Received: July 22nd, 2016 / Written: July 12th-24th, 2017
Alternate Titles: Bust-a-Move / Puzzle Bobble: Bust-a-Move [ ◯ ]
Year: 1994, 1995 | Developed and Published by: Taito | [ ⬤ ]
Disclaimer: Might potentially contain spoilers
Hello everyone, StarBoy91 here, passionate about video games, big retrophile, and puzzling is the game... err, that is, the genre of the game I'm reviewing today...... let me start over.
Image from WikipediaOn August 1986 a little arcade game by Taito named Bubble Bobble (originally distributed by Romstar in the US), created by the late Fukio Mitsuji, burst onto the scene. This game starring twin brothers turned Bubble Dragons (Bubblun and Bobblun) by Skel Monsta (Baron von Blubba in the West) in their one-hundred stage quest to save their girlfriends was released to huge acclaim and success thanks to its cute charm, addicting gameplay, two-player co-op, as well as being one of the earliest video games ever to have multiple endings depending on how you did on the way to the destination that it added tons of replay value. Bubble Bobble was so popular that it wound up seeing numerous upon numerous computer, console, and handheld ports and would mark the beginning of a new (and still ongoing) franchise for Taito.
Image from Wikipedia; Happy 30th Anniversary, Rainbow Islands!!!Initially the continuation of the 1986 classic began with the 1987 coin-op debut of Rainbow Islands: The Story of Bubble Bobble 2 (also created by Mitsuji) but with the protagonist(s) in their original human selves (as seen in the best ending of the predecessor) that also was well-received to the point of garnering exponential amounts of home conversions despite its two-player mode being alternative as opposed to simultaneous (it's also known for having the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz playing in the background throughout until it was changed for later editions to avoid facing copyright infringement).
Image from WikipediaLess converted for systems was the follow-up Parasol Stars: The Story of Bubble Bobble 3, which unlike the other games was originally released on the PC Engine on February 1991 made by Taito (which did see a TurboGrafx-16 release in America that October by Working Designs) while the ports were done by Ocean Software, returning to the structure and formula established by the game that started it all.
The memorable characters in Bubble Bobble were also designed by Fukio Mitsuji, who sadly passed away in December 2008. =( After a couple of entries where you played as the human characters the Bubble Dragons made a grand return in the Nintendo 8-bit exclusive Bubble Bobble Part 2 for the Famicom/NES and Game Boy (the latter being known in Japan as Bubble Bobble Junior) in 1993 albeit with a diverse storyline; only this time, the Bubble Dragons were here to stay.
The lovable duo (as well as the monsters from the 1986 coin-op) would make a return to the arcades with the June 1994 release of the puzzler spinoff Puzzle Bobble (or Bust-a-Move as it and its sequels were retitled for all American markets as well as some of the ports in Europe not published by Taito) which would subsequently find itself on the Neo Geo six months later. The game did so good at the time that in the years that followed it would be ported to the 3DO, the Neo Geo CD, the Sega Game Gear, the WonderSwan,
Go, adorable Bubble Dragons, GO!!! ^~^
and, of course, got converted to Nintendo's 16-bit powerhouse by Taito themselves; with the Super Famicom receiving it in January of 1995 in Japan, the NTSC SNES edition following suit that March in America as Bust-a-Move, followed by the PAL SNES release that June as Puzzle Bobble: Bust-a-Move in Europe, with Japan receiving it again albeit as a Nintendo Power release on December 1997. Let's talk about it!! =D
|Lightning bubble, activate|
|Matching (and Dropping) Bubble Time|
|Streaming watery goodness|
Aside from the normal Arcade Mode there are two extra game modes: Versus Mode where you compete against the computer enemies or a second player if someone's playing with you and Record Mode where you try to pop as many bubbles as you can until you get overwhelmed by the bubbles and can't fire any matching ones anymore. Don't worry if you lose a life for there are an unlimited supply of continues to back you up or you can choose to not continue if you don't feel like sticking with it (Arcade Mode is the only mode where you can continue your progress via password should you take a break from it).
|Alright, ALRIGHT, I'm hurrying, don't rush me!!|
After the final stage there are some well-drawn sepia-tone images on parchment paper, and during Versus Mode there are charmingly lighthearted profiles of either Bubble Dragon and the enemies for when they win or lose. =)
|Ah, I'm a sucker for stained glass windows|
in video games, they're so good!
|Oh no! =O|
|Meanwhile, in the clock tower of Alundra|
before being frozen in time by Melzas...
|Nice visual aesthetic|
|Turn, turn, turn, turn, turn|
|Pop go the red enemies|
|Time is by your side|
Image from WikipediaLike a lot of people I was very disappointed that Bubble Bobble didn't find its way to the PlayStation Portable compilation Taito Legends Power-Up (how can you omit such a classic?), but it did give us a chance to play what is considered to be its spiritual predecessor in the form of the 1983 game Chack'n Pop where the Monsta and Mighta enemies made their debut who would go on to appear in the Bubble Bobble franchise with the title character Chack'n making appearances in subsequent Taito releases (including the direct sequel to today's game).
|Such an in-depth area in terms of shading|
The beauty of puzzlers in general is that it is a hugely accessible genre regardless of skill level or age; they're not just games made for gamers with lots of experience or made solely for beginners or only for adults or only for kids, these games are made for everyone--that's one of many reasons I like the puzzler genre. If you're a fan of Bubble Bobble or if you were curious about Puzzle Bobble then I highly recommend it; it's tons of lighthearted fun with lots of challenge value and cute charm plus the most innovatively fun gameplay ever for a puzzler (series). Nothing can compete in my book, it's that good! =)
My Personal Score: 10/10
<( ^o^)^TO EACH THEIR OWN^(^o^ )>
P.S. In preparation for Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Homecoming (which I saw on the 8th) I've been marathoning all three Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies and Marc Webb's two The Amazing Spider-Man movies on DVD to keep the comparisons fresh in my mind even though it's an entirely new interpretation (yes, in the span of eight days--give or take a day or two that I took a break--I watched fifteen years' worth of standalone Spider-Man movies... I know, insane). I liked Homecoming, I thought it was really good fun with a nice John Hughes vibe about it (we actually explore Peter's high school life and dilemmas) plus Tom Holland is the best Peter Parker and Spider-Man to date; Tobey Maguire I thought excelled more as Peter Parker than he did as Spider-Man while Andrew Garfield conversely I felt was superior as Spider-Man than he was as Peter Parker (I liked them both, don't get me wrong, but in either case one half was more convincing than the other), so I'm glad that Holland managed to capture the best of both worlds here. =) And Michael Keaton's Adrian Toomes/Vulture I felt was a compellingly effective villain, one of the best MCU villains next to Loki and Ultron. It ranks third in my top three best Spider-Man movies (alongside Spider-Man 2 and The Amazing Spider-Man).
P.S. 2 On the 16th I saw Matt Reeves' War for the Planet of the Apes in theatres which I thought was a deeply poignant and richly-themed chapter in the rebooted Planet of the Apes series, as usual Andy Serkis was fantastic in the role of Caesar and Woody Harrelson's Colonel was simultaneously chilling and compelling as a villain. Great film.
P.S. 3 Took longer than I thought I would with this review, with only the last few paragraphs stumping me as to how I would tackle it; that and had some motivation issues because I didn't want my review to turn out sloppy for I wanted the wording to be coherent and say as much as I can as well as provide context to the best of my ability (I play it by ear--there is no rough draft--I judge how long my review is based on how many screenshots I have and sometimes it's a lot)... that and busy with real life and I was playing and getting screenshots for my next video game review, but that's a surprise.
Thank you for reading my review, please leave me a comment (spam will not be tolerated) and let me know what you think; hope you have a great Summer, take care! =D