Probably the best of “dual-player” games on 8bit computers. I remember countless hours spent playing Bubble Bobble with my friends, cousins, girlfriend even. It’s so innocent, so colorful, so fun to play.
The game is series (100?) of one screen levels. You control a small dragon, that can jump and spit out bubbles. Each level will feature some enemies, several types of them, behaving differently. You fight them by trying to “bubble them up” and then manually bursting the bubble. Later in the game, other methods were available, like napalm, flame breath or some kind of snake/rope/rollercoaster thingy I tend to call “phlegm” (can’t remember why). When killed, enemies turned into all sorts of consumable “things”, starting from delicious bananas or apples, through candybars, big cakes, ending on diamons and other precious stones. That was the thing with Bubble Bobble – you could expect these things all over the place, coming from different directions, falling on you even. Fruits, candies, stones – nom nom nom. There were also some items triggering level skip, insta-kill of enemies, bonus consumables or providing you with a letter from the word EXTEND. Once you made it all, you got some sweet sweet bonus, lot of points, and … whole thing goes again. When enemies stayed alive on the level for too long, they first get “angry”, changing color and moving faster, later, few “jaws” spawned in corners of the screen, chasing you. These could not be killed, so it was best to avoid them and finish the level quickly.
The game can get you bored when played alone, but it really shines in two player mode. The other player controls another dragon and you can execute all kinds of strategies to help each other pass the level quickly. Dragons can even support each other by sptting bubbles the other dragon can jump on to get to unreachable places. Two good players could survive for a long, long time.
I never actually finished the game. I saw different ports since then, amiga, pc, consoles, but I still like the C64 version the most. Little did I know back then, that the main goal of the game is to actually save two girlfriends of our dragons – namely: Patty and Betty. Who knew?
In some levels, a blink skull-like thingy appeared sometimes (visible in 2:30 in the video above, but the dragon did not take it), and when taken, froze all the enemies and increased the speed of dragons. The game went into some kind of “crazy chaos” mode, changing the music into this one. I loved it and always hunted for that titem, just to hear it –
More about Bubble Bobble –