Bubble Bobble

Title           Bubble Bobble
Game Type       Platform
Company         Firebird
Players         1 or 2
HD Installable  With patch http://perso.club-internet.fr/jffabre/amiga/patches.html
Compatibillity  A500 (?)
Submission      Joachim Froholt (jfroholt@my-deja.com)

Not counting The Settlers and possibly Civilization, Bubble Bobble must be
the game I've spent most time on during my career as a gamesplayer. It was
the first game I loaded up on my brand new Commodore 64 way back
in....um....well, way back in time, and it was the last game I played
before parting with the same machine. Until recently, I couldn't play the
Amiga version of the game, because it didn't work on my A600. After
purchasing an A500 for 200 kr (which is about 20 english pounds), I can
finally relive the lovely days of glory, when games were really addictive
and loading them took several minutes (at least the C64 version of them).
I'm quite satisfied with the purchase.

Ok. Enough nostalgia, Bubble Bobble is a platform game. There are 100
single screen levels for you to play through, either alone or with a
friend. You'll take on the role of Bub and Bob, two incredibly cute
dragons. Unlike normal dragons, Bub and Bob can't breathe fire (at least
not until they get the proper bonus item....). Instead they shoot bubbles.
The bubbles themselves aren't lethal, but once a baddie has been trapped
in one, either Bub or Bob may jump on it, causing it to blow. Then the
baddie will magically turn into a fruit and can be picked up for points.
When all the baddies on the level are gone, Bub and Bob can proceed to the
next one. The bubbles may also be jumped on, so that the players can reach
high locations. This feature enhances the game in two player mode, because
one player can blow bubbles for the other to jump on.

This all sounds very simple - and it is! That's what makes this game so
instantly playable. But don't worry if you think it sounds too simple. The
creators of Bubble Bobble have thought of several ways to complicate
matters. The most obvious one is that there's a time limit on every level.
After playing the level for a while, a "Hurry up!" message will flash
across the screen and all the remaining baddies will become angry (Which
means that they'll move quicker), while the music will speed up. If the
players wait too long, a dark note will play, and one (or two, depending
on how many players) ghosts will turn up. They can't be killed and will
chase the players until one of the players has been killed or has
succeeded in killing all the other baddies.

There are a wide range of baddies to cope with, and they will all act
differently. Some will fly, some will shoot and some will drop bombs,
while some will just wander around. The different baddies are introduced
gradually as the players make progress through the levels.

To help the players, they will find a number of different bonuses to pick
up. These range from shoes which will make them run faster and potions
which will make them shoot bubbles twice as fast, to umbrellas which will
make them skip a number from 2 to 7 levels. Then there are some bubbles
floating around the levels which will cause various events when Bub or Bob
break them. For instance, one kind of bubble will shoot a deadly lightning
bolt to the side when a player hits it. Timing is essential if these
bubbles are to be used to their full extent.

Also, if the players score enough points (by picking up fruit and stuff),
they will be rewarded with extra lives.

The graphics are simple, but quite well done. All the game characters are
cute and have their own personality. Everything is colourful and clear and
the sprite movement is very fluid. The music is also great. The ingame
tune is very happy and likeable, but some might find it annoying after a
while. There are few sound effects, but they fit the game well, especially
the dark note played when the ghosts arrive; very scary.

But all that really matters is the gameplay. Bubble Bobble is perhaps the
most playable platform game I have ever played. Everything about it is
perfect. The difficulty level is just right, the speed is just right,
well, there's nothing about this game which isn't just right. Ok. One
thing. A level called Jump. It's number 20 or something and is too
difficult when compared to the levels around it. But that's all, so if
you've got the hardware (I.e. an A500), get Bubble Bobble. Now!!

 A final note regarding compatibillity: I have played Bubble Bobble on my
A600 with the help of a degrader. But only once or twice, because it
almost always crashes while loading. I'm not sure weither the HD install
patch also makes the game more compatible.

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