Monday, 17 November 2014

Super Glob (Arcade)

Super Glob is an arcade game of a style popular in the early 80s, featuring a cute thing of indeterminate nature avoiding enemies and eating things. It's probably safe to say that though a lot of the games in this trend weren't maze games (and in fact there was actually a fair amount of mechanical variation between most of the games), they were almost definitely inspired by Pacman's massive popularity.

In this particular iteration of the theme, the players control a small blue slime named "Glob", and ride in elevators to eat all the food on each stage. The enemies come in the form of various animals: crocodiles, frogs, rabbits, monkeys and pigs, each with their own behaviour patterns.

There's two buttons in use for this game, one to make glob jump up and stick to the ceiling, which is useful to evade enemies, and also to defeat them by dropping onto them from above, though each stage has a time limit in the form of an "energy level", which depletes faster whie Glob is stuck to the ceiling. The second button is used to press the buttons that are dotted around the stages to call the elevators to the player's current floor. This button comes with it's own cute little animation, and the elevators provide another method for dispatching foes: crushing with the top or bottom of the elevator, in a manner possibly inspired by Taito's Elevator Action, released in the same year.

A few stages in, the enemies gain the ability to call the elevators, to kill the player or, since they aren't too bright, each other. A couple more stages and some of the enemies can even ride the elevators up and down, which complicates things even more than it sounds like it does. Each enemy is worth a different amount of points, oddly all being mulitples of eleven. The amount of points each piece of food is worth increases by 10 each stage, too. These two things combine to make a simple, but still interest way of ensuring there can be some variation in the scores of players with different skill levels.

The game is known by a few other names, including The Glob, and Beastie Feastie. There are some difference between the differently named versions, too, though they're all fundamentally the same game: Beastie Feastie has uglier graphics, different stage layouts and a continue option. The Glob appears to be mostly the same as Super Glob, with only a few pallette difference and very minor changes to stage layout.
Here's a comparision of the first stages of each game, with Beastie Feastie on the left, The Glob in the middle, and Super Glob on the right :

You can read more about how this odd state of affairs came about here.

Super Glob is a game that's worth playing, in my opinion. It's cute, it has an interesting scoring system and it's fun to play. It's also part of a mildly interesting footnote in arcade history too, which is nice.

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