Bust-A-Move 2: Arcade Edition

Take a mass of bubbles, add a gun and whisk in cuddly characters for a tasty puzzle pie!

Following a six month hiatus from bubble-blowing duty, Bub and Bob, the doe-eyed cuddly dragons of Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands fame, have returned to save Bubble Land again. This is the N64's second incursion into the psychedelic realms of Bubble World, and blow me, it leaves the last one rather deflated by comparison.

We couldn't help but rave about the virtues of the last game, and rightly so; it was poptastic, addictive gaming at its best. Bust-A-Move 3DX, it could be argued, is essentially more of the same, but on the PlayStation, number four in the series is proving that the evergreen puzzle-fest is as popular now as it ever was. In other words, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

That's not to say improvements have been neglected. It's an ongoing tradition with puzzlers to keep the same delicious ingredients that made the original a classic and subtly, almost seamlessly, add new and improved features. This is precisely what Acclaim has achieved with BAM 3DX.

Poppers

Unless you've had your head buried in the sand for the last few years, or suffer from chronic amnesia, you'll have heard of the BAM series. For the benefit of those five people who haven't, it's a diabolically simple concept. Fire your bubble gun at the stack of multicoloured bubbles before they drop off the 'deadline' at the bottom. And that's it!

There are a few conditions of course, the most important one of which is that you need to connect three or more bubbles of the same colour in order to burst them. This is hardly pushing the N64 to its limits, but just try putting the controller down after you've had a few goes. It's fiendishly addictive - so much so that any semblance of a social life will be left battered and bruised in no time. With six modes of play, BAM 3DX keeps a vice-like grip on your attention. Arcade mode is an exact translation of the BAM3 arcade machine and consists of Puzzle mode, where you're offered a choice of routes for every five rounds, Player versus Computer and Player versus Player. The latter is the most fun -players must eliminate as many bubbles as possible or drop them into their opponent's playfield. The trick is to try and pop a cluster of bubbles high up on the stack, because any others that are tenuously attached below will drop too.

Вubblе-icious

It's the inclusion of the all-singing multiplayer mode which catapults BAM 3DX into bubble heaven. It's painful on the eyes though - we felt more like physics students watching little coloured atoms floating around than games journos. Grasping a well-worn cliche firmly by the danglies, it's easy to play but hard to master. BAM 3DX just demands to be replayed and the fruits of your labour appear almost subliminally. For instance, angling shots off walls makes a hell of a difference, as does checking which bubble comes next and firing rapidly. The final two modes, Collection and Edit, provide endless hours of entertainment too. The former provides over a thousand amateur screens devised by fans, and the latter is only limited by your imagination. Other than to people who are colour blind, we simply can't recommend Bust-A-Move 3DX high enough. It's a puzzle fan's dreams made real and great value at just 40 nicker - it's bubblier than Barbara Windsor!

2nd rating opinion

If you like nerve-wracking puzzle games and you don't have Bust-A-Move 2, get this. If you do have BAM 2, don't get this - it's the same game! There are some new bits, but the gameplay is identical. Luckily, that means it's enormously addictive!

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Bust-A-Move 2: Arcade Edition Downloads

Nintendo 64 Bust-A-Move 2: Arcade Edition download

We were first introduced to cute dragons Bub and Bob in the arcade classic Bubble Bobble. Now, following a long and varied career in a number of games on other formats, they've finally made it onto the N64 as the stars of the wildly addictive and immensely playable arcade puzzle game Bust-A-Move 2.

No doubt there will be a whole bunch of moaning minnies out there who will slate Bust-A-Move 2 for being nothing original' or for 'not making the most of the N6^'s capabilities'. You know what we at 64 Magazine say to them? We say, "who cares?" This game is more addictive than crack cocaine, and a damn sight cheaper too!

Of course, on the subject of cheapness, it's worth pointing out that the N64 version of Bust-A-Move 2 is practically identical to the PlayStation and Saturn versions, both of which you can pick up for a mere 20 English pounds. This means that if you've got a Saturn or a PSX as well as having an N64, then you're probably better off buying the cheaper version of the game - in fact, if you've any taste at all, then you should have it already! That is, however, the only reason not to buy Bust-A-Move 2 for the N64, and considering that the majority of N64 owners don't own another console -many of them having sold their Playstations to buy N64's in the first place - that point is fairly moot, so let us never speak of it again.

Bustin' Out

For those of you who've been living in a closet for the last five years or so, and have therefore never heard anything of the original Bust-A-Move • or its numerous sequels, the gameplay is devilishly simple.

You play a small dragon - this isn't integral to the gameplay - you could just as easily control a large lump of yak cheese, but for the sake of completeness we'll explain it anyway. The objective of the game is to burst a whole load of bubbles by firing other bubbles from a bubble launcher to make groups (as in Tetris) while encouraging your opponent to fail.

Make sense? No? Okay...

The usual style of play in Bust-A-Move 2 is a split-screen competition against a bubble throwing opponent, be they human or CPU controlled.

Each player starts with a cluster of coloured bubbles at the top of their screen, and a steady supply of the same in their launcher at the bottom. Every so often the screen will shudder, following which, one row of bubbles will be added to yours at the top of the screen, bringing your other bubbles that much closer to your launcher, to you, and to the ominously named 'deadline'. By firing bubbles of specific colours at other bubbles of the same colour you form groups. Every time you form a group of three or more, they explode, or more accurately they burst, since they're bubbles after all. If any bubbles are hanging from the group you destroy, they drop off the screen. Destroy or drop a large group and they are added to the bubbles on your opponent's screen. The trick therefore is to increase the amount of bubbles on your opponent's screen so that their bubbles hit the deadline at the bottom before yours do.

Bob A Job

Variations on this theme are the one-player puzzle and time trial modes, where you don't compete against another player and the top of the screen doesn't add bubbles, but instead drops lower on little hydraulic pistons every so often. The aim therefore is to remove all the bubbles before they reach your deadline at the bottom.

The gameplay in Bust-A-Move 2 is simple to learn, but quite difficult to master. The trick is to set up chains of large numbers of bubbles, but the risk in doing this is that your opponent may dump his bubbles on you when you're not ready. A steady hand is necessary, as is a good eye for angles, because you're able to bounce bubbles off walls at specific angles to score - and you thought that your GCSE physics would never come in handy! Bust-A-Move 2 is also novel in that the CPU player can lose the game without any help from you -and often does!

And that's about itIThere's little more that can be said about Bust-A-Move 2 because it is such a simple, albeit wonderfully thought out concept. The final comment though must be this: it may not be new, although it is new to the N64. It may also not be stretching the "vast capabilities" of the N64, but Bust-A-Move 2 is one of the best games available for the console at the moment, and is certainly the most addictive N64 game on the fig market so far!

reggie posted a review

Don't be put off by its dodgy graphics. One of the best puzzle games in the world, and certainly the finest so far on the N64.

reggie posted a review

Bust-A-Move 2: Arcade Edition brings the addicting bubble popping action to the N64. After a strong showing on the other console systems, it was only a matter of time before it was ported over to the Nintendo. There is plenty of fast and intense two-player action that will keep puzzle fans playing for hours. If you are looking or something different than the other versions, you will be disappointed because this game is exactly like all of the others released.

Gameplay

Initially, Bust-A-Move 2 sounds and looks like an average ho-hum game. You will never understand the addictiveness unless you sit down and play the game for 15 minutes. Once you give it the 15 minutes, you will understand what makes this game so damn addicting. The only other game that can be remotely compared to Bust-A-Move is Tetris. How many hours have you spent trying to line up a square piece and rotate the purple piece to fit just right? If someone explains Tetris to you, it sounds pretty boring. We all know that is not true. Bust-A-Move has the same effect.

Okay, so what is the object of the game? Simple; just match 3 bubbles of the same color and they pop. Every 15 seconds (or so) the screen moves down 1 row. Pop all of the bubbles on the screen before a bubble gets forced over the bottom line and you move on to the next level. The screen works from a top-down environment (Tetris would be a bottom-up). You just sit at the bottom of the screen with your bubble launcher and shoot bubbles up and try to attach them to the same color.

Bust-A-Move gives you four different game modes. The first mode is the puzzle game. This is a one-player game that makes you work through the alphabet to win. Each letter has a game behind it. As you work your way through the alphabet, the games get tougher to win. Make it through Z and you win.

The second game mode is the player against computer. This is a split-screen, do-or-die situation. Either you pop the bubbles on your side before they reach the bottom line or the computer does. Now, the other little twist to this mode is if you drop bubbles that are attached to the ones you pop, they get added to the opponents side. For example, if you pop three red bubbles and a blue bubble is attached and it falls with the reds, the blue bubble will get placed on the computer's side of the screen.

The third game mode is head-to-head. The rules are the same as against the computer, except we all know that head-to-head games are ALWAYS cooler. This game is no exception. This is where I spend many quality hours beating up on my girlfriend (O.K., she usually beats me).

Finally, you can play a timed game. This is a race to pop all bubbles in the quickest time. That's all. Just clear your screen in the lowest time. This can be played by either one player or two players in a head to head battle.

Graphics

This is really the only difference between the N64 and PSX game. The N64 graphics are a bit sharper and more crisp. Once again, you are not buying this game for graphics, so it does not make the game any better or worse. The game looks exactly like the arcade original.

Bottom Line

Bust-A-Move 2 is a very fun game. Yes, it is addicting, and you will find yourself uttering the popular phrase, "Just one more game, dear." The graphics are nothing special, but it is not important in this game. It is a nice change of pace from the 3D shoot 'em or body slam 'em type games that are flooding the market. If you already own this game on another system, there is really no reason to buy it again but if not and you want a game that is intense but is fairly a "no-brainer," go get this game.

reggie posted a review
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