Bubble Bobble (Second Review)

Title           Bubble Bobble (Second Review)
Game Type       Platform
Company         Taito/Software Creations/Firebird
Players         1 or 2
HD Installable  With patch http://perso.club-internet.fr/jffabre/amiga/patches.html
Compatibillity  A500 (?)
Submission      David Tolley (tolls@btinternet.com)

Okay, I'll set the scene. Mid to late 80's, typical seaside town on the
south cost of England. As usual, I'm in the arcades. All the big names are
there - Outrun, Gauntlet, Marble Madness, Shinobi, and a relative newcomer
I'd not really seen before. It must be good, 'cos it's got a crowd
gathered, little did I know, but my holiday (as far as sea, sand and rain
were concerned) was over...........

I suppose you've guessed by now, the game I saw was obviously Bubble
Bobble. Well,  it looked ok, with it's cutesy graphics and jolly sound,
but it wasn't until I actually played it, that I realised what all the
fuss was about. I knew Taito were good, but this blew me away.

The task of converting Bubble Bobble to the Amiga eventually fell to
Software Creations, and the binary talents of D.J. Broadhurst. To be
honest, Bubble Bobble isn't technically a complicated game to convert -
platforms, baddies, bubbles and pickups, the problem lies in converting
the beautifully crafted gameplay, it had to be spot on. If the gameplay
let the conversion down, nothing could save it, and without it, all you're
left with is a shell of a game with average (for the Amiga) graphics and a
bouncy jolly tune. But of course, Software Creations came up with the
goods - and how!

I remember buying Bubble Bobble. I was well into my teens, but I was like
a big kid. I was practically shaking with anticipation as the game loaded,
I was praying that I wouldn't be disappointed. So there I was, sat in
front of the monitor, my best mate, Spud, had come 'round for the special
occasion, we had cans of coke, bags of crisps -  I wanted everything to be
perfect. The next couple of hours were a blur of frantic gameplay,
swearing, cursing, joy and pain - you name it, we went through it. Bubble
Bobble was superb, we hadn't had this much fun since we'd successfully
escorted "Air Force One" to a safe landing playing Interceptor! The two
player action was downright crazy. It was almost obscene the amount of fun
you could have by beating your best mate to that huge diamond by a pixel
breadth after just telling him "Oh yeah, you can definitely have the next
big goodie that falls from the sky!", arguments were frequent and
frenzied. There were times when I hated Spud, just because he got the
magic potion before me - and it WAS hatred, I could have smacked his smug
smile off his face! We always started as best mates helping each other
out, but when times got hard, you looked after number 1, that was Bubble
Bobble at it's best.

The object of the game was simplicity itself. As Bub and Bob the bubble
blowing dinosaurs (eh?), you must rescue your girlfriends from the evil
clutches of Baron Bon Blubba who is holding your loved ones at the bottom
of a huge pit, which funnily enough is 100 levels deep - just enough for a
computer game. To help you on your way, pressing the fire button would
emit a large bubble, which, if it came in contact with one of the Barons
henchmen would trap him/her/it? inside. If you were quick, you could pop
this bubble and turn the baddie into mouth watering fruit, the more
baddies you trapped and popped together, the more types of fruit you'd
reap, and so on. Every now and then, special items would appear to help
you out, such as umbrellas (skip screens), sweets (increase bubble
power/speed) and trainers (speed increase), and basically, that's Bubble
Bobble in a nut shell. Put all this together, throw in a couple of players
and you have possibly the best Amiga game ever.

To sum things up, like I said, the graphics were okay, as was the sound,
and the programming was competent, but Mr Broadhurst's legacy here, is the
gameplay he captured in the conversion procress, the game was simply a joy
to play.

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