Hover Bovver 2 Strategy Guide
You are Gordon Bennett. You have fifty lawns to mow, and your Flymo's on the knacker. You have five neighbours, all of whom have perfectly serviceable Flymos. Surely they won't mind if you just nip and borrow their mowers?
You use the Directional Pad to control Gordon's motion, and the Dog Button to control your Dog (as best you can). Some devices have no Directional Pad. You can still play Hover Bovver on these devices - use the menu to configure the controls for Stylus Control; details below. You can also use the screen as the Dog Button. This is for iPaq users, whose machines can't detect a button press whilst the d-pad is also being pressed; you will definitely be needing to press Dog whilst moving, so get used to pressing the screen for your Dog button. I hold my iPaq with one thumb on the d-pad and the other near the bottom corner of the screen, ready to press the screen when it comes time for Dog.
These are the default buttons on the ARM version. In d-pad control mode, iPaq players should touch the screen when invoking the Dog, since the iPaq can't detect both d-pad presses and Dog button presses at the same time. In Stylus mode, use the Dog button shown.
If your device supports multiple button presses, good for you; you can use a normal button for the Dog. The default button allocations can be changed using the 'Set Up Controls' option from the menu, during which you will be asked to choose both Dog and Quit buttons. (The default Quit button corresponds to the side-mounted 'voice recorder activate' button on an iPaq).
These are the default buttons on the MIPS version. If your device isn't shown here, and the default button allocations make no sense, use the menu to change them.
There is a second control method which Ipaq users may prefer (although I don't, myself) - Stylus Control. This allows the player to move the mower using the stylus (the mower will move in the horizontal or vertical direction that is furthest from the stylus, until the stylus is released - sounds vague but you'll see what I mean if you try it). This leaves you free to allocate a real button for your Dog button.
Stylus control. The mower will move along the longest horizontal or vertical path towards wherever the stylus is touched on the screen, and will continue to move along that path until the stylus is removed. Try it. You might like it.
Default is normal (d-pad) mode. To switch modes, use the control setup menu option. Once you have defined your buttons, there is the option to switch control mode from d-pad to stylus (or vice versa if you are already in stylus mode). . Control mode and button settings are saved with the hi-score table.
There are fifty lawns to mow, and five neighbours to borrow Flymos from. The basic objective is to get through all the lawns, but there are a variety of ways to achieve that, some of which are trickier than others. Taking more risks yields more points! Hi-scores are kept for each level as well as for the whole game.
There are four Player Slots. Each Player Slot has a name associated with it, along with that player's hi-score and Resume information. Upon choosing a Player Slot, you have the option to rename the player, clear out the Slot, resume a game in progress, or begin a new game.
Choosing a player yields the Player Slot menu from where one can adjust the contents of one's Slot, or start a new game.
You can pause a game, of course, just by turning off your PPC. However if you have a game in progress and you want to quit out to, er, maybe do something useful with your PPC instead, you can use the Resume feature.
During a level, if you press the Quit button, then the score you had at the beginning of that level, and the number of lives remaining, is saved to your Player Slot. When you quit the game this info is saved with the hi-score table. Upon reloading, you can choose Resume Game from within your Player Slot, and you'll be placed back in the game at the beginning of the level you quit on, with your score and lives intact.
There is a Player Slot called 'Guest', which can be used if someone wants to play and not alter the Slot settings of already-registered players. This works just like the others except that the contents aren't saved and the player name can't be changed from 'Trevor the Goat'.
Your Player Slot also records your progress through the game so far. You can choose to start a new game beginning at any level that you have already reached before. When starting from fresh, you may choose to begin on any of the first five levels.
You view the lawn from an overhead perspective. Use the D-Pad to push the Flymo around over the uncut grass.
Here Gordon is safe behind a hedge - the Neighbour is close but he can't cross the hedge to get the mower.
When all the uncut grass is cut, the level ends, you are awarded any bonuses due to you, and you proceed to the next lawn. You are pursued by the Neighbour, who wants his mower back. Should he catch you, he'll retrieve his mower, and you have to go to the next Neighbour. You have five Neighbours in total. Once you lose Yak's Mower, the game is over.
Gordon collecting Yak's Mower - this is his last chance!
Introducing the characters
What makes Hover Bovver challenging and, I hope, amusing, is the various characters, and the way in which they interact. Here I shall introduce them all and explain their characteristics.
The Neighbour single-mindedly pursues you, intent upon mower retrieval. He doesn't care about Flowers so he will walk right over the Flower Beds. He is a bit nervous of the Dog, and won't approach it too closely, even if it's not barking.
The Gardener won't appear unless you damage any of the Flowers. If you damage the Flowers, the Gardener emerges and starts to chase you, intent on getting the mower off you before you damage the Flowers even more. The Gardener loves Flowers, so won't walk across undamaged portions of Flower Beds. The more Flowers you damage, the angrier the Gardener gets; the angrier the Gardener is, the faster all the Bad Guys move! If you make the Gardener angry enough, he'll call the Cops!
The Dog is your faithful companion... if you treat it right ;-).
For as long as there is Dog Loyalty (as indicated by the gauge at the bottom left of the screen) you can command the Dog to bark and chase the Bad Guys by using the Dog button. Hold down the Dog button and the Dog will pursue the nearest Bad Guy. All Bad Guys who are not Fearless run away from a barking Dog in Attack Mode.
Using your Dog depletes your store of Dog Loyalty. The Dog is moderately well-trained, and won't run over undamaged portions of Flower Beds. When not being commanded by you pressing the Dog button, the Dog wanders around the screen, more or less aimlessly. However, the noise of the lawnmower gets on the Dog's tits after a while, and if you take too long on a level without otherwise distracting the Dog, the Dog Tolerance will go to zero.
When this happens, the Dog, if not being commanded by you, will pursue you, intent on biting the mower. If you can get the Dog to actually bite any of the Bad Guys for an appreciable amount of time, you will see a spray of comedy blood, and you will get points... and maybe something else good ;-).
A happy Dog is an obedient and tolerant Dog. On every level is a Dog Toy. You pick this up by running your mower over it, whereupon it will start orbiting your mower (just like in real life!). While you have the Dog Toy, the Dog will chase after you, intent upon play. Press the Dog button to throw the Dog Toy to the Dog.
Upon successfully retrieving the Dog Toy, the Dog will run around with it for a while, squeaking it madly. During this time, the Dog will ignore commands, *but* both Dog Loyalty and Dog Tolerance levels will rise, and you'll get extra points and general Good Stuff ;-). Note that if you allow your Dog to lose all its Tolerance, then it will become Miserable, and you won't be able to use the Dog Toy to cheer it up. Don't allow your Dog to get that depressed in the first place!
Sometimes the Dog will squat down in preparation to moving its bowels. If you are quick, you can interrupt the bowel movement by using the Dog button, but so interrupting the Dog at stool will cost you a chunk of Dog Loyalty.
The Vet appears should you be cruel to the Dog by hitting it with your mower.
The Vet, being a vet, isn't at all worried by the barking of the Dog and is therefore Fearless; he won't run away from the Dog, even if it's in attack mode. In fact attacking the Vet with the Dog just makes him faster and more intent upon catching you and getting the mower off you before the poor beast ends up losing any more fur.
PC Nick-Nick and the Flymo Squad appear on the scene if you make the Gardener so angry that he finally loses his rag and calls the cops. Being cops, they are well used to being around angry police dogs, so they aren't at all worried about your Dog, even in Attack Mode. They are Fearless, and you simply have to avoid them.
Mr. Mole and friends have a tendency to pop up in the middle of your nice lawn. If left undisturbed Mr. Mole will eventually retreat, leaving behind a Molehill to spoil your lawn. However, Mr. Mole remains poking out of his hole quite long enough for a vengeful Gordon Bennett to arrive on the scene with his Flymo (well, his neighbour's Flymo). With the whirling blades and everything ;-).
Sheepies help you out by nibbling away the grass on the lawn, saving you the trouble of mowing it yourself. You get Sheepies by doing certain key things in the game - I'll let you discover what those things are! You also get Sheepies if you take a long time on a level, to help you out.
Sheepies can't be harmed, and they don't damage the lawn or the Flowers. They will eat any grass they see, but they are a bit silly, and occasionally get themselves stuck. If Sheepies get stuck on a flowerbed, you can mow away the flowers to free the sheepie... but that will annoy the Gardener, of course!
Other Objects In The Garden
You might find any of the following items in the garden:
Momentarily slows down the Mower if hit during gameplay, and increases the Mower Overload Level. If the Mower Overload Level reaches maximum, the Mower can't be moved until it cools down a bit. During this time, Gordon is vulnerable to the Bad Guys because he can't run away!
Molehills left on the lawn at the end of a level are a cause for Molehill Shame, and points will be deducted from the Bonuses at the end of the level.
Sometimes a dog just has to do what a dog has to do, and right on your nice lawn, too. If there is dog poo on your lawn when the level ends, then the ghost of the Queen Mother will be absolutely mortified, and you will incur a Poo Penalty at the end of the level.
You can clear poo yourself by running over it with the mower, but you know how disgusting it is running over poo with a Flymo - it gets all over the inside of the mower. So you will be penalised by a momentary slowing of the mower, an increment of the Mower Overload Level, and a few choice words from Gordon.
However, Dog Poo can be made to work to your advantage. If you can get a Bad Guy to tread in some dog poo, that Bad Guy will be momentarily distracted and disgusted, and have to go back to where he entered the level in order to clean his shoes. Whilst he is thus occupied, he's not chasing you!
Used to entertain the Dog - see above.
Some lawns have a parasol and some nice chairs on them. If you hit the chairs with your mower, you can fling them at the nearest Bad Guy! Bad Guys hit by garden furniture are stunned for a few seconds.
However, the Bad Guys can also throw garden furniture at *you*. If you are hit by a flying chair, then the mower will be momentarily slowed down and the Mower Overload Level will increase. So try to chuck chairs rather than cop them ;-].
These blue cans contain super-powerful American Foreign Policy Strength Defoliant. If you hit a can of No-Gro with your mower, then you will start a Blight. During a Blight, all the flowers on the level begin to die, until there are none at all left. Suffice to say, causing a Blight makes the Gardener very angry indeed!
You can use the Hedges on a lawn to get the Bad Guys stuck behind! Use the Hedges carefully to mow sections of the lawn without being bothered by the Bad Guys, or to hide behind whilst the mower cools down, or whilst the Sheepies get on with their job.
Scoring and Strategy
Hover Bovver can be played in different ways, depending on what you want to do. The primary objective is, of course, to mow all fifty Lawns. However, you also want to score as much as possible whilst doing that, and as well as the overall game hi-score, each lawn has its own hi-score :-).
Each level has its own Level Hi-Score, displayed during the Level Select screen.
The basic key to scoring is: the more characters there are on the screen, the more points you get. If only the Neighbour is out on the lawn with Gordon and the Dog, then the bonus multiplier is at 'x1'. But, if, as well as the Neighbour, you have the Gardener, the Vet, PC Nick-Nick and the Flymo Squad, and five Sheepies all active on the lawn, the Bonus Multiplier will be at 'x12', and you will score a shedload of points for everything you do.
A fairly satisfactory ending to Level 2. We have five Sheepies, the Neighbour, the Gardener and four Cops out, for a bonus multiplier of x11. If only we'd remembered to hit the dog with the mower to summon the Vet it'd be x12.
However, with all those characters out on the screen, it becomes very hard to finish off the level without getting caught... and if you get caught before the level ends, you lose all the points you scored so far on that level. So the way to high scores is to take risks; get everyone after you... but only if you can remain uncaught until the level's end. If you can do this then you will score well, because all the end-of-level bonuses are multipled by the Bonus Multiplier value that was current at the level's end.
The score summary from a fairly hectic level. The player finished with a bonus multiplier of 6, and it looks like he spent more time lobbing furniture than chasing moles.
Sometimes all you want to do is get through a tricky Level, and then it can be quite effective just to get a couple of Sheepies out, find somewhere safe to lurk, and let the beasts finish the lawn for you. But this is slow, and time is a factor in the amount that you score for any given Lawn, too. There is a timer which counts down to zero during each Lawn (it's the horizontal baa divided into four at the bottom of the screen). At the end of the lawn, your final level score is multiplied by the percentage of this bar remaining, before being added to your game score.
You can finish Level 1 entirely safely just by hiding behind that hedge and letting the sheepies do all the work; it'll get you through the level but youy won't get a very big score!
So if you have taken a long time, and only 50 percent of the bar remains, then even if you scored a lot of bonuses, you will only end up getting 50 percent of the level score at the end! So... play it safe and use Sheepies in tricky territory... but if you are confident, be a bit of a hooligan, upset people, get as many people after you as possible... and if you reach the end of the level you will be well rewarded.
That's it, you have the basics of Hover Bovver gameplay and tactics... now let's hear some Level and Game Hi-Scores; I could maintain a Hi-Scores Page on the Llamasoft site, if enough people are interested to warrant it!