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Bubble Bobble Revolution Review

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Developer: Rising Star Games Publisher: Codemasters
Release Date: October 3, 2006 Also On: None

Bubble Bobble…isn’t that that colored-bubble puzzle game that was popular in the arcades? Wasn’t it also called Bust-A-Move or something like that? Everything was even more confusing when Bust-A-Groove came out for the PlayStation. Bubble Bobble, unbeknownst to me, was a Taito arcade classic from the late 1980’s. It featured Bub and Bob, the green and blue little monsters that showed up in Bubble Bobble and Bust-A-Move games, only instead of firing bubbles and making combos, they spat the bubbles at enemies and progressed through a cave full of monsters. Rising Star Games, in a recent trio of re-makes, decided to revise the classic and release it on the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.

Bubble Bobble Revolution features two styles of play, and essentially two different games. The first and far superior mode of play is Classic Bubble Bobble. It’s essentially a ROM of the arcade classic, and it lets you play through all of the levels, trapping the same enemies in bubbles using the same controls, graphics, and sound effects. Retro gaming fans will really enjoy this mode, but it’s a shame that the DS wireless multiplayer function requires two game cards for multiplayer. This game’s ROM is probably the half the file size of a stomped Goomba in New Super Mario Bros, making the two-card requirement pretty stiff.

New Age Bubble Bobble is terrible in every single way. It shames the Bubble Bobble name to the point that fans of the original shouldn’t touch it. The person in charge of designing these levels should be slapped in the face with the game case. Rather than the small, one-screen levels from Classic mode, you’ll walk around scrolling levels that are far too big with very little to do. The visuals have been “improved,” but when I say that, keep in mind that I mean they aren’t two-colored 8-bit sprites on black backgrounds with colorful platforms. The new music and sound effects are painful, to say the least–I really don’t think I’ve ever been so annoyed by sound waves. Crying babies, alarm clocks beeping, and screeching car brakes all sound more tolerable than this game does. The new gameplay functions, like jumping on bubbles, blowing charged-up bubbles, and activating a ghost that lets you pass through walls are all pointless and shouldn’t have even been implemented. Even more useless is the advertised use of the DS microphone because you never get to use it. And I encountered the same bug that other reviewers around the ‘net have found: This game promises 100 levels in New Age mode, but only offers 30, because a bug stops you in an empty area with no way to die and no boss to get killed by.

I think the last issue discussed above sums up Bubble Bobble Revolution pretty well. You can’t even finish the New Age Bubble Bobble, though there’s no reason why I’d suspect anyone would want to. The gameplay is awful. The classic style of Classic Bubble Bobble is much better, but the $30 price point for this game is unjustified, even by that. I’m absolutely clueless and wondering why Rising Star Games didn’t just revise Classic Bubble Bobble with new visuals and improved sound quality. That would have been a much better decision. Passing up any of the plentiful quality DS titles for Bubble Bobble Revolution would be a sin, so move along.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 3
Gameplay: 4
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 5
Final: 4.5
Written by Cliff Review Guide