of spawning bonus coins, albeit it will likely outweigh the bonus through sheer number of Kacheeks hit. Wait for the higher levels to start whacking Kacheeks.
Now end of level 6 will be a very important juncture, as the point threshold will rise ever higher. You are expected to have a minimum of 300 points after level 6 - with the recommended score of anywhere between 350-400, provided you have enough patience. If you do not have 300 points, it is highly recommended to restart, because it is mandatory to reach the next threshold after level 9.
Level 7 will bring the grid back to default, with the caveat that the bottom row of your numpad (123) will control the upper row of the grid, and vice versa. It can be quite complicated to learn at first glance, but you will get used to it. Just remember, DO NOT PANIC. In these levels, panic causes the most problems. If you are yet to adjust to controls, be sure to save as many lives as possible and not whack one too many skulls, as it is easy to slip and lose all lives in quick succession.
Level 8 will introduce Ghost Onas which will give 4 points and require 4 hits. Be sure to focus on getting rid of them first (unless there is a treasure chest/bonus coins in sight). Also, from this point onwards, whack the Kacheeks as they come to not let them clog up your screen. You will need enemies to spawn as fast as possible.
Another important juncture will come after level 9. For bronze during reset, it is passable to have scores around 500-550 mark. But for anything higher, you have to aim to reach at minimum 600 points after level 9 to stand a chance for a trophy. In fact, when going for gold (1200+), you will need 650-700 points to get there. If your current score is below 600, you would be wise to give it another go and restart.
Levels 10 to 12 are what I call the farming levels. The controls will flip again, but they will not provide many problems. Nothing new will appear, so all you need to focus on is getting as many points as possible. You should be aiming to get 80-100 points per level, and reach 850-900 by end of level 12. Ideally, you need between 1000-1050 points to be within distance of gold trophy. For lower trophies, 850-900 will be enough. Anything less than that will put you at risk of not getting enough points.
Level 13 is the final level in the game and awards the most points. But, as previously mentioned, it does not do it consistently, so you will have to make sure to get as many points as possible in the levels prior. The skeletons will give 5 points each and will likely spawn bonus coins, but more often than not, the spawn rate will be quite slow. The final level can give you anywhere from a 100 to well over 300 points (will average out to 200-250), so be sure to farm as many points as possible. Sadly, this makes it very difficult to gauge whether even scores of 1000+ by end of level 12 will be enough for gold. However, on average, it will be more than enough to get you onto the leaderboard on Day 1.
This was the end of the third edition of Talek’s Trophy Tips on Ghost Bopper. There is no easy way to get this trophy - but this guide will make you stand the best chance. Not unlike S.M.E.L.T. before and games like Typing Terror, reaching a trophy score depends partially on luck with the bonus coins. However, with proper strategy, keeping up with the threshold milestones and trial & error, you will be able to reach it in no time. For any other games, look out for further trophy tips in future editions of the Neopian Times.
Now, make haste, for something wicked this way comes…
Struggling to get a trophy? Want tips on a certain game? Neomail me and I will consider including the game in an upcoming article for Talek’s Trophy Tips.
Thank you to Sabre’s TrophyTracker Petpage for the average reset scores.