Friday, October 8, 2010

Bubble Bobble

Two couples are on a double date at a bar, when an overly drunk man-maybe even Super Drunk- kidnaps the two women and turns the guys into bubble-blowing dinosaurs.  Happens all the time and is actually the main reason I try to avoid the bar.  What options do the two brave men have?  Only one:
Their adventures are documented in one of the most popular and entertaining video games for the original Nintendo Entertainment System, Bubble Bobble.  Bubble Bobble puts you and a friend in the roles of Bub and Bob who have to traverse over 100 rooms to have a chance to rescue their girlfriends.  The game is unashamedly cute, has simple but catchy music, and very addictive game play.  The game starts off extremely easy, but gets quite hard near the end.  On the other hand, I've never seen a game give you such a variety of different power-ups or ways to get an extra life, so you have a fair chance as long as you can learn how to ride on top of the bubbles.  (Hold jump and up).

Each room has a number of enemies in it who must be defeated before you can progress to the next room.  Defeating enemies is as simple as hitting them with a bubble then popping it.  You score exponentially more points for each enemy you pop at the same time.  In each room after the first one, a point item and then a power-up item will appear.  If you don't defeat the enemies quick enough, you get a "Hurry Up!" warning, which makes all the enemies turn angry-red and move faster.  If you take longer than that you encounter the evil invincible white whale.  This guy is scary, he can't be killed, and will stalk you around the level, speeding up until you kill the last normal enemy, or die to his ghostly(or is it bony) maw.
Baron Von Blubba
The levels get harder and harder until you reach the trick level, level 100.  In this level you need to quickly grab the crystal ball, then get to the door which will appear.  If you defeat all the enemies like normal, you'll get a first class ticket back to level 1.  Make sure you die if you miss the crystal or door to prevent an eruption of controller-throwing behavior.  If you manage to get out the secret door, you'll get to play through several bonus levels.

At the very end of these secret levels, Super Drunk(that's actually his name) is waiting for you, giving the game an epic boss fight at the end.  To defeat him you must climb to the top of the room, grab the Thunder Drug which causes you to blow thunder bubbles, and pop them, connecting 60 lightning bolts with Super Drunk.  Meanwhile, he tears around shooting a spread of 6 bottles and only pausing when hit by lightning.  This is a tough fight, and I was never able to bring him to justice as a child.  Since Bub and Bob are such good friends, they wouldn't think about completing the game solo, and so you get a bad ending if you manage to sober up Super Drunk by yourself.  This is very hard!

Luckily this is one of the few games that earned the Wife's Seal of Approval, and so I was able to enlist her help at defeating this foe.  Unfortunately, the high frustration factor of facing off against the drunk caused her to threaten to revoke her seal.  As she explained to me, "This game is about being cute jumping and blowing bubbles, not being killed repeatedly."  Although when she said it, the sentence had a few more colorful metaphors thrown in.  A controller may or may not have been hurled across the room.  To take him down, you need to play defensively, find his pattern, and run under him when you can.  After an hour or so of trying, persistence paid off and Bub, Bob, their anonymous girlfriends, my wife, and I all learned the most important magic in the world.

If you've played this game to death, try it on the Super Game, which is accessed by typing in the password EECFG then selecting 1 or 2 player start.  This causes different enemies to appear on the levels then normal and also gives the Super Drunk an extra 20 life he doesn't need.  It also allows you the real ending pictured above.

Final Thoughts:  I can't imagine a person who would not like this game.  If you haven't played it you really owe it to yourself to give it a try.  It must be mentioned that this is a fantastic 2 player game, and is accessible to non gamers as well.  Something about wading through endless purple whales, space invaders, angry springs, while happy music endlessly plays in the background draws people in.  For a twenty year old game there is a lot to it with hidden levels, multiple endings, and multiple game modes.  Bubble Bobble can be found on many different platforms, including the virtual console on the Nintendo Wii.  Worth every cent of the $5 it now costs!

1 comment:

  1. I love it! But I HATE Super Drunk. He makes me ANGRY!!!!!!!!!!