Bubble Bobble (NES)

Bubble Bobble Box Art

Bubble Bobble

System: NES

Release Date: November 1988

Developer: Taito

Publisher: Taito

Genre: Platformer

Back to back important games in my childhood with Bubble Bobble today. You take the role of Bub and Bob as they traverse one hundred plus levels to save their girlfriends. On each level, enemies spawn and you must encase them in bubbles and then pop them to move forward. This turns them into delicious food that you can then run over to grab for points.

Bub and Bob jump with the A Button and shoot bubbles with the B Button. You can also jump on bubbles if you hold the A Button and have good timing. Pretty much every stage will spawn some sort of item. Some of these are only good for points, while others are powerups. Candy gives you upgraded shooting speed and distance. Shoes give you speed to the point of being unwieldy. Umbrellas warp you several stages ahead. Other items give you some very powerful powerups.

If you don’t pop your enemies quickly enough, their bubble will turn red and they’ll escape, jumping into angry mode, where they move at least twice as quickly. This can make it difficult to defeat them, as many enemies find themselves in very tight corridors. If you don’t defeat all the enemies on stage quickly enough, Baron von Blubba spawns and comes for you in an attempt to kill you. Popping all baddies on screen causes him to disappear.

On stage 99, a crystal ball appears. You need to collect this and go through a door in order to advance to the second set of 100+ levels. Then make sure you’re playing a two player game, or you’ll reach the bad ending after beating the final boss. Unfortunately for me, I was playing alone so was forced to suffer through the Bad Ending.

Graphics: 2.0

The graphics are nothing special and the flickering is pretty awful in most levels.

Sound: 2.5

You don’t get a whole lot of tunes, but the main theme is catchy and you’re alerted to Baron von Blubba with a change in the song.

Gameplay: 3.0

This is another one of those easy to learn, difficult to master games. Learning to hop on bubbles is imperative to victory.

Difficulty: 3.5

It’s going to take some perseverance to beat Bubble Bobble, but at least you get both continues and a password system, so it doesn’t have to be all at once.

Fun Factor: 3.5

I find Bubble Bobble to be a great time. I just wish I had someone to play it through with.

Overall Grade: 2.9

Bubble Bobble earns a B. It’s a solid and fun game better played with a friend. Otherwise, you’ll never get the good ending.

Bubble Bobble Video Review on YouTube