Bubble Bobble is one of the games that I grew up with playing with my bro. As a twin, it was always awesome when a game was two player cooperative so we could both play at the same time. This game filled that gap and we played it for hours! At its core, Bubble Bobble is is an arcade puzzle-platform game where you take control of one of two little monsters named Bub or Bob. In terms of story – Bub and Bob have been turned into blue and green dragons and their girlfriends have been taken. The culprit – Baron von Blubba – hides in the Cave of Monsters, where Bub and Bob must travel to rescues their girlfriends and regain their original forms!
Each stage is one screen in size and is populated with various enemies. The goal is to defeat all the enemies in order to move onto the next stage. The mechanic that makes this game Bubble Bobble is the ability that the player-controlled monsters have of blowing bubble to entrap their enemies! Once captured in a bubble, the player must run into the captured enemies to turn them into food! There is a bit of tension to run to the captured monster though, because it the player takes too long, the enemy will break free and will go berserk running quickly all over the stage! Although simple, these mechanics drive the games’ 100+ levels!
As the levels advance, the number of different enemy types increases with many of them having challenging movement and attack patterns. The stages themselves also evolve and incorporate enemy aesthetics into the actual levels themselves (see below) and also become more difficult to navigate. Around level 20, an interesting lightning bolt mechanic is introduced which allows Bub and Bob to shoot and pop bubbles that sends lighting bolts shooting across the screen to dispatch enemies located on the other side. Some levels make it almost impossible to get to enemies directly, so this mechanic becomes required in order to advance. The game also introduced a variety of items, most of which are just add to the players’ score (which leads to 1 ups), but a few of them – like the umbrella – have some awesome effects like skipping a few levels immediatly!
In terms of difficulty, I have never actually beat the game but never felt overly frustrated because of this. The difficulty progression is excellent where early levels are very simple and introduce the player to the mechanics while the later levels become much more difficult. The real challenge is having the time and patients to sit through all of the 100+ levels – luckily the game has a password feature that is provided to you once you have a game over which allows you to pick up where you left off! This is a welcome addition that I was not expecting given that many NES games have an unforgiving nature cough…Krion Quest…cough.
Graphics are charming but nothing fancy with colourful levels and enemies and static black backgrounds. The sound and music is fun and captures the mood of the game but does not go beyond this. Overall, this game is a simple but fun cooperative puzzle-platform game. After 20 or 30 levels, it can become a but repetitive, but is still fun for short bursts. I give this game a final score of 7/10.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10