Commodore User

Hoppin' Mad
By Elite
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #57

Hoppin' Mad

Hullo, this looks a wee bit familiar. Four bouncing balls... balloons... cutesy Wonderboy-ish backdrops... Hoppin' Mad bears more than a passing similarity to a game called Cataball, released on Elite's Trio compilation last summer. It's the same concept with more levels and... and that's about it, really.

For the benefit of those who missed out the first time around, you didn't miss a great deal. The idea is to guide a string of four bouncing balls along horizontally scrolling landscapes, avoiding obstacles and nasties lest they burst one or more of your balls. Collect ten balloons and you move on to the next, more difficult level.

The first scene is a slice of countryside complete with fencing and trees, with birds, hedgehogs, bees, and ball-eating plants to avoid. Level Two is set against a beach backdrop, including palm trees, buckets and spades, and has you dodging tortoises and more birds.

Fish, jellyfish and rocks provide their share of problems on the undersea setting of the third level, while snakes make their debut in the ancient ruins of Level Four. Later stages feature ghosts, skulls and holes in the scenery to bounce over.

That's basically all there is to Hoppin' Mad, and for the price it's not really enough. It's a playable game, granted, but there's not enough variety to enthral for any great length of time. What it needs is more than just creatures to avoid and balloons to catch - some moving platforms wouldn't go amiss, in fact some more standard platform game-style features would have made things more interesting full stop. Sorry, Elite. This was almost a very good game.

Gary Penn