|This article does not cite any references or sources. (June 2007)|
|Publisher(s)||The Sales Curve, Seika|
|Release date(s)||1992 (Amiga)
1993 (DOS, SNES)
|Mode(s)||Solo, Team, War, Training|
Troddlers is a puzzle game developed by Atod that was originally released for the Amiga and was later remade on the Super Nintendo. The remake was published by Seika. An MS-DOS port was also released.
Once upon a time in a far away castle in a magical land lived the sorcerer Divinius and his two apprentices, Hokus and Pokus. These two were little rascals who were always causing trouble, much to the annoyance of Divinius. For example, when he thought they were learning their spells, they would be off in the orchard eating all the cherries meant for Divinius' favorite fruit pie. Divinius despaired of them ever learning anything of use.
One day, Hokus and Pokus swapped the lids around in the larder and poor Divinius put Marmite on his shoes instead of polish. This caused Divinius to reach the end of his tether. He sent Hokus and Pokus down to the storeroom to clear it out. No one had tidied up that room for a few centuries (Divinius was actually rather lazy himself), and he was hoping that this daunting task would keep those fools out of mischief for a good few days. As he sent them down the steps, he commanded them not to touch anything.
Unknown to Divinius, his apprentices had slipped their comic collection into their robes and did not intend to labor at all for a few hours. After some time went by, the dim-witted apprentices realized it was nearly suppertime and they hadn't done a stroke of work yet. They decided to shift some of the boxes around to make it appear as if they had actually been doing something.
They'd just reached the second pile of boxes when, out of reach and covered in cobwebs, they saw a box with the word "WARNING!" in bright red written across it. Like bees to a honeypot they hurriedly cleared everything away and carefully dragged it out where they could see it better. The box read: "WARNING! Instant magical Troddlers - Just add water. May turn into zombified variety if allowed to teleport. DO NOT TOUCH!" This, of course, sounded highly intriguing to the naughty duo who instantly decided they ought to investigate further.
Unknown to them, Divinius had been plotting behind their backs. He was so fed up with their pranks that he decided to try to make some Troddlers (small, artificially created men) so they could one day replace Hokus and Pokus.
Naturally, their first thought was "I wonder whether we could get some of these Troddlers to clear up for us whilst we maybe have a little snooze!" They were both in such a rush to be the first to get at the Troddlers that they ripped the box and spilled Troddlers powder in their cleaning bucket. There were bubbles, ripples, and then splashes and jets of water as the powder turned into Troddlers who burst out of the bucket and all over the floor. There were hundreds of them. The Troddlers, who apparently have animal-like minds, instinctively began walking toward a teleporter (which appeared to be a little door) at the far end of the storeroom as if they were hypnotized. Hokus and Pokus had no idea what to do.
Just as the last Troddler was walking through the teleporter, Divinius stormed in. Not even he could believe what these stooges had done this time. He was so angry that he couldn't even muster words for a moment. After a tense moment, he forced the words out: "Go after them right this instant and get back as many as you can!!" Hokus and Pokus were each given an almighty kick up the bottom and they headed toward the teleporter at an alarmingly fast rate. As they shot through the door, Divinius shrieked: "And don't bring back any bleedin' zombies!!"
In Troddlers, you play as Hokus alone in solo mode. In multiplayer modes, player 2 plays as Pokus. The game is broken up into missions. Before each mission, a screen telling the mission objective and a few facts about the level (such as the number of Troddlers) is shown. A player must complete whatever task is given to him within the time limit (usually a few minutes). There are three main objectives that appear in the game: the more common objective involves leading stray Troddlers to an exit, somewhat similar to the gameplay in Lemmings. Another objective commonly given is the destruction of zombie Troddlers. The third involves collecting gems. Many levels combine two of these objectives and sometimes all three. There are, naturally, many obstacles and enemies throughout the game.
Basic Gameplay Mechanics
Unlike in Lemmings, Troddlers places you in control of a character on the screen, thus adding some platforming elements to game. One of the game's distinguishing features is the ability to magically place and erase building blocks, like in Solomon's Key. These blocks are the size of the player, and can be placed in any direction next to the wizard placing it as long as there isn't an object the same size of the block in that area already. The main purpose of these blocks is to form a path to the exit for the wandering Troddlers. When a block is erased, it is stored visibly in a tube to the right of the screen. This tube displays how many blocks the player is holding, and when it is empty, no blocks can be placed. Up to 15 blocks can be stored in the tube, and once it becomes full, no blocks can be erased unless a stored block is placed somewhere else on the screen (thus freeing a space in the storage tube). There are many different types of blocks in the game, each of which has its own special effect. The block on the bottom of the storage tube is always the one placed, and when a block is erased, it is automatically stored on the top. In multiplayer modes, each character has their own storage tube. It is possible to erase a block while jumping from it at the same time, which allows players to climb up to high heights without obtaining and stacking numerous blocks.
Troddlers themselves are never wandering around in a level to begin with; they always enter from a special entrance after a fixed amount of time. These creatures will always walk in the same direction if left undisturbed. Also, they can walk on walls and ceilings. Each level involving the rescue of Troddlers includes at least one exit in which the Troddlers must exit. These exits are sometimes placed sideways on walls or upside-down on ceilings.
If a block is placed directly on a Troddler, it will perish. When a block is erased while a Troddler is walking on it, the Troddler will fall. Dropping a Troddler from too high a height will result in death. If a Troddler survives the drop, it will begin walking in the opposite direction from which it was walking before.
Zombie Troddlers behave in the same manner as normal Troddlers. If one happens to make contact with a normal Troddler, both will die and become a cloud of dust. These zombies will also use exits in levels as normal Troddlers do. When a zombie exits a level, it does not count as destroyed. The player must be careful not to let zombies near an exit during a mission that involves the destruction of a certain number of zombies. Before each mission that includes zombie Troddlers, the mission screen will display how many there are and whether they are "lethal" or "harmless". Both varieties will destroy normal Troddlers (as well as themselves) on contact, but only the lethal type can damage Hokus or Pokus by touching them.
There are three different colors of gems that appear in the game; red, green, and blue. Stages will always specify how many of each color you must gather. Sometimes the gems are already present when the mission starts, but at other times a player must manufacture them. This is done with rocks. When a rock is dropped on a certain object, both the rock and the object will be destroyed and up to four gems will form. If there are walls or other objects right next to where the rock makes contact, it will prevent one gem from forming there. Placing a rock on a Troddler (including zombies) will result in red gems. Sometimes a mission will require you to rescue only a few Troddlers, thus leaving a few spare victims if you are required to create some red gems. Hurling a rock onto another rock results in the formation of green gems. When a non-Troddler enemy is plunked with a rock, blue gems appear.
Rocks, like blocks, are the size of Hokus and Pokus. However, rocks cannot be erased; they must be pushed. Also, Troddlers cannot walk on them. If a Troddler encounters a rock on the ground, it will walk the other way. While trekking up a wall or ceiling, Troddlers will fall if they happen to run into a rock.
Each building block in the game will affect Troddlers who set foot onto them in a different way. However, the effects do not apply to Hokus and Pokus.
The most common blocks. Troddlers can walk all over them without any trouble.
Troddlers cannot walk up the slippery surface of an ice block. If a Troddler encounters one on the ground, it will simply turn around and walk the other way. While walking on walls or the ceiling, however, the Troddler will fall. It will, of course, survive a short fall.
When Troddlers touch them, they explode. This will destroy both the mine and the Troddler who touched it. A few other objects, including other blocks, can be destroyed in a nearby mine explosion.
These odd blocks have an arrow pointing in a particular direction. If a Troddler steps foot on the opposite side of which the arrow is pointing, it will flip to the side that the arrow is pointing to. This can be dangerous if the arrow is pointing toward a wall, because flipping into a wall results in a splattered Troddler.
Bouncers are basically the same as standard blocks, but they have one distinguishing benefit. If a Troddler falls from a lofty height but lands on a bouncer, it will survive. Bouncers will also reflect cannonballs.
When a Troddler walks on these blocks, they will move significantly slower than they would on any other surface.
They cannot be erased or placed by Hokus and Pokus. These strange contraptions will allow Troddlers to pass through them freely, but to Hokus and Pokus they are no different from walls.
Enemies and Hazards
There are several enemies and hazards that appear throughout the game which will obviously attempt to make life harder for Hokus and Pokus.
These guns will always fire in a straight line. Many objects (including blocks, gems, and Troddlers) hit by a cannonball will be destroyed. They will also damage Hokus and Pokus. The only way to get rid of a cannon is to reflect one of its bullets back at it using a bouncer block.
Hokus and Pokus can walk on them without trouble, but Troddlers are not so fortunate. If a Troddler ventures onto the sharp and rotating edge of a grinder, it will disintegrate into countless pieces.
These artificial contraptions will spit out fire directly in front of wherever it's facing. Their fire will damage wizards and destroy any blocks or Troddlers in its path.
These little balls of fire will roam freely around the stage. They will destroy any Ice blocks or Troddlers they come across and also damage Hokus and Pokus upon contact. Fireballs cannot climb up walls, and they will fall down any hole they happen to move over.
These troublemaking birds fly freely around the stage. They do not harm Troddlers, but they can deplete the health of Hokus and Pokus if touched. When a bird flies over a block, it occasionally will peck it to smithereens. This can be especially troublesome when blocks are scarce.
These odd creatures move freely across floors, walls, and ceilings looking for Troddlers to flip. If it comes into contact with a Troddler on the ground, the Troddler will simply fall over unharmed, but touching a spinner on the wall or the ceiling causes Troddlers to lose their balance and plummet to the ground. If a block is erased while a spinner is moving on it, that spinner will turn into a single blue gem.
These items either appear at the start of a mission, or after a certain amount of time depending on the level.
Fruit restores some of a character's health.
Hearts restore all of a character's health.
The clock adds a minute to the time limit.
Any player who obtains a shield will be invincible for about a minute.
When a bomb is touched by Hokus or Pokus, all zombies on the screen are destroyed.
Snatching a fiveblocking instantly adds five standard blocks to a player's stock. If there are over 10 blocks stored in a character's block tube, it will only add as many blocks as the tube space will permit.
The game does not have a save feature; instead, it uses a password system. The password for each level is the same as the level's title, minus the vowels. For example, the password for the stage "build it" is "bldt".
This contains a few brief and basic levels for anyone looking to familiarize themselves with the basic gameplay mechanics.
This is the standard 1-player mode. It contains 100 total missions for Hokus to tackle.
Team mode gives 60 levels for 2 players to finish together. Many of these missions require cooperation from both players. If a player places a block onto another player, that block is destroyed and the wizard who got hit with the block takes damage.
For two players looking to compete with each other. In war mode, Pokus (player 2) has become zombified and is allied with the zombie Troddlers. There are 15 missions, and whoever completes the mission objective first is the winner. The death of a player results in an automatic forfeit. Normal Troddlers are treated as zombies (and vice-versa) to Pokus in war mode. A player can also win in missions that require the rescue of Troddlers by destroying an opposing wizard's Troddlers.
SNES Mouse Gameplay
The Super Nintendo remake is compatible with the SNES Mouse. A player controls a crosshair on the screen instead of Hokus or Pokus when using one. Clicking on an area will result in Hokus or Pokus moving there if it is an area they can reach. Building blocks is done by right-clicking. To jump and erase a block below you at the same time, both mouse buttons must be pressed and then released where you want Hokus or Pokus to jump to.