Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

December 1998

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PlusPak BUGS version 1.1

By: Mark Dodel -

This has got to stop. I have work to do and can't keep spending my time playing this game. Please take my BUGS away. For those diehard video game players who remember Galaga from their arcade days, this is a clone by Jeppe Cramon and Ingo Guenther of Cramon Utilities - Great graphics, and sound make this a fun diversion and the price can't be beat. It's only $9.95 when downloaded through Stardock's Electronic Store - or from BMT Micro for the same price.


From the readme file:

Operating System.: OS/2 Warp 3 or higher
Video............: DIVE compatible video card running at 640x480 with 256 colors
Sound............: DART compatible sound card (optional)
Timer............: High Resolution Timer (If you're running OS/2 Warp 3 go to the PlusPak: B.U.G.S. Download page and download the HighRes Timer, DART, and DIVE updates).
Hardware.........: (Minimum) : 486 DX2 66 MHz with 8 MB RAM
(Recommended) : Pentium 100 MHz with 16 MB RAM

Test system:

Toshiba Equium 6200M, Pentium Pro 200 with 160Meg EDO RAM, ELSA OFFICE/2000 8Meg Video card and a Crystal CS4236 on the motherboard.


Once you download and unzip the 1.5 Meg archive, you run the install.cmd batch file which asks you to enter the directory path you want BUGS installed to. Then the install unpacks all the files and creates a folder on the desktop containing a readme object and the game play object. When you start the game for the first time it pops up an options screen where you can select the difficulty level (rookie, veteran and Elite); the Graphics thread priority (defaults to Regular, but you can set it at idle or critical); Your processor type and finally check boxes for sound, confirmations and random levels.

Playing the Game:

You are a space ship traveling through multiple levels, encountering alien bug creatures which fire at you while they move in set or random patterns. The game plays only in a window. I didn't bother with the readme when I first started playing the game so I had no idea how to resize the window. By using function keys you can increase the window size to 150% or 200% of the original size.

Game controls are relatively simple. Use the cursor keys for movement and the space bar to fire. In addition there is the Shift or S key to activate a shield and Ctrl or T key to fire a torpedo. However you must earn those features by killing the bugs that are attacking you. Occasional when a bug dies it leaves behind a powerup token. You have to grab the token before it disappears. Green ones gives you the shield feature, a Blue token gives you one torpedo and a Orange token gives you more fire power. There is also joystick control available using the stock OS/2 joystick driver, but I preferred the keyboard controls as the joystick was difficult to calibrate.

You have five lives to get through as many levels as possible. Each level you encounter a different form of bug and each has it's own distinct pattern of movement. There is only one bug (at least that I have encountered) that actually seems to direct it's fire at you and that is the MasterBug. He also has the advantage of firing meteor projectiles at you as well as regular shots. You need all the powerups you can horde to get by this guy.

The above shows the Master Bug firing his meteor bombs at my space ship. He's the only bug that seems to have any real AI, though some become invisible and move around where you can't see them and others just move through the screen at random, none of the others seem to target you like the Master Bug does. To make matters worse, it takes 11 shots to kill him and he heals himself every 3 seconds. And all the while you are trying to shoot him, he is shooting you. The only way to accomplish this is to have accumulated a lot of extra firepower and shield powerups.

At the top of the playing area you see the current score in the left side, followed by number of lives left, green powerups, which are the shield activations, blue powerups which are torpedoes and orange powerups which are for extra firepower.

The above shot shows my space craft going to grab a shot enhancing powerup. These give you a faster shot, but the extra power is quickly used up. The shield powerups only last for 6 seconds or 4 hits, so both of these features are short lived unless you have acquired a lot of powerups. Notice the bugs just keep firing and moving on the opposite side of the screen. They make no attempt to maneuver toward me.

Here the bugs are spiders. Notice the puffs of flames from the now departed aliens. You also get a point for shooting the the bugs shots fired at you. The bulk of the points come from blasting the bugs themselves.

These weird bugs disappear and re-appear at random. In this shot the ball of flame is my space craft after it had just been obliterated. With some bugs you seem to have a safety zone by hugging the left or right side of the screen. With others like the above there seems to be no safe place to hide.


If you are looking for something to pass some time and blast away at some aliens, then bugs is a great game to accomplish that. If instead you are looking for something to challenge your mind this isn't it. The graphics are impressive. All in all this game is a great bargain at $9.95. Only complaint I have about this game is that you have to click on the title bar to bring the window into the foreground. i've noticed this anomaly with other apps as well (the Dux american Heritage Dictionary is one). That is trivial but when I'm working on something and just want to take a break I have to either use the window list or click on the bugs icon on my warpcenter to get to the game unless the title bar is visible.

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