Super Bust a Move Review
Funny how next to Tetris, the Puzzle Bubble franchise is probably the oldest puzzle series in videogaming today. Hitting nearly every single successful console, from Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Playstation, and now Playstation 2. Bust a Move games have always held a special place in my heart, I remember visiting a comic book store a while ago, only to drop a hand-full of quarters just to play some Bust a Move, later I would spend a grand $70 on a Super NES version of Bust a Move, years after Taito would return with a good variety of Bust a Move games for the N64 and PSOne. Bust a Move 4 being the most memorable of all 32/64-bit Puzzle Bubble games for many reasons. First of all, the new and improved gameplay that featured power-up icons to help you complete a stage or two with style. The ability to create your own puzzle, added even more replay value. The great and unforgivably addictive puzzles, and who can forget that (somewhat cheesy) chain link system that when played in two-player mode, could obliterate an enemy, but bouncing back into the game wasn't that hard. To describe the Bust a Move franchise as a whole in a few words: "addictive and fun, with infinite replay value". Acclaim and Taito form together once again, to bring you what maybe the best BAM game to date, Super Bust a Move.
Back in the NES and SNES days, these graphics would pass as decent visuals, and although times have changed the BAM series hasn't, visually speaking of course. I know that Taito intends on these visuals to look like that, so I can't really say that the graphics in Super Bust a Move are bad, not by any means at all, if anything the word 'dated' could be used, but it still won't describe these visuals. The sprite based on-screen characters and the sprite bubbles look good for the most part, bright and vivid colors light up to decorate the scene of bubbles with little creatures inside of them. Let's face it, BAM games will always look like this, but I'm not saying it's a bad thing.
Right of the bat, the game will ask how many players will compete 1 or 2. It's a shame that Taito didn't give the game a little more work to throw together a four-player mode, that way Super BAM would have been one of the best party/puzzle titles in a long time. Choosing the one player option, you will then head into the main area of the game, so choose if you want to play a little training session 'beginner', which lasts for five games, a Normal game which plays through branches ranging from A-Z, using Super BAM gameplay, or a Classic, which also plays through branches, but puzzle pieces and gameplay feels more original. We all know that the way the game works is by getting three or more same colored bubbles to touch, with a few a new additions in Super BAM, playing the game is even more fun. Selecting the 'Normal' mode will set you off a on a path, the stages will include obstacles such as plates that bubbles will bounce off from, circling chain that moves around the outlining of the puzzle board, it has the same affect as the plates, a giant bubble that when touched by a regular small bubble that is, say, green, it will turn every single other piece green as well. This new PS2 BAM game, doesn't only have a few new additions, but the gameplay in general is a total blast from start, well there really is no finish. Puzzle addicts will enjoy Super Bust a Move, and that is a fact.
The tunes in Super BAM are high-pitched, cheery, but aren't exactly varied. While they sound good and are a joy to listen to, there are just aren't enough of them to go around, so you will eventually find the songs repeating themselves. The sound effects such as bubble bursting noises, or the bubble being shot, sound good, but are identical to the ones found in the older BAM games. Not much to say in the sound, could have been more varied, but the tunes are still enjoyable.
Not much to say about the controls either, all you do is move the cursor back and forth, aim and shoot the bubble. I'll just skip to the conclusion. In the end Super Bust a Move is not only one of the best BAM games to date, it is also one of the most enjoyable puzzle titles since Devil Dice and Ballistic for PSOne. While its technical presentation is dated, the gameplay seems like it will never go away. With over 1,000 puzzles for you to explore through, Super Bust a Move is worthy game of purchase, puzzle fans rejoice!
2/4/2001 Arnold Katayev