Review by Mariner
"Simple fun, nothing more"
Bubble Bobble, by Taito, is a rather odd game. You control some lizard like thing, and you try to capture monsters in bubbles. Once you do, you must ram into the bubbles to kill them. When you’re finished, you move on to the next level for 99 levels. That’s it. Exciting? Fun? Surprisingly, it is.
Genre - Action/Puzzle
Story - 1 - I threw this one in here because I am quite confused. In the beginning, the game tells you that you are about to embark on a “fantastic story.” Yet, despite my countless hours of playing the game, I have yet to figure out what this fantastic story is. I suppose that’s the way NES games are.
Graphics - 6 - For an NES game, they’re ok, but nothing more. The background is simply black, and the borders are forgettable tiles (although they do change with each level). Enemy sprites are pretty simple, although Mr Bubbles or whoever looks relatively detailed. The various items look worse than the enemies do. Basically, there is nothing graphically to distinguish this game from other old NES games.
Sound - 6 - Sound isn’t too bad. The music isn’t as annoying as some other NES games, but there’s not much you can do with it. Sound effects are merely decent. Don’t worry about muting your TV when playing this, as you won’t be missing much.
Gameplay - 7.5 - It’s pretty fun. There’s a fair amount of depth for the two buttons you push. For instance, you can jump on your bubbles to get higher up. The bubbles sometimes float around in predetermined paths, so you have to find some ways to get up to high places. Also, random weapons appear in bubbles that you have to break open to unleash. And then one can also release bonus items, including one that lets you skip a few stages. The levels are each one screen, but you can fall through the floor to get to the ceiling. There are various kinds of enemies, including flying ones and Space Invaders like enemies that shoot downward at you. There are 99 levels, with different styles and strategies for each. To put it as simply as possible, it’s fun.
Challenge - 9 - The game is quite challenging. Obviously, there’s a learning curve, but there’s not much difference between levels 20-40 or so. The game features one hit kills, but you restart immediately, so all enemies killed remain killed. Fortunately, there’s a password system, so you basically get unlimited continues. However, some levels are downright impossible. Level 56 or 57 (not sure which) in particular is quite annoying, and you may be better off simply finding the password for the next level. Besides a few levels like this, the game does not become frustrating. One can generally figure out what is necessary to beat a level and work one’s way into perfecting it. The game is challenging without frustrating, which is a delicate balance very few games can reach.
Replay - 7 - Some. It’s a pick up and play type of game, giving it better replay than RPGs for instance. The vast amount of levels insure you that you won’t memorize the game, so you won’t get bored. There is a password that allows you to choose your level, which improves replay value. It’s the type of game that you may pick up every once in a while when you’re bored out of your skull.
Reviewer's Tilt - Neutral
Overall - 7.7 - It's a fun game, but really nothing more. You're not going to find anything utterly amazing about it. Still, it's worth a buy if you can find it for a cheap price.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/18/01, Updated 10/18/01
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