Inside Pulse 12

THE TRIBUNAL: Bubble Bobble: Old And New (Game Boy Advance)

*The crowd gathers into the fabled Inside Pulse Tribunal Stadium*

Attention! Attention! All will come to order!

*The crowd refuses to quiet down.*

For crying out LOUD! Haven’t we been OVER THIS?!?!?

*Gigantic bubbles come out of the floor, causing the crowd to become silent.

For the love of…(ahem)… we meet in the fabled Tribunal hall today to pass judgment on a revamped version of a classic title. Bubble Bobble: Old And New, please rise and step forward.

*The game does so. (Imagination is a wondrous thing. USE IT.)

Bubble Bobble: Old And New, the Tribunal has brought you forward today for one purpose: to prove yourself to our judges, and to the world. Within your simple plastic shell, you contain two versions of a highly addicting classic arcade game. First is the original, which remains unchanged. The second is a remake, with new graphics and music. However, we’ve seen remakes of this kind before. Some are hits (Pac-Man Arrangement), and some are misses (River City Ransom EX). Whether you yourself, in fact, are a “hit” or “miss” will be determined shortly.

Your judges today are Alex Lucard, A.J. Angeloni, and Liquidcross. They’ve been blowing bubbles all day in anticipation to look you over. Whether this is good or bad, I cannot say. But still…

LET THE JUDGEMENT COMMENCE

JUDGE #1: Alex Lucard

Bubble Bobble is one of those games everyone likes. That everyone finds fun. If you generally dislike video games, you still like Bubble Bobble. It’s an easy game to learn, but super hard to defeat the entire 100 levels. Bub and Bob are adorable classic characters and have gone on into games like Puzzle Bobble and Super Bust a Move. It’s just amazing. It transcends genres. It transcends tastes. It is one of those very rare games that a person can’t help but enjoy. Where you find yourself humming the music again and again even days after playing it. Where the main characters become instantly recognizable to people. Where all you do is have to say the title out loud to longtime gamers and they will burst out with a grin. It’s one of those games you really can’t complain about.

Whether you are 5 or 89, Bubble Bobble will reach out and suck you in. It is one of those games that are so rare nowadays. You know, games that can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter their age or genre preference. Games like Bubble Bobble were so plentiful in the 8 bit and 16 bit age. Now? Games for kids are so insulting and condescending it makes me shake my head in sadness. If we had been given games featuring Olson Twins or Barbie or Barney or all the other crap out there, gaming would have died a grisly death. So why keep offering that kind of pablum to the generation that will soon be making all the purchasing decision? Thank god games like Bubble Bobble are now readily available and enjoyable for younger gamers. And also for older gamers like myself who long for when games were this good.

THE SCORE: 9/10

JUDGE #2: A.J. Angeloni

Let me take you back to a time I remember fondly. Long ago, before games became all flash and no substance, there was an era that gave us actual content that made you drool for more as soon as you were done with it. Some say this era was just a simpler time, but I say this era was a true golden age for gaming. And one of the marquee reasons why I remember that era so fondly is because of Bubble Bobble. It’s funny, because until Lucard reviewed Bubble Bobble – Old and New I have nearly forgotten all about it…and then I went out, purchased it for the GBA, and found all all over again why this game never failed to amaze me back then. Bubble Bobble – Old and New is, simply stated, a game you must get. Giving the gamer the opportunity to play either the original or the graphically updated version is especially what sold me on this game. I mean come on…classic Bubble Bobble in the palm of my hand? How could anyone even think of passing that up.

What really made me love this new version; however, was that everything was just the way I remembered it. The sound, the gameplay, right down to the frustration you’ll experience as you progress through the levels. It was all the Bubble Bobble goodness of my childhood brought back to me, and for any retrogamer that feeling is certainly one we try to get as often as possible. With all those levels of play, and the pure fun factor to go with them, it’s hard for a game like Bubble Bobble to miss the mark. And to top it all off, it’s only 20 dollars! I mean let’s compare. The Classic NES titles are 20 bucks, but those are just pure ports of the originals. Here you have the original, as well as a new updated version, and the ability to hook up your GBA’s and enjoy some multi-player goodness. This is a deal that simply can not be missed. Go out now people, buy it, and enjoy it. Bubble Bobble Old and New is just one more reason that this year is the GBA’s year for gaming supremacy. Any gamer who has a GBA needs this title. Excuses will not be allowed.

THE SCORE: 8.5/10

JUDGE #3: Liquidcross

Since when does an angry guy absolutely adore a game as sugary and sickeningly sweet as Bubble Bobble? Since I first saw it in a crappy mini-golf arcade many many years ago. At first, I thought it looked silly. Five bucks’ worth of quarters later, I still couldn’t stop playing. Then it got ported to the NES, which made my damn day. I didn’t have an NES of my own at that point (long story), but that didn’t stop me from pestering my peers to at least rent Bubble Bobble so we could indulge in team-up action to rid the world of monsters. As consoles came an went, Bubble Bobble remained a constant guilty pleasure for both myself and many friends I made over the years. Some people thought Bubble Bobble was “stupid,” due to the cute characters and whimsical gameplay. But then again, these are the same people that likely voted for Bush.

A few years back, I heard that Bubble Bobble was getting reissued in Japan as Bubble Bobble Old & New. Naturally, no US release date was set, and I was pretty pissed off. Then out of the blue in fall of 2004, it ends up on US shelves! I had no choice but to run out and grab it. Groceries would just have to wait. The entire arcade game’s in that little cart, along with an updated version with new graphics and a flawless remix of the Bubble Bobble theme music that’s gotten stuck in my head all over again. There’s no more annoying passwords, either; you can pay tribute to the Gods of Battery Save for that. And there’s multiplayer support! C’mon, Bubble Bobble’s great to play on your own, but having a friend join you is where it really shines. Nothing’s better than delving deeper into the Cave on Monsters while shouting at your buddy because he missed bubbling an enemy that would later kill you. Granted, the single-pack multiplayer mode is severely limited (“old” mode only, and only the first ten levels), but that’s a drop in the bucket. Priced at $20, there’s no excuse why anyone and everyone shouldn’t pick this game up. If you don’t have a GBA, well, here’s a damn good reason to get one!

THE SCORE: 10/10

The Tribunal has spoken! And now, to the final judgment…

SCORE #1: 9.0
SCORE #2: 8.5
SCORE #3: 10.0

FINAL JUDGEMENT: 9.17

It is the decision of this Tribunal that Bubble Bobble: Old And New is, quite possibly, one of the finest adaptations of a classic video game to the GBA that has been done. Perhaps we are all partial to the gameplay of yesterday, or perhaps we are just drawn to your cute little dinosaur mascots. But the fact remains that a simple game can beget the same amount of joy that a super-complex one can. Perhaps even more so. So you may leave the hallowed halls, oh classic re-release, and entertain a brand new generation of gamers in the process.

THIS SESSION HAS NOW BEEN ADJOURNED

We now dismiss all the attendees to this gathering. But we shall require your presence again, once The Tribunal deems another to prove itself…