Today, we wanted to talk about a 1985 game that’s quite interesting, mostly because it takes a very simple concept such as driving in a 2D side scrolling setting, and adds a bunch of different arcade elements to the action. The result is a game that is not so much about driving or racing but an arcade title where the objective is to drive across every single inch of the stages, while avoiding hazards and other vehicles. Oh and your car can also jump 10 feet in the air to reach upper levels, as well as drop down to lower platforms without a scratch. Did we mention it can also fire tin cans at other vehicles to make them spin out of control, and then ram them out of the stage for extra points? Because it can totally do that as well.
City Connection is a fun arcade game for those who enjoy a vibe similar to Pac-Man, in that its objectives and gameplay loop are similar in practice, but with a wildly different setting. And if this is something that might interest you, then this guide is for you. In the following paragraphs, we’ll be giving a brief overview of the basics in City Connection, as well as sharing a few useful tips and tricks to optimize your gameplay and set those high scores.
The Characters and Controls
Like with most arcade games of the time, City Connection features a very simplistic control scheme, where the difficulty comes not from controlling your vehicle, but actually from navigating the levels and avoiding obstacles. In this sense, this game has a standard control scheme consisting of a joystick to determine the direction in which the vehicle is moving, and a few buttons to control features like shooting tin cans, jumping, and setting the game to 1P or 2P modes.
It’s worth pointing out that, when it comes to the movement in City Connection, there are two important factors to consider: The first is that, while you can change directions freely at any moment using the joystick, your vehicle always does a long turning animation. You can’t change directions again or jump until this animation is finished, so always think twice before moving. Moreover, when it comes to jumping, pressing the button will get you through some of the obstacles in your way, if you time it correctly. However, if you wish to ascend to a higher platform, you need to hold the button down while holding the joystick up to unleash a higher jump.
Now that we’ve talked about the controls, let’s go ahead and go over the different characters that you’ll find in City Connection. Luckily, there aren’t too many of these, which helps keeps the game nice and simple:
- Player’s Vehicle: The main playable vehicle in the game is an orange Honda City hatchback that careens quickly either to the left or right. This car can never stop moving, but it can change directions using the joystick. And as it passes over terrain, it paints the road a different color, indicating the spots where it has already traveled. The idea is to paint the entire stage to progress to the next levels, while avoiding enemies and hazards, and repeat this cycle for as long as possible.
- Enemy Vehicles: Taxis cabs, ambulances, trucks, police cruisers, and other vehicles that appear randomly throughout the stages. They often appear in front of your car, driving away from you, which gives you plenty of time to either switch directions, or jump to another level to avoid them. You can shoot these cars using your tin cans to make them spin. Afterward, if you crash into them while they are spinning, you will knock them out of the stage and score a few bonus points.
- Cats and Spikes: These are the main hazards that simply sit around in place on the stages, which makes them technically more dangerous than vehicles since you’ll have less time to react to them. Cats can spawn anywhere and at any time, can’t be shot with tin cans, and are hard to avoid regularly. The best way to deal with them is simply by changing directions and moving until they’re offscreen, at which point they probably will have already despawned.
Spikes, on the other hand, are much more dangerous, though they only appear when you’ve been on the same stage for too long. These hazards shoot up from under the ground and give you a split second to react. They are very difficult to avoid normally.
- Collectibles: Throughout the stages, there may be collectible items that sometimes appear randomly. These items can be things like tin cans, balloons, rabbits, or hearts. The rabbits and hearts can transport you randomly and give you an extra life, respectively. On the other hand, by collecting three balloons, the player will be teleported forward to a random stage. Finally, the tin cans are your vehicle’s ammunition that can be launched at enemy cars in order to send them spinning.
Tips and Tricks
Now that we know about the basic objectives and elements that you’ll find along the way, let’s talk about a few tips and tricks that you can use to improve your gameplay and set some high scores:
- To maximize your score, you can try to pick up as many tin cans as possible in order to shoot and ram enemy vehicles, which will grant bonus points per vehicle.
- You also get bonus points for every unused can at the end of a stage, though they are much less than what you get for ramming enemy vehicles. In this sense, try to use all your cans before moving to the next stage. Be careful with the spikes, though!
- The way the spawning system works in this game is that, once an element goes off screen, it will likely disappear, leaving the path open for traversal. This is the best way to avoid cats; by driving away until they’re off screen, after which they will probably have disappeared.
- It’s possible to change directions in mid-air when jumping. This effectively lets you reach upper platforms when you’re directly beneath them. By jumping off an edge and holding down the jump button + up on the joystick, and then switching directions at the right moment in the jump, you can effectively climb to another level, even when you don’t have enough horizontal space to do so.
- The absolute best way to increase your score is by collecting three balloons. This will warp you ahead a few levels, and will increase the bonus score for unused tin cans at the end of the stage tenfold, up to 1,000 bonus points per can. When done properly, and especially in the late stages when you should have a ton of extra cans, this can dramatically boost your score.
- In general, a good piece of advice is to complete stages from top to bottom, as it’s much harder to reach the upper roads safely than it is to drive and survive in the lower levels in most cases.
Thanks for reading! Here at PrimeTime Amusements, we like to keep ahead of the curve in arcade game rental and sales and pride ourselves in providing the best service in the country. If you’re looking for a game in particular, or have a few questions about the industry, feel free to give us a call at 1.800.550.0090 or to swing by at 5300 Powerline Rd. Suite 210, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 33309.