Lady Bug: Classic Arcade Game Video, History & Game Play Overview


Coming out in 1981, Lady Bug is largely considered to be a clone of Pac-Man. Although there are many noticeable differences, Lady Bug is a maze based games with a layout and point system that is heavily influenced by its predecessor. Kazutoshi Ueda designed Lady Bug, under direction from Universal Games.

Lady Bug was first released in Japan by Universal Games, the title's publisher and developer. Shortly thereafter, Lady Bug was introduced in arcades in the U.S. Taito purchased publishing rights to Lady Bug, and went on to produce several ports. Lady Bug was introduced to a larger audience when it came out on the Intellivision and the ColecoVision home gaming systems.

Plans for releases of Lady Bug on newer home video game consoles were made, but never completed. Lady Bug never became very popular, even in the arcade. Although several gaming magazines and professional video game associations gave the arcade game high marks, its fan base remained obscure and small. One or two players can play Lady Bug, but not simultaneously.


Game Play Overview

Lady Bug is identical to Pac-Man in many ways, including a unique back story. The main character, which is a ladybug ironically named Lady Bug, lives in a small, confined space with several other species of insects. Since space and food is in short supply, Lady Bug must get her fair share of the goods before she gets left out in the cold.

Lady Bug walks along a maze, collecting flowers, food and bonus icons. She cannot come in contact with any of her opponents or she will lose a life. Although each maze is pre-determined, there are doors that can be used to shift the layout around.

There are 18 original levels in Lady Bug, but the game is designed to go on infinitely. Only certain enemy insects will appear on certain levels, but no more than four bugs will appear on any given stage. The vegetable bonus can only appear when all four enemies have entered the board

The major difference separating Lady Bug and Pac-Man is the way in which mazes are constructed. There are barriers similar to those seen in Pac-Man, but the ones that appear in Lady Bug are color coded. Purple barriers are fixed, meaning that they cannot be moved, altered or shifted. However, green barriers can be moved at virtually any time by players.

While Lady Bug has no special powers or weapons, moving green barriers can stop enemies from pursuing, and give the main character a safe place to hide. Lady Bug also operates on a timer system, which determines when enemies will enter and exit the board. You can also use green barriers to shift your enemy's path and lead them to skulls, which will cause them to die.

Skulls are thought to represent insecticide, which is dangerous to all bugs alike. The number of skulls present on each level ranges from two to five. The further you progress in Lady Bug, the more skulls that appear on every stage.

The timer, or clock, actually ticks around the perimeter of the screen, going from green to white. Every time the clock makes a complete color change, a new enemy will appear or disappear, or a vegetable will be made available. The vegetable bonus is also time sensitive.

All bonuses are color coded and tied to a multiplier. The colors are blue, yellow and red, and the multiplier can be as high as 5X. Red letters have a base value of 500 points, and blue and yellow letters have a value of 100 and 300 points, respectively.

Flowers, which are the most numerous in Lady Bug, have a value of 10 points each. Hearts are the same color as their coordinating multiplier value. Red hearts are worth 800 points by themselves, and blue hearts have a value of 100 points. Yellow hearts are worth 300 points.

You can lose a life if you run into an enemy or accidentally pick up a skull icon. The skull symbol represents instant death, and enemy bugs are equivalent to the ghosts that Pac-Man frequently encounters. Complete each stage by grabbing all of the flowers, represented by tiny X's, and 'win' the game by getting the highest score.

Special Features

Many of the special features in Lady Bug are connected to the letters that appear in the maze itself. For every stage that you complete, there will be three opportunities to pick up a new letter. The objective is to either spell out the word 'special' or 'extra.'

When the word 'special' is spelled out, players either get an extra game credit, or the opportunity to play a bonus level. The extra game credit applies to the arcade version of Lady Bug, while bonus level play is exclusive to the home console port of Lady Bug. After the text 'extra' is revealed, an extra life will be added to your total number of lives remaining in both versions of the game.

The heart bonus plays a major role in the multiplier feature. For every heart that is collected, your multiplier score will increase. Additionally, hearts cause the letters to change color. Get all three hearts within a maze in order to max out your current multiplier bonus.

The vegetable bonuses not only yield extra points, but an extra layer of defense. As soon as a bonus icon is collected, your enemies will freeze in place. This temporary freeze only lasts a few seconds, but it will give you the opportunity to grab a lot of flowers.


Barriers – There are green and purple colored barriers in Lady Bug. Purple barriers cannot move, but Lady Bug can change the angles of green barriers by walking across them.

Skulls – Skull icons are present on every level. Avoid touching skull icons as they will cause you to lose a turn. These symbols are just as dangerous to Lady Bug as they are her enemies.

Lady Bug – The main character of the game, Lady Bug is red, round and covered in black dots.

Flowers – Represented by 'X' symbols, flowers line the entire maze. All flowers must be collected before you can go to the next level.

Hearts – There are three hearts on every stage. Add more hearts to your collection in order to get the highest point payouts.

Vegetable bonus icons – There is one vegetable bonus icon that appears on each level.

Enemy bugs – Four of the same kind of enemy insect come out on every stage, but there are eight different varieties. After the eighth stage, a pattern emerges after all bug groups have been introduced.

How to Play Ladybug

The only applicable controls in Lady Bug are the directional keys. Players can navigate Lady Bug up down, left or right. Enemies must be avoided altogether as a single touch will cause Lady Bug to lose a life. Green barriers can be manipulated to reveal new paths and keep your opponents at bay.

Keep in mind that you can stay in one place indefinitely as long as you have constructed a foolproof blockade. Eventually, the timer will cause your enemies to back go into the three sided box until only two or three are left. Moving barriers will also cause an 'attacking' enemy to change course.

Because your opponents will patrol the same areas in a looping pattern, you will need to learn how to move specific barriers. If one of your enemies is patrolling an area that contains flowers, you will not be able to go forward until you are able to 'outsmart' your foes.

You can either move the barriers so that a new path is created and dart in to collect the flowers just in time, or you can elect to close your enemy out and set him on a new path. Either way, you will need to take notice of the barriers surrounding your target as well as the barrier's current placement.

Walking over a green barrier that is running horizontally will cause it to turn sideways. Barriers running perpendicularly turn upright after Lady Bug walks over them. Lady Bug will continue to walk at the same speed, but enemies will go faster with each new board. Use logic, strategy and timing to get through the levels and maximize your multiplier bonuses.

Level 1
On the first level of Lady Bug, the maze will have a layout that is simple and easy to complete. As the square shaped clock around the outside of the screen starts to tick down, you will see exactly when the first enemy bug will come out. The clock must make four complete revolutions before all four of your opponents come into the playing field.

When this occurs, the cucumber vegetable bonus icon, valued at 1,000 points, will emerge. You will only have one timer 'cycle' in order to pick up the cucumber, which will be positioned in the center of the board. The small, three sided box that the enemy bugs come out of is the same place where the cucumber will be. Finish collecting all of the flowers and remaining bonuses to bring a close to stage one.

Level 2
The maze on level two will be a little smaller, and thus, contain more flowers. Your enemy bugs will be moving just a tad faster. The large, square clock that counts down the time will also be running down a little more quickly.

As each bug emerges and starts to patrol its designated area, the eggplant vegetable bonus will come up. Collect the 1,500 vegetable bonuses by moving the green gates or waiting for your opponent to navigate back to its box.

Level 3
By this point, you should be very familiar with how to turn green barriers to your advantage, and avoid walking over barriers that are keeping enemy insects from pursuing you. The carrot bonus is valued at 2,000 bonus points.

After you have collected all three colored hearts and eaten the vegetable, you may want to start trying to lead opponent insects to skulls. It is important that you do this now, before the speed of your enemies increases exponentially. Complete this level by getting the rest of the flowers.

Level 4
The vegetable bonus on this stage is the radish. You will have to again wait until all four of your opponents are walking around to collect the radish, which is worth a total of 2,500 points. Clear the board and proceed to level five.

Level 5
The beginning of level five, both the speed of the timer as well as the general speed of your enemies will go up. From now on, you will have to rely on making fast, strategic moves in order to avoid being trampled by other bugs. If you are able to pick up the parsley vegetable bonus, you will get 3,000 points.

Level 6
The tomato is valued at 3,500 points. You will only have around eight seconds to get it before it disappears, so try to position yourself close to the center box after the fourth enemy bug appears. The remaining levels should be played as normal, with the only noticeable differences being the vegetable bonuses.

Level 7
Survive this level long enough and you will have the opportunity to grab the pumpkin bonus, worth a total of 4,000 points.

Level 8
It might seem a little strange for a bamboo shoot bonus to appear in a maze based on backyard gardens, but this one is good for a 4,500 point bonus.

Level 9
The Japanese radish will make its entrance as soon as the fourth enemy is revealed. Pick it up for a cool 5,000 points.

Level 10
Navigate the maze and wait for the 5,500 mushroom vegetable bonus to appear in the middle of the board.

Level 11
Grab the potato vegetable bonus, worth 6,000 points, and clear the rest of this maze out.

Level 12
A single onion will appear as normal, Collect it and add 6,500 points to your score.

Level 13
Chinese cabbage is the designated bonus for this level, and it yields 7,000 points.

Level 14
Move Lady Bug over to the turnip vegetable bonus and increase your score by 7,500 points.

Level 15
Enemy bugs move extremely fast from this level on. To create an effective defense, use green barriers to block their paths well ahead of time. In order to do this, you will need to move fast at the beginning of the stage. After you have essentially boxed yourself in, you should wait until the timer runs down and the bugs start to retreat.

There will simply be no way for you to outrun your opponents. Be careful with your movements and pay attention to the timer in order to determine which flowers are safe to get. If you make smart moves, you will be able to get the 8,000 point red pepper bonus after it appears.

Level 16
You may not be able to get the celery bonus, which is worth 8,500 points, but you can get past this level if you play it safe. Trap your foes so that they get killed by the skull icons and complete this level piece by piece.

Level 17
You will have to be quick in over to get the sweet potato vegetable bonus icon. Collect it for an additional 9,000 points.

Level 18
This is the last unique stage you will play in Lady Bug. The horseradish bonus will add 9,500 points to your score. After this, you will continue to play until you run out of lives.

Hints and Tips
- Although the true value of every flower is just 10 points, you can get a higher score by increasing the multiplier value. Instead of eating the dots and running into hearts here and there, you should aim to pick up the hearts first.

- When Lady Bug is killed, you can get a chance to get the vegetable bonus designated on that board. This only occurs when you lose a life while in the middle of the screen.


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