cyclonus_the_warrior's Bubble Bobble (Nintendo Entertainment System) review

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You got your girls snatched by a drunk? Seriously, you guys suck.

Bub and Bob are two guys whose girlfriends were kidnapped by a monster named Super Drunk (seriously, that’s his name!). On top of the kidnapping, he turned the two into bubble blowing dino-mites. Now the two must venture through one area after another to save their girls. -summar

One thing about the late great 80’s when concerning video games is that they used the whole save the girl gimmick to death. I’m not exactly sure, but I wouldn’t doubt if 70% of the games from back then didn’t have something to do with some street-smart challenged chick getting snatched. Oh well, when looking pass the flimsy story, what you have is a game that could have done just as well without one. I mean seriously, when this game came out in the arcade like in 87' or so. I didn’t know that the main story had anything to do with saving a girl until its 1988 Nintendo release. In any case, what you have here is a Nintendo classic with the simplest, yet most addicting game play as well as among the most challenging you could find on that system.

Bubble Bobble is a two player co-op and action-adventure platformer, that follows the two dino-mites as they navigate through at least 100 levels battling different types of monsters. To fight against your enemies, Bub and Bob blows bubbles out of their mouths to capture and finish them by popping the bubbles. The enemies will fall throughout the level taking the forms of different goodies; cakes, ice cream, brownies etc., to rack up the points and earn a high score. That is pretty much the idea of the game right there. However, the enemies can break the bubbles in due time, and once that happens, they will emerge from the bubble with a new red-like color and mad as all hell. When this occurs, they will be faster and harder to catch. The trick is to blow as many bubbles as possible and catch as many creatures in that gang of bubbles, to pop them all and cause a big chain reaction. This racks up a larger amount of points, and can sometimes litter the stages with so many goodies there won’t be enough time to pick them up; and speaking of time, there’s an unseen time limit, and when the time for the stage elapses, an unstoppable white monster will begin to chase you until the level is cleared.

Besides picking up different forms of junk food to earn a higher score; there are also ability increasing icons in the forms of colored gums, that increase the speed and distance of the bubbles. There are also sneakers to increase the dino's speed a great deal.

The makers must have realized that Bubble Bobble was a long game, therefore among the pick ups are two different umbrellas which allows a vast level skip. Also, if the player can make it 20 stages without dying once, an icon that resembles a rocket pack can be picked up. This will transport you into a bonus stage where you pick up a large amount of diamonds which increases your score by an unbelievable amount. This occurs every 20 stages if you can make it. The final stage features a battle with Super Drunk and he must be hit 100 times to be defeated. However, there’s a catch, the game can only be truly beaten if it’s done with two players. If one player does it alone then one of the girls are left behind. I guess someone back in the 80’s never heard of threesomes.

The game play is indeed challenging and the first few stages are very easy, as they’re meant to give the player an idea on how to handle things. The amount of enemies begins with only three and consists of the weaker monsters. As you progress, some of the monsters become very fast or they hurl projectiles that can only be dodged. For your defense, you can break bubbles packed with water creating river streams that flush out the stages, or you can jump on and break elemental bubbles that unleash lightening bolts taking out enemies in its direction. I like this part of the game play concerning weapon icons, since they can aid in some very fast stage clears.

I really love the creative stage designs in this game, and after replaying it recently I appreciate it a lot more. There are stages that can put you in extreme disadvantages, where you will have to bounce on bubbles to a high point for some type of chance against the vast enemies. The stages themselves can be very challenging with small corridors, where you fall off into a narrow passage, and you will have to get out by bouncing on your own bubbles. These areas can be the perfect death traps though, because enemies can make their way into these spaces, thus taking you out very easily. The trick to this game I think is serious memory as well as trial and error, but 100 stages are a whole lot to memorize, therefore you will have to depend on your wits a majority of the time. I found myself on numerous occasions developing on the spot strategies and made it through certain stages without dying a single death. When you die which only takes one hit, you reappear at that moment, but you lose all power ups and difficult stages become even harder to get through. There’s a good chance of not even completing them which I do think is kind of unfair, but this type of high difficulty was very common back then. However, it can be quite frustrating since there isn’t much fun losing like this.

The simplest part of this game is probably the controls, with a button to blow bubbles and a jump button. I can’t exactly say there’s an issue here, and once you get the sneakers, the controls feel a little more sensitive I think; but I still find them to be responsive for the most part.

As for visuals, there are really no type of backgrounds since they’re all black. However, the game has some amazing stage designs and words can hardly do them justice. At first, they’re pretty standard with three plat-forms you can jump on to and run off the edges. Later, they evolve into narrow pathways, multiple jumping plat-forms, stages shaped into very large hearts I mean the imagination was at an all time high here. The character designs were very good back then, with the enemies consisting of ghost and block-headed wind-up toys. The two dinos are actually pretty cute with their small tales and big puppy dog eyes. The music is a repeated and catchy synthesized loop that will stick in your head for the rest of your life. There’s only-like two more songs; one for the bonus stage, which is the darker of the three and Super Drunk’s theme. There aren’t many sound effects, and what little bit are present really aren’t worth noting.

This game is insanely addictive; I don’t know anyone who has beaten this in one day on their very first try. Many stages are trial and error, and it would take the hardest of the hardcore to go through all 100 levels without using a level skip code; and that’s some of my problem too, the game has too many levels and I don’t know who thought having 100 levels+ was a good idea. Anyway, this is a game that should be checked out whenever possible. Recommended.

Rating: 7

The Good: Highly addictive and challenging, very creative stage designs

The Bad: Too many levels, unfair mechanics, can’t complete solo

Other reviews for Bubble Bobble (Nintendo Entertainment System)

    The happiest game on Earth 0

    Cute little dragons, candy and sneaker powerups, and the happiest, catchiest BGM in the history of gaming. What's not to love??At first, the game seems simple. Run around, catch the baddies, pop the bubbles, don't get eaten by the whale, try to grab the powerup in time to be rewarded with a giant popcicle at the end of the level.Awesome! But dig a little deeper, and there's strategy to be had. The enemy movement patterns and "air currents" (i.e. where your bubbles float after appearing) are alw...

    1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

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