Bubble-blowing Brontosauri? Yep, Taito’s crazy arcade game featuring the fun-loving Bub and Bob has finally made it onto the Spectrum. The troublesome two are off to rescue their lady friends, who are lost within a string of prehistoric caves.
Each cave consists of a screen filled with platforms, and Bub and Bob progress from one cave to the next when the entire screen has been cleared of the killer cave-dwellers.
Though Bubble Bobble can be played by just one person it is ideally for two simultaneous players; when two-player mode is selected Bub and Bob appear onscreen and shortly after that the hostile cave-dwellers emerge and rush around the network of platforms.
Bub and Bob’s only defence against the dwellers is the bubbles which the two sauri spit. A bubble travels forward a short distance before floating upward, and any creature caught in its horizontal path becomes trapped for a while...
Now the fun begins — if the bronto jumps up and pops the bubble with his tough horny head, the creature within bounces around the screen, stunned, and turns into a banana which can be collected for an extra score. However, if a bubble with a creature in isn’t burst quickly the prisoner escapes and rushes around the screen in a strop looking for the responsible brontosaurus.
Another hazard which appears if a screen isn’t cleared quickly enough is the dreaded Baron von Blubba, an indestructible horror who’ll track down the heroic dinos and give them his fatal touch if all the other creatures aren’t destroyed very rapidly.
Throughout a level, bubbles float up from the bottom of the screen. Some are water-filled and when they’re burst they cause a miniflood which pours down the screen, sweeping away any creature that stands in its path. Other bubbles contain letters, and an extra life is awarded to the lucky pair if they can form the word ‘E X T E N D’. Occasionally sauras treats appear, either giving extra points or endowing the prehistoric pair with special powers.
As the dinosaurs progress through the levels, all manner of creatures are encounted. Early levels are inhabited by square-headed morons, but as you progress the locals get more vicious and start lobbing things back to counteract the bubbles. On finally reaching Cave 100, the last one, you come face to face with heap big chief cave-dweller who’s bigger, nastier and generally more unpleasant than anything encountered before. Bubbles at the ready, boys...
“Having never actually played the arcade version, though I’ve seen it, I’m totally intrigued by Bubble Bobble — beautifully simple and well-executed, it plays superbly, looks good and has that one-more-go appeal that’ll have you playing till the brontosauri come home. The continuous tune on the 128 version matches the frantic action of the game and certainly keeps the adrenaline rushing. I reckon Bubble Bobble will be one of my all-time favourites, and it’s definitely one of the best arcade conversion this year.”
RICKY ... 93%
“Bloop, bloop, bubble bobble — Bubble Bobble is like overdoing it with the bubble bath! It’s just popping with playability and addictiveness. The cute little characters move very well, the platforms are very colourful and there’s no clash visible anywhere. The bonuses are fantastic, and two-player mode gives that extra boost of excitement if you’re evenly matched. Just one final thing to say — WATCH OUT FOR THE GIANT PEACH!”
NICK ... 86%
“Bubble Bobble is so much fun! The graphics are cute, and though it’s quite easy to play it’s remarkably addictive. Having seen the other versions, I was convinced that the Spectrum game was going to be a letdown — but far from it. Bubble Bobble is excellent, pretty, enjoyable, addictive, simple, exemplary and a strongly-recommended buy.”
MIKE ... 93%
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: plain backgrounds but supercute characters
Sound: marvellous 128K tune, good spot FX
Options: two simultaneous players possible — even recommended — and definable keys
General rating: the most playable arcade conversion this year