Bubble Bobble

by Andrew R. Threlfall, Mike Follin, Tim Follin
Firebird Software Ltd
Crash Issue 45, Oct 1987   page(s) 132,133

Producer: Firebird
Retail Price: £7.95
Author: Software Creations

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...


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

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%]

Presentation: 86%
Graphics: 87%
Playability: 91%
Addictive Qualities: 89%
Overall: 90%

Summary: General Rating: The most playable arcade conversion this year.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 92, Sep 1991   page(s) 60

The Hit Squad

One of my all-time favourite coin-op conversions reappears on the Speccy! There can't be many people who don't know the plot for Bubble Bobble, but if you've been down a pothole or on the moon for the last few years, here's a quick explanation...

Bub and Bob are two cute little dinosaurs who've been trapped by the evil Baron Von Blubba. The task ahead of them is, in theory, a simple one: blow bubbles to trap the various attacking creatures then pop them. When all the opponents have been vanquished, collect the fruit, candy and other assorted goodies for extra points then fly off to the next of the hundred screens.

In addition, there are bonus help thingies. For example, bursting a water-filled bubble sends a stream gushing over the platforms, washing away any creatures it picks up in its flow.

It's been a few years since I've played Bubble Bobble but it's still as addictive today, if a little slow. The first 50 or so screens are fairly easy to complete if you have a mate to help but the last few are real swines, the final battle with the Baron is a particular example.

In short, Bubble Bobble is one of the most playable platform games around!

Presentation: 78%
Graphics: 74%
Sound: 61%
Playability: 90%
Addictivity: 90%
Overall: 88%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 69, Sep 1991   page(s) 56


Old games never die. They just sit around for years doing nothing, then come back in a smaller box. JON PILLAR inspects...

The Hit Squad
Reviewer: Jon Pillar

Cute games, eh? What can you say about them, apart from "Aawww!" (or possibly "Bleugh"). To be fair though, the simpering niceness of the cuties has often hidden a darn playable game - and as if to prove the point, here comes the grandaddy of them all.

As Bob or Bub (or both if there's a pal handy) you're out to bash up the slightly evil Baron von Blubba. Your sweet little dinosaurs (aawww!) have to blow bubbles at the nasties, then boot them around the screen until they pop and disgorge score-boosting goodies.

Sprinkled around this (very) basic concept are power-ups, oodles of hidden bonuses and a stonking 100 levels of play. All this adds up to a tasty barg, but (strangely enough) it doesn't work very well in one-player mode.

The desire to get to the next level is still there, but to be brutally honest, it gets rather samey. With two players though, it's a completely different game (even though it's still exactly the same, if you see what I mean). The interplay between Bub and Bob is a delight, ranging from planned co-operation to open warfare. Luckily, with extra lives and a continue option, there's plenty of time to make up!

The small but detailed monochrome graphics make the action easy on the eyes, and in the best tradition of cute games there are a whole load of surpnses to discover. Yup, if you haven't guessed by now. this is Megagame material. On your own you'll find it playable enough - team up with another Spec-chum and it's a riot!

Overall: 90%

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 78, Jun 1992   page(s) 54


Summertime, summertime, summer, summer, summertime! Hurrah - summer is here! And what better way to celebrate the advent of sunny, carefree days than by locking yourself in your bedroom and playing a load of Speccy games? With the seemingly unstoppable spread of budget software, we here at YS thought it would be quite a wheeze to sort out the brass from the dross. So take your seats and upset your neighbour's popcorn as JON PILLAR whisks you with shameless bias through a roundup of the best £3.99ers around.


2. Bubble Bobble
Hit Squad/Issue 69
Reviewer: Jon Pillar

Playability overload in this classic arcade conversion. The two-player game of all captures the feel of the original perfectly. With 100 single-screen levels the game harkens back to the straight playability of the ol' days. Nearly unbeatable.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 68, Nov 1987   page(s) 50,51

Label: Firebird
Author: Software Creations
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tamara Howard

Pah! we said. Bah humbug!! we said. We won't like it!!!

Thus we prepared for Bubble Bobble - self styled 'cute' game of the year. We wuz ready to spit all over Bubble Bobble until it was quite soggy.

So I was most put out to discover that the wretched thing is, as Firebird has been telling us for simply ages, incredibly addictive.

Not that it's any excuse for the nauseating cuteness of the whole thing. I mean, the idea of playing a bubble-blowing brontosaurus is enough to make you lose your beef an' onion Crispy Pancakes straight off.

What makes BB so addictive and, if we're going to be perfectly honest here chaps, so damned good, is its simplicity. All you gotta do is blow bubbles, burst 'em and eat food. What could be simpler? What could be more dull? But it ain't dull. It's dead good y'see.

It's a bit like Pac Man! You play the bottom-waggling bronto of uncertain sex, and, for no apparent reason (I like these games with no plots, don't you?) it's up to you to clear innumerable screeens of enemies. Once you've cleared one level, up pops the next, right on number 80!!

Each screen has little ledges to jump on. You can jump up through the ledges, and land in the middle, but you've got to jump off the end. So as the screens get more complex, with little boxed in bits, moving round the place gets harder. And there are more enemies to bump off and time starts to run out. There's a lot of frantic bubble blowing going on.

Because bubbles are what it's all about. What you have to do is trap each enemy in a bubble, head butt said bubble, and watch the now deceased creature fly about all over the screen like a rapidly deflating balloon. When he lands, he'll turn into a choice piece of grub, such as a cake or burger with dill pickle. Eat the grub and watch the points mount up.

And that's more or less it. There are a few finer things in the game, such as varying villains, bonus points and gigantic apples wot drop on yer 'ead.

Villains come cleverly disguised as clockwork skull efforts, sort of evil looking birds, and a fishy thing which I gather is the ring leader of the lot. You get a bonus screen of purple onions every now and then, too, and land a gemstone, or the aforementioned giant apple, and your score will take a gentle upward tilt.

Oh, and should you see a bubble with water in it, burst it, and you'll be caught in a fast-flowing ride across the screen. Sort of brontosaurus in a boat job really. Might take you to where you want to go, then again, might not.

Coupled with this there's a cute (quelle a surprise) soundtrack that you'll enjoy for about two minutes, and then turn off in exasperation. Very clever it is, but also incredibly infuriating.

There's not much more to say about Bubble Bobble, except that I still dislike the idea of it, but I do still need to get to level 10 next time around.

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Overall: 8/10

Summary: Nauseatingly cute conversion that is nonetheless horibly addictive. Definitely has love-hate potential.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 118, Sep 1991   page(s) 85

Hit Squad
Spectrum £3.99

Bub and Bob have had their girlfriends kidnapped by Baron von Blubba and he's turned the two chums into bubble-blowing dinosaurs! To get out of their predicament, B+B must negotiate the hundred levels of von Blubba's kingdom, blowing bubbles and bursting beasties, all the time racking up the points and collecting bonuses. Bubble Bobble ranks as one of the best Spectrum coin-op conversions of all time, boasting pleasant graphics and extremely addictive gameplay. If you have so much as an ounce of sense in your body you'll rush out and buy this now!

Overall: 92%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 3, Feb 1988   page(s) 62,63

Atari ST £19.95
Spectrum £7.95 Cassette


REVIEWED on the Commodore 64 in THE GAMES MACHINE Issue One to the tune of 93%, Software Creations continue their conversions of the hit arcade coin-op with the release of the ST and Spectrum games. Bubble Bobble is one of those games which uses basic graphics and a simplistic idea, but yet contains an unsurpassable amount of addictiveness mixed with immense playability.

Bub and Bob, two bubble-blowing brontosaurs, bounce around platforms through 100 screens, trapping nasty cave dwellers inside bubbles which they burst to kill them, whilst collecting fruit and special objects in a quest to rescue their brontosauri girlfriends. Packed to the brim with entertainment, Bubble Bobble is a classic just-one-more-go game with its irresistible appeal and extremely cute characters.

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Overall: 88%

Summary: Firebird could hardly fail - Bubble Bobble is probably one of the easiest coin-ops to convert to the Spectrum with its definite platform shapes and restricted use of colour, and is ideally suited to the machine's capabilities. The limited colour scheme does make some screens look rather dull, but the majority are pleasing to the eye and professionally put together, keeping attribute clash to a minimum. Bub and Bob and the cave creatures have lost very little of their detail in the transition, and the overall effect works very well indeed. On the 128 the arcade tune plays continuously, suiting the game perfectly. One of the better coin-op conversions for the Spectrum.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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