Bug Hunter in Space is the sequel to Bug Hunter, both written by Ian Richardson. This follow-up was published by Minerva Software in 1990 and is a platform puzzle game where you play a six-inch bipedal invertebrate called “Hysteron Proteron” on a mission to squash bugs, and stop aliens from destroying all life on earth.
The crux of the game is that your two-legged character can walk around the outside of a room either clockwise or anticlockwise – on the floor, walls, and ceiling – by using magnetic soles on his feet. He can jump, but only when he’s on the ground (he can’t jump when he’s on walls or the ceiling). He can also pick up items and drop them and they will fall downwards when dropped. This allows him to carry items to places where they can be dropped on insects and enemies, which will eradicate them, but it also puts him in danger if heavy items fall down onto him.
Some items that you find have uses other than as weights to drop on enemies. Laser guns, for example, will shoot a destructive beam in the direction you’re facing. If you’re standing on a wall that can be up or down. If you’re standing on the floor or ceiling that will be horizontally. Some enemies can be eradicated using the laser, but not all of them. The laser’s also useful for clearing crates that might be blocking the way. There’s a space helmet that must be worn when in a vacuum area, and it too can be used to drop on enemies but it will break when doing so, so you must be careful if you need it later. There are other single-drop breakable items too, but few are as useful as the space helmet.
There are switches for turning things on and off; there’s a map showing a side view of the wider area, and you get three lives to get as far as you can before it’s ‘game over’. Oh, and there are passwords every four or five levels so that you don’t have to re-play those you’ve already solved. I’d say that that pretty much sums up the entire game, but it doesn’t really. There are other subtleties, such as enemies that behave differently, bombs, silly visual gags, and ‘p’ for ‘piano’ on the title screen.
Bug Hunter in Space is a challenging and fun game on the Archimedes. The gameplay is relatively original and although some of the levels are very short, the sum of its parts are greater than the whole. Whatever that means…
See also: The King of Grabs Archimedes Special