Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Bubble Bobble'

Rating:4 User: ZX KNIGHT

At first glance the Spectrum version of Bubble Bobble looks like a truly hideous attempt that has proved well beyond the capabilities of the Speccy. Actually, it plays quite well.

Graphically, seeing Bub and Bob rendered with just a white outline is at first rather depressing but the cute flick of their tail as they bounce around does enough to convey their cheerful demeanour (Classic bubble blowing dinosaur character trait, always cheerful even when fighting to the death to rescue their girlfriend, Ed).

Despite all this the gameplay is just about present and correct and it’s high rating on World of Spectrum is testament to it’s playability. It also plays faster than the C64 version, which makes a difference to the tactics you use when you play the game.

However, if the screen fills with bubbles, as it is wont to do, there is a quite severe slow down in speed. It’s by no means insurmountable but perhaps the slower gameplay on the C64 is the price you pay for extra stability and consistency.

Whether you can get over the sound effects is another matter. It’s disturbing to think that anyone thought what comes out of the speakers was ever acceptable as sound effects but I’ll admit to finding something cute about the burps and whines that come out of the system as it attempts to provide an authentic arcade experience. Musically it holds it’s own better than many 48k tunes.

Turning to the completeness of the port, the Spectrum version of Bubble Bobble does appear to lack some features from the arcade version that made it to the other 8-bit ports.

The most noticeable for myself, based on the way I play the game, was bursting a huge collection of bubbles and discovering they don’t turn into collectable objects like fries or lollipops. Likewise killing an enemy with water or fire doesn’t leave you a high scoring diamond as a reward.

Despite the lack of a few elements within the game the central components of are all present and correct. It is a valiant attempt to port the arcade classic into 48k of memory and it obviously didn’t put me off back in the day as I spent many hours waiting for it to load and many more playing it.

Taken from my website www.zombiesatemyxbox.com