Review by roadkill

"A good addition to a great series."

Ah Bust-a-Move, the often imitated yet never duplicated game. I remember playing this gem for the SNES back in the days when arcade systems ruled supreme and SEGA was still in the hardware business.

Gameplay - 9
For those of you unfamiliar with Bust-a-Move, it’s a puzzle game similar to Tetris, but upside down. You get these spheres of different color and the object of the game is to shoot them up at spheres on the grid of the same color. Once you have three spheres of the same color, they burst freeing up that area. Sounds simple enough right? Well, it’s not. There are some physics involved in this game like, at what angle should you hit the grid wall so that it’ll bounce off and reach the desired position. But, where would the challenge be if it were just left at that? The grid will move down during gameplay and once any of the remaining spheres passes a set line, its game over (or, at least the option to continue).

As far as controls go, this game is as controller extensive as you’d expect from a puzzle game. All that you really use are the direction buttons (left and right) and the X button. Press the L1 and R1 buttons to fine tune your launcher, press down or up to reset the launcher to its original position (pointing straight up).

This game does have a story, but barely. There is a legend that if someone climbs to the top of this tower, they’ll be a special gift. That’s it. While it may be short and simple, it is more then a lot of puzzle games have.

At first glance, Bust-a-Move 2 looks like another one of those kiddy puzzle games that requires very little strategy. Let me tell you, this view is dead wrong. Yes, this does look like a kiddy game, but once you start playing, you realize this is not the case. This game actually involves a lot of planning. The game walks you through for the first match providing a little guide line (which shows you exactly were the sphere will go) for you, but after that, you’re on your own, unless you use a continue, in which case you get a guide line for the first match again.

Graphics - 9
Bust-a-Move 2 looks every bit as good as it did back in the good old days of the SNES and N64. Compare it to playing Tetris on the N64 and then on the PS2. It’s like the saying that it’s hard to improve on perfection. Of course there are some graphical changes, such as the cut screens and the reflections off certain surfaces.

All I can saw about the cut screens is that they are very odd. They feature cell shaded cartoon characters which remind me more of a Saturday cartoon show I would watch if I were five years old then a typical animated cut screen. I feel that the cut screens add to the memorable experience of this game.

Another thing that I think deserves a special note is the box art. I just can’t get over the box art for this game. It is truly the most eye-catching box I’ve seen for the Playstation 2. Just take a look and I’m sure you’ll agree.

Sound - 9
To be honest, this game has some odd yet appealing and memorable sounds. Such as the sound when a sphere completes the three sphere link and bursts you hear a chink sound, or when you win the match, you hear a sound that I can only describe as a group of children shouting “yeah!”

The music however, is less then memorable. Fifteen minutes after the game, you’ll forget the tune completely. This is too bad when considering that some of this music is actually quite good.

Replay - 7
Well, although this isn’t exactly the easiest puzzle game out there, you’ll definitely have fun losing the first couple rounds. But, overall, I think this game will be played for a couple weeks tops and then set in your collection to gather dust. Unless of course you grab a friend who also loves Bust-a-Move, in which case the head to head is actually quite fun.

One cool thing that this game offers is the edit mode. Here you can choose your own grid and populate it with whatever spheres you wish then play it. This is a great feature that I’ve wanted ever since I played Bust-a-Move for the Sega Saturn.

Closing Comments
This is a good addition to a great series, but were I think it suffers is in the replay. People just don’t seem to be playing puzzle games like they used to. Like I said, I give this game a week (more if you absolutely love puzzle games). Which is too bad, this is a beautiful game.

Overall – 8

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/24/02, Updated 11/24/02

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