Whatever happened to Bubble Bobble?
That age old question has finally been answered with Bust-A-Move 2:
Arcade Edition. Our two friendly dinosaur/dragons have returned.
Taito origionally designed Bust-A-Move, or Puzzle Bobble as
many people call it, for the Neo-Geo System. The arcade Neo-Geo version made
Bust-A-Move a smash hit. Even now, about two years since its
release, I see people waiting in line at the local arcade just to play it.
Although this game is in close competition for worst title in history (I
still think that Atomic Punk is worse. It’s a real game, trust
me.), it is the most addicting puzzle game since Tetris. It became
so popular that another company tried to copy it with the game Puzzle De
Pon. (Alright, what’s with the horrible names.) Finally, Taito
realized that it could make more money if it ported the game over to one of
the home systems. Hence, we get Bust-A-Move 2: Arcade Edition. In
translating the game over to the Saturn, Taito did something unexpected :
they improved it. With more options and more gameplay, Bust-A-Move
2 is everything the Neo-Geo version was and more.
For those of you who don’t know, Bust-A-Move 2 is a puzzle game
where you have to bust (hence the lame title) all the colored balls before
they squish you. You do this by placing three or more right next to each
other. The ones you pop will fall, along with any others that were using
them for support. Sounds easy, huh? As time ticks by, however, the
ceiling begins to drop. If any of the balls pass the lower line during the
game, you lose. Why are the simplest games always the most addicting?
How good can you make a game like this look? By no means does
Bust-A-Move 2 take advantage of the Saturn’s full graphical
capability; it doesn’t need to. The graphics are just where they need to
be: fun to look at, fast loading, and fully functional. The only drawback
to the look of the game is the overwhelming cuteness of it all. Bub and
Bob, the aforementioned stars of Bubble Bobble, are just so gosh darn
cuddly. When you win, they do a little twirl in the air, and if they lose,
they fall to the ground, crying. All the other characters in the game
(most taken from Bubble Bobble) are just as cute. If
Bust-A-Move was a movie, you can bet that there would be plush toys
of these creatures all over your local mall.
You have a little bit more control on the Saturn version then you did in
the arcade. The L and R buttons can be used to aim the catapult one notch
in either direction, making it a little easier to aim. Also, if you push
up on the D-pad, the catapult will aim directly up, doing away with one of
the hardest shots in the game.
The variety of gameplay is where Bust-A-Move 2 is a lot different
than the arcade. You can either play by yourself, against a human
opponent, or against a computer opponent. The addition of the 2-player
setup against the computer is brand new for the Saturn. In the arcade,
there were no computer opponents. Now can train and get
better so you can beat your friends the next time you play against them.
Strangely enough, the designers over at Taito attempted to give
Bust-A-Move 2 a plot. In a series of weird animations before each
computer opponent, you see your character (Bub or Bob, I’m not sure)
interact with your opponents. At one point, you get the final boss message
from Darius Gaiden, another Taito game. They don’t even pretend
that these animations are supposed to make any sense at all.
Another new addition in Bust-A-Move 2 is the edit mode. You can
design your own levels for the single player game. This makes the
playability of the game endless. Even after you pass all the levels on
Hard and the secret hardest level, you can make more.
Bust-A-Move 2 is one of the best puzzle games out there. Addictive
and fun, you’ll get countless hours of entertainment from this title. A
must buy for any Saturn owner who loved either Tetris or