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Bubble Bobble

Developer / Publisher: Taito
August 1986
Bubble Bobble - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.35 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
278 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#1,315 All-time
#5 for 1986
The brothers Bub and Bob are forced to fight their way through the Cave of Monster's 100 levels to rescue their girlfriends and regain their human forms.
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1986 Taito  
1987 Taito  
Cartridge
JP 4 988611 870143
1987 Taito  
Floppy
JP 4 988611 870174 TFD-BUB
Show all 12 releases
1988 Taito Sega  
Cartridge
JP
1988 Taito  
Cartridge
US 0 20588 01006 2 NES-B2-USA
1990 Micomsoft Taito  
Floppy 5.25"
JP
1991 Taito  
Cartridge
XNA 0 20588 01030 7 DMG-B2-USA
2007 Taito  
Download
2013 Taito Square Enix  
Download
2014 Taito Square Enix  
Download
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Title
Quite simply, Bubble Bobble is my favorite video game. I can't count the number of hours I have spent playing this with my brother and friends.

This review is for the release of the classic arcade game for the NES. Players take on the roles of dinosaur brothers Bub and Bob in a quest to save their girlfriends across more than 200 platform levels.

Basic game play sees Bub and Bob attempt to clear a level by disposing of all of the various "beasties" (enemies) on the screen. This is usually done by blowing bubbles to enclose said beasties and popping them, which releases a reward of some sort (often edible). There are a couple of time limits in play: if bubble-entrapped beasties are not popped in a timely fashion, they will pop out of the bubble in an agitated, red and fast state. Furthermore, if you take too long in clearing a level, a "Hurry Up!" message will appear, and after a few more seconds, the invincible grim reaper Baron Von Kluppa will come to dismiss you, increasing in speed the longer you are able to avoid him.

Players collect various weapons which help to clear levels, and accrue points for disposing of enemies and collecting other goodies which lead to extra lives at various thresholds. If 3 or more beasties are dispelled at once, a series of letter bubbles which spell "Extend" appear, and collecting them all awards the recipient an extra life.

One of the reasons I love the game so much is that players develop different skills through the collection of weapons, the various beasties faced, and game-within-the-game challenges that arise at various points. For example, collecting shoes makes a player's running and jumping speed increase (in some levels this can increase the difficulty). In addition, some levels are impossible to clear unless the players master the skill of bubble-hopping, in which Bub and Bob blow bubbles upon which to bounce, while other, floorless levels require players to hone their falling skills in order to continue. Bubbles filled with water, fire, and lightning bolts also appear during some levels, which likewise require skills such as bubble-hopping and careful timing in order to be effectively wielded.

The various beasties encountered in the game also help you develop various skills to defeat them:

Bubble Buster: a mechanical robot which walks and jumps
Stoner: a ghost which moves more quickly, jumps, and throws rocks
Beluga: a whale which flies diagonally across the level
Hullaballoon: my personal favorite, a doughy, beanie-propelled beastie who flies more slowly than Beluga but at various angles
Coiley: a spring-jumping monster with boxing gloves
Incendo: a hairy monster which moves and jumps quickly and releases a high-speed flame
Willy Whistle: a drunken, bottle-projecting monster which moves and jumps in a less predictable fashion
Super Socket: a space robot which moves left and right, descending through platforms and firing lasers downward

After clearing some 100 levels, the players face off against Grumple Grommit, a supersized Willy Whistle, who only succumbs after 60 blasts from lightning bubbles. After this stage is complete, an entire second quest is opened up with the same levels featuring different beasties, culminating in a face-off with a more formidable Grumple Grommit who now requires 80 lightning blasts to be defeated. Passwords allow players to start the game at any level.

The above summary highlights the detail of the game as well as the breadth of skills required to complete it, but this review is woefully incomplete without praising the feeling of playing Bubble Bobble, which is a huge part of why it is so addictive. The bouncy, 8-bit theme of the levels is a real earworm, and the bright colors of the levels, characters, and items set against a black background create a beautifully vivid world. The interplay when playing with a second player is well-rounded, and indeed, ultimately required. The competition for gluttonously gobbling rewards and weapons is set against the self-sacrificial capacity of a player to transfer a life to the other player, which can become necessary as the game can not be completed unless BOTH players are alive after Grumple Grommit is defeated for the second time. The gloriously glistening soundtrack and hypercolor celebration that follows when a player collects all of the EXTEND bubbles is so thrilling that it offers great incentive beyond a mere extra life, to the point where I feel just as happy if my co-player is the one to collect the reward. The rush of riding in water bubbles as they weave through the levels and destroy all beasties in their wake, the satisfaction of the buzzing bolt that is released from a lightning bubble, and the earth-shaking CHUG when a bomb is set off to clear the stage are a few of the experiences that make the game a lot of fun.

The game also ends on a real high-point, as the final level is very likely my favorite level of any game I have played. The music is so frantic and the movements are so high-paced that it heightens the intensity. The immense thrill of falling down a quickly assembled column of bubble-hopped lightning bubbles in tag-team fashion and freezing Grumple Grommit with a large number of bolts, complete with the hefty sizzling sound effects is so helplessly addictive that I often let him out of the bubble angry and in hyperspeed just to experience the thrill again, even (especially?) if it means I'm not successful and have to attempt it again.

As I by and large stopped purchasing new games in around 1993, I'm sure there are games which are far more intricate and all-encompassing than Bubble Bobble. Nonetheless, Bubble Bobble packs an impressive amount of detail and diversity into its 8-bit experience, and it is well worth holding the title as my favorite video game.
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Moonbeam 2016-04-07T00:27:00Z
2016-04-07T00:27:00Z
100
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Title
Bubble Bobble is a precious cinnamon roll of cuteness, atested with its cartoony sprites of dinosaurs fighting humanoid contraptions, winning impossible amounts of saccharine fruits and snacks and the irresistable theme song. It is also a gameplay that hits all the right spots without being merciless, offering a quick, easy and uncompromising fun.

You by yourself, or with another player cooperatively, clear off enemies from the levels by shooting bubbles. The bubbles engulf the enemies and trap them, which you can then either jump into to pop and defeat them(in a chain link with other nearby enemies for bonus scores), or you can find other uses for the bubbles, such as climbing or using specific power-ups to get rid of enemies in creative ways, like causing floods, lightning bolts, or setting the floor ablaze.

All versions of the game offer 100 levels with widely differing platform layout, making each map distinctly situational, and where the real challenge in progressing through the game comes from however best you can use the surroundings to your advantage. The way the levels teach you the functions of power-ups is very gradual and easy-paced, but will then demand you show your expertise in the later levels HARD. There are often maps which offer a specific power-up(for example level 88 conveniently places all the enemies in a pit to be lit on fire), or other maps where you have to take tactical precaution and know from which side of the map to strike, weighting the risk of hunting a power up that skips levels(or in particular the potions that offer bonus rounds are a life-saver), and others that rely on high-class platforming skills where you literally have to climb your way using your own bubbles. Here and then the levels are peppered with boss battles that you can only beat with power-ups, and are so dynamic that they bring some freshness after tens of, frankly, stale levels and enemy placements.

The game has multiple endings where the good ones are achievable through picking up secret doors to secret stages. Discovering the secret doors without a walkthrough is impossible as the hints to their whereabouts were only published in the Japanese version of the game, and even then they were really convoluted. The game running has so many secret variables running behind the surface that it effectively takes from the "Tower of Druaga" design book, which can be endlessly frustrating for ardent completionists. The secret doors, when attempted to be reached, do offer unique gameplay rules, as some are triggered by specific events, such as say, not harming any enemies, or defeating a certain number of enemies at the same time.

The arcade version of the game is the pinnacle version with its high-end sound and graphics, making it definitive. Most people know the NES port the most which is an alright port that gets the job and all the level mechanics intact. The best port is the Master System version, however, which stays completely true to all the rules, graphics and sets of the arcade version, but adds its own special cutscenes for the endings, as well as another set of a hundred levels, the Super Mode which is available in the arcade edition through cheats. However, the Super Mode is just the same 100 levels just with different enemies swapped, to varying difficulty. A lot of the levels are actually made easier this way, but the Master System version is also less suited for two-player runs.

Bubble Bobble is easy to pick up and play because it is so immediate, but chances are both you and your friend will easily be bored after about 10 levels or so. Difficulty really begins to spike in the 20s or 30s where you have to really know how to get the hang of bubble climbing, and will be a future source of many game over screens. Luckily you can always continue from your current level, but very few people would be patient to beat all 100 levels in one go because of its repetitive gameplay. In every other regard though, it's a true classic.
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Clownboss 2016-07-24T21:39:22Z
2016-07-24T21:39:22Z
4.0
2
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One of my all time favourite games. Bubble Bobble is simple, addictive, and eminently satisfying. The music is repetitive and by rights should drive a person insane, but somehow it doesn't. The co-operative mode is especially enjoyable. I only ever played the version on the Mega Drive, and really, that was good enough for me.
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Paulie_Jay 2016-09-10T23:45:08Z
2016-09-10T23:45:08Z
4.5
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Catalog

GiornoMio Bubble Bobble 2022-11-30T16:40:14Z
2022-11-30T16:40:14Z
8.0 /10
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Infantil Desafiador Nostálgico Divertido
ChuckB Bubble Bobble 2022-11-24T16:18:54Z
2022-11-24T16:18:54Z
3.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Thepotatoman333 Bubble Bobble 2022-11-13T03:07:53Z
2022-11-13T03:07:53Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
childhood legend all time classiscs
lilmattd Bubble Bobble 2022-10-24T20:27:39Z
2022-10-24T20:27:39Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ReloadedV1 Bubble Bobble 2022-10-17T17:00:46Z
Arcade
2022-10-17T17:00:46Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
TylerHelt Bubble Bobble 2022-10-12T18:48:08Z
2022-10-12T18:48:08Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
NES
Aidenbowe45 Bubble Bobble 2022-10-10T00:22:20Z
2022-10-10T00:22:20Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Cbchico9 Bubble Bobble 2022-09-24T02:55:21Z
2022-09-24T02:55:21Z
1.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
use Bubble Bobble 2022-09-16T19:16:52Z
2022-09-16T19:16:52Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
MirM Bubble Bobble 2022-09-14T05:47:14Z
2022-09-14T05:47:14Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
roemanlaporte Bubble Bobble 2022-09-10T15:10:38Z
2022-09-10T15:10:38Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
rustedpeices Bubble Bobble 2022-09-04T10:51:33Z
NES • US
2022-09-04T10:51:33Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Player modes
1-2 players
Multiplayer modes
Cooperative
Multiplayer options
Local
Franchises
Also known as
  • バブルボブル
  • Baburu Boburu
  • View all [2] Hide

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  • Azel 2020-08-02 20:15:50.726322+00
    Who doesn't love the Bubble Bobble theme <3
    reply
    • slib 2020-12-25 19:54:38.444302+00
      one of the greatest pieces of music in any video game ever
    • Miry 2022-03-28 22:27:51.537005+00
      without a doubt.
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  • Aysenthesys 2022-09-04 04:32:54.787482+00
    Nice and fun... but really hard.
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