Volcano Run II
Volcano Run II is one of those games that you start out playing purely for the avatar, but end up hopelessly addicted to. You know the sort. It begins when you spot that shiny little blob of dancing pixels that you would quite like to have next to your name on the Neoboards. So you find out what score you need and you casually play, telling yourself that "it would be nice to have it, but I'm not going to kill myself trying to get that high a score."
Fast forward a week or two and you find yourself hunched over the keyboard, feverishly punching keys and calling Glubgar every rude name you can think of as he once again goes careering off into a fireball. Welcome to the mind-set of the avatar collector; but fear not, we are here to help.
You play the role of dumpy, little Glubgar, who has gone and flown too far into a volcano and now needs your help getting out. It's your job to help guide him through the narrow passages to freedom, avoiding the countless obstacles along the way and picking up some gems along the way to make it all worth his while. After all, no sense in risking your life if you don't get something shiny to take home as a souvenir is there?
The controls are very simple; you click on the left mouse button to make Glubgar flap his wings and gain altitude, hold the V key to speed up, and hold the C button on the keyboard to stop. You don't actually stop completely though; you'll stop moving forwards along the screen but the scenery will keep moving behind you. Eventually you will be backed up against the left side of the screen and it will sort of "push" you along as the passage scrolls.
You start out with three lives and each time you hit something you will combust and lose a life. When you die you will start over again from the beginning of the game; there aren't any check-points, although the game will keep a record of the furthest distance you are able to reach in the span of one life.
Whilst scenery isn't usually described as an obstacle, if you so much as brush the tip of a wing against either the ceiling or the floor then you will be reduced to a pile of charred ashes. This isn't so much a problem for the most part, but every now and then the tunnel you are trapped in will become much narrower and you will have to fight to keep from touching the walls.
The next thing to watch out for are fireballs. At the beginning of the game a single fireball will appear every time you happen upon a group of gems (which I'll get to in a moment). These aren't too difficult to avoid as you can easily just fly over or under them.
Singed hair in 3... 2... 1...
Then as the game progresses you will encounter tag teams of them, as shown in the screenie above. These can be a little trickier to dodge, especially since they tend to move at different speeds and like to take up the middle of the screen so you have to duck and weave to get by them. I find that the easiest way to dodge them is to just go straight through the middle; if you hold down the V key to speed up it flattens you out a little bit so you have a bit more space on either side. If they seem to be moving very close together at the same speed (like the ones above), I try to hang back for as long as possible by holding the C key; that way if one is moving slightly faster, it gives them time to break apart a bit more before I try to tackle them.
Once you have collected the maximum number of bonus gems you can carry, that's when things start to get really interesting. From this point, any instance where you would have had a string of gems, you will now encounter a group of three fireballs instead. The same advice as above applies again here, only you will probably need to alternate the keys more rapidly to get the timing right.
Scattered throughout the tunnel are a number of rocks. We won't discuss the fact that they seemingly defy the laws of physics by floating up and down at varying speeds; you are, after all, playing the role of a prehistoric dragon trapped inside a volcano. People who live in glass houses and all that...
Some rock will be fixed and require minimum effort to navigate around, whilst others will come in clusters and move up and down quite quickly. In these situations it's important to remember that you can use the C and V keys to speed up or slow down; by alternating your speed you will soon get the hang of dodging them.
At about the 550 metre mark you will be introduced to a new obstacle: geysers of molten hot lava that randomly erupt from the bottom of the screen. At about 1000 metres the screen will narrow into a thin passage and you will see cones of yellow along the floor, which will bubble away until you come into view and then shoot a rod of lava upwards for a few seconds before dying down and becoming dormant again. They will usually come in twos and erupt at the same time, though if you're unlucky you might get a run of four at once.
The best method I have discovered for tackling them is to speed up and dash over the first geyser before it has chance to erupt, then linger between them by using the C key until the second geyser dies down again and you can carry on your way. Occasionally the first geyser won't erupt at all; I'm not sure if it's a glitch or if some of the geysers are just duds put there to make you panic, but if it happens be sure to use it to your advantage!
You'll be pleased to know that you are not entirely on your own in dodging all of the above. As you progress through the volcano you will encounter bubble shields that you can fly into to collect, temporarily protecting you from environmental hazards. Unfortunately, the bubble will burst if you collide with anything, or will disappear on its own after a few seconds. So it isn't really all that useful; I wouldn't go out of your way to try and collect one as it isn't really worth the effort, unless you can see a swarm of fireballs on the horizon of course.
What game on Neopets would be complete without the obligatory treasure to collect? None of them of course! Volcano Run II is no exception to this rule; you will find groups of gems spread throughout the game, and they will always appear in threes. Most of the time the gems you come across will be yellow ones, which are worth 10 points each. However, every now and again you will be treated to a red one, which is worth 20 points.
There is a maximum score you can gain from gems, though. Once you have collected 450 points* worth of gems, they will stop appearing in the game and will be replaced by a trio of fireballs instead. As such I would advise you not to collect them for as long as possible, otherwise you will only make your life more difficult for yourself sooner than you need to.
* Technically, it is possible to score in excess of 470 points from gems, but I'll cover that in the "Strategy" section. ;)
Your score is calculated based on your best distance, with every meter you manage translating into one point. However you can't combine your distances, the game will automatically reward you based on your best one. Any bonus you scored for collecting gems will be added on to this to give you your final score.
For example, let's say that on your first life you reached a distance of 500 meters, then on your second you only managed 200, and on your third you managed 400. From those three, the game would select the score of 500 and then add any bonus points for gems on to this to calculate your final score.
Typing in "Glubgar" at any point during play will give you an extra life. It is best to try and do this at the start of the game as there are no obstacles to crash into.
To begin with, actually go out of your way to avoid collecting the gems and just try to achieve as great a distance as you can. As mentioned earlier, once you have maxed out on gems they will be replaced with fireballs that are extremely difficult to dodge. That being said though, if it's a choice between accidentally collecting a gem or faceplanting into a fireball, then obviously go for the former. :P
I personally spend my first two lives focusing only on achieving the greatest distance I can. In order to be in with a chance of getting the avatar, you should aim for a minimum of about 1031 meters. Although it is possible to get lower than this and still be able to make up the rest with bonus points from gems, doing so is leaving a lot to luck. Better to get a solid distance as a foundation for your score first, then you can start worrying about bonus points.
I know what you're thinking now, how do you make up 470 points with gems if the maximum you can pick up is 450? Well as I said up there, you can get around this (*waits for you to go back up and check* see, I did say that). You can exploit the fact that gems will always arrive in groups of three, so when you have 420 points, only collect two of the next grouping of three and skip the last one. This will only bring you to 440 points and so another group of three gems will spawn, allowing you to collect them and bag yourself 470 points before the fireballs start appearing.
If you're really lucky, the next grouping of three will have a red gem in it and you will be able to manage 480 points. Or if you're super lucky, the next group will appear in a wide open part of the passage and a second group will have already appeared on the other side of the screen before you collect the first lot, meaning you can scoop 500 points. For the ultra mega extremely lucky, the aforementioned second group will also contain a red gem for a total of 510 points. Any luckier than that and TNT will write to you personally, offering you the avatar with a big bow on it and a complimentary selection of cheeses.
As a final tip, if you find yourself facing an oncoming obstacle in a narrow passage and you can't decide whether to try going under it or over it, I usually try going underneath it. If you press the left mouse button you can regain altitude and return to the centre of the screen much faster than if you are trying to lose height and have to wait for Glubgar to sink of his own accord. Being in the centre of the screen (at least in terms of the vertical axis) is crucial as it gives you maximum space to manoeuvre into position to avoid the next obstacle.
Weepit Was Here...
Another tip would be to not get distracted by random inscriptions on rocks. As you can see, I wasn't particularly paying attention when I took this screenie; I was so busy trying to get a shot of Weepit's name on the rock that I accidentally flew into it. ^_^
You can see a list of other games that Weepit appears in here.
Hope some of that was of use to you! This game is a tough one if you're playing for the avatar, as you practically have to get onto the high scores table in order to achieve it. But as they say, practice makes perfect, so stick at it and that avatar will be yours soon enough. Good luck! :)
This game guide was written by: Weepit