As you prepare to move Chip around the playing field, you may wonder what more could possibly be said than, "Don't use the mouse, use the arrow keys!" (And if you want to know why that's been said, then you haven't yet read What Help Never Told You. Hint, hint.) Yet, even with only four simple arrow keys, there are a few tips and tricks that will speed Chip on his way and occasionally, save his life!
RUN CHIP, RUN! Everywhere that these instructions say "run" they mean: "hold down the arrow key." Pressing and holding an arrow key will move Chip at his fastest. The technique can be effective when Chip has to cover three or more squares in one direction. When Chip runs, he moves exactly as fast as paramecia, bugs, gliders, fireballs, walkers, tanks and pink balls. He can run faster than green teeth monsters which is a good thing, or no one would ever get through level 8 (LESSON 8).
The trick to running is knowing when to press and when to let go. Chip will usually move one additional square after you release the arrow key. That extra step can be disastrous if you are running toward water, for instance, and don't allow for it. You can use the extra step to build your speed though, by releasing the arrow key and pressing the arrow for your new direction even before Chip comes to a stop. It's nearly the only way to clear level 31 (KNOT).
THE METRONOME APPROACH. Some players (the writer among them) feel that trying to make Chip "run" for distances under six squares or so slows them down. You may lose more time waiting for Chip to glide to a stop and change direction than you gain by holding down the arrow key. Instead of doing a lot of running starts and stops on levels where Chip changes direction frequently, try getting an even rhythm to your keystrokes, going only as fast as you can without losing your beat. You may be surprised to find, even on a first attempt, that you key a section faster than you did when you were rushing through some parts and slowing down on others. You can gradually increase the rhythm of your keystrokes as you learn the moves of the level until you are approaching speeds for the entire section that are nearly as fast as the portions where you were holding down the arrow key.
THE KICK STEP. Moveable blocks pushed onto ice can come back and squash poor Chip if they don't find a resting place at the end of the ice flow. Unfortunately, on some levels such as 123 (THE PRISONER), Chip has got to take the chance. Perfect the technique of kicking the block onto ice then immediately stepping out of the way in case it returns unexpectedly. This talent will be helpful if you want to solve the mystery of level 121 (PERFECT MATCH).
THE SIDE STEP. In most cases, whenever Chip steps onto a force field without suction boots he is carried in the direction of the arrows. Fortunately, he can step sideways off of a force field at nearly any point. As a practical matter, because of Chip's speed, you are seldom able to change his direction on the first square. With timing and practice, however, you can learn to step Chip off of force fields at any point you desire with a single keystroke. You're going to have to (learn, that is), if you want to get the best time on level 63 (BLOCK FACTORY).
BRUTE FORCE. There are force field situations where fine tuning is not required and brute force is entirely adequate for changing Chip's direction. When caught in the middle of numerous force field strips, simply hold down the arrow key in the direction you want to progress. Chip will jump from one force field strip to another in the general direction you want him to go. Brute force is the trick needed to crack level 9 (NUTS AND BOLTS) which foils so many new Chipsters. The same technique also works when Chip is traveling along a single force field strip and needs to step off into an opening in a wall. If he is traveling west and the opening is to the south, for instance, just press and hold the down arrow until he breaks through the wall. A fine example of this situation occurs on level 28 (PING PONG).
THE FLYING LEAP. When you're sliding over ice, if you wait for Chip to land it will take a few fractions of a second for you to press your next arrow key and proceed. Shaving off those fractions of a second is what the Quest is all about, so try pressing and holding down the arrow key for your next keystroke as Chip approaches his landing place. Chip won't pause as he starts in the new direction, even if it's back the way he came. In fact, Chip will have so much momentum that he will even go the "wrong" direction over a force field square. You can try this technique on level 51 (I SLIDE) and several others.
THE SLIDE. Whenever Chip steps onto a force field or ventures onto the ice without special footwear, he slides at about twice the speed that he can run. This feature is very useful in picking up seconds if you can find a path to your destination that includes a wild ride on either. Level 15 (ELEMENTARY) gives you a taste of both.
THE MOUSE CLICK. Didn't we already say, "Don't use the mouse!"? Well. . . er, . . .yes. And there are some excellent reasons for that advice, the primary one being that mouse clicks don't work when Chip teleports. But a real expert knows when to break the rules, so break this one expertly on level 102 (ICEHOUSE). With excellent timing, you can start this level without your mouse, but a single click on the teleport square and Chip will get through that first mad ice spiral every time. A mouse click at the right time can also keep you out of a sticky situation on level 109 (TORTURECHAMBER), but again, it is not required. Here, by the way, is fertile ground for future Hall of Famers, because there may be other levels where the mouse is actually useful. If there are, they have yet to be discovered.