Retro Rewind: Bubble Bobble

An undisputed classic. One of THE co-op games of the past millennium.

It just doesn’t come simpler does it?

A green dinosaur. A blue dinosaur. Descending 100 levels deep into a bizarre dungeon. Rescuing their human girlfriends. Simples.

I don’t think an invention can be created to accurately find out just how many times I’ve I’ve gone to war with this 8-bit legend. Every playthrough is a new journey and a new experience. But what do you do to beat it?

Just envelop a monsta in a bubble, then pop it!

A simplistic concept no doubt, but the road to achieving it is the fun part. The game features one of the early instances of RnG gameplay as each level can generate all manor of items to enhance your dino-capabilities.

An umbrella that can metaphorically get a jump rope out and skip you ahead a few rounds, a bottle that instantly removes all enemies in the level and shifts the round into one of the bonus variety; heck, even a water crucifix that floods the level and eradicates all enemy scum. There’s endless variety within each playthrough, and it’s one of the things that makes the game so enticing and endlessly replayable.


See that brolly? Get it at all costs. The pepper? Not so much.

The game also boasts the most inconceivably easy controls too, a staple of retro games. One button to jump and one button to fire a bubble. That’s it. Your performance is then largely based on skill, something that I feel is lost in some modern day games. Anyone can literally pick this up and play it, but it takes guile and skill to pick it up…quickly.

Each level seemingly represents a theme with regards to its layout and presentation of its enemies etc. Some are in the shape of enemies, and some are shaped like words, perhaps messages left by the girlfriends? Just a bit of lore lurking for you.

Naturally, the further you progress into the chaos, the further your skillset is tested.

Basic enemies such as Bonzo (see below) can only jump up and he has no attacks, but get crowded by enough of them, and you are sure to surrender a life to the dungeon. If you do get to the later levels, then you’ll get ‘Drunk’ launching his empty alcohol bottles at you, rebounding until they either hit you or return back to their inebriated master.


The game presents a natural learning curve and never truly feels unfair.

But enough of that, it’s time for the best part. The effing music.

It constantly loops the same sub-minute tune for seemingly an eternity, but if this was the soundtrack to eternity, then sign me up. It’s the most insanely, catchy jingle of any game I’ve ever played. Almost iconic.

But it’s not just the main theme that mesmerises the ears, it’s everything else too. The secret room music, final boss music and even the intense ‘hurry up!’ version of the main music. The sound effects of the bubbles, the noise it makes when you get hit and lose a life; these are all the subtle nuances that add to the ever-lasting stream of charm that this game oozes.

I know what you’re thinking, yes…there is a one-hour loop of this music and yes…I have listened to it in its entirety.

Oh, and if the challenge of trying to topple the hundred-round mountain wasn’t hard enough; the road to the secret rooms lie beyond the summit, or below the depths in this case.

If you can get to round 20 without losing a single life, then a door appears to a secret room. Congratulations, few people see that room, I myself have only seen it a few select times. Done that? Well we better up the ante then, get to round 30 without suffering damage? Then you will gain access to hidden room number two.

I think I’ve reached it once in my entire life…

Wait, what? You want an even greater challenge you sadistic maniac!?!? Reach round 40 then without dying. I dare you.


Secret Room number one. Pretty isn’t it? This is all I’ll give you, if you want to see more, then you’d better get good at the game my friend.

This game offers so much content, so many hours of fun and is guaranteed a good time with a friend.

I guess the only question…is who gets to be Bub?


– Andy.H. –

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