Written: 12.7.12 Acquired: 6.24.06 Status: Cart only Price: $8.49
I love puzzle games. The good ones are fun, colorful, competitive and addicting. I love how puzzle games can be enjoyed by even non game fans. There's something 'bout the genre that's really satisfying. So it's a bit shocking it took nearly 60 SNES reviews and six years since this fansite launched before I would highlight one. And it's hard to think of one as deserving as Bust-A-Move is, and below I shall share reasons why this is so ^_^ Such a terrible box cover for such a terribly awesome puzzler
LET'S START FROM THE BEGINNING...
Bust-A-Move originally came out in the arcades way back in 1994, nearly 20 years ago. By the way, isn't it insane how so many of our favorite video games from the early-mid 1990s are now reaching, or soon to hit, that magical 20 year mark? Insanity. I'm getting way too old, but not too old for this shit *wink* I actually didn't have any memories of it until 'round '96. It all started with my cousin Vivian (highlighted in The Wonder Years). Growing up, she was the older sister I never had but always wanted. In late '96 she embarked on a crazed hunt to find a copy for her PlayStation console. I vividly recall watching Vivian walk a groove in her living room one late Fall afternoon as she called up one local gaming store after another. For whatever reasons, no store carried this game, and at the time we hadn't yet been fully exposed to the power of the internet. She was never a REAL big gamer, but Bust-A-Move2 was her absolute favorite in the arcades. Somehow, it's a memory that has stuck with me. She was as obsessed about it as I was with any of my personal favorites. It also marks the last game I remember her giving a damn about
She eventually later found a second hand copy that same year, and I recall all the crazy bubble bursting competitive fun we had that winter. Perhaps the last epic Christmas at her old house before they finally moved in 1997. Bust-A-Move 2 was such an excellent game, with its simple bright colorful graphics and its mighty addicting bubble busting antics. It was the last time I remember gaming with Vivian, her bro Vince and my bro Kevin. Good times they were. GOOD TIMES Winter '96 was the last great family Christmas spent at Viv's place
My next memory of the BAM franchise came January 2001...
At my buddy's house to study for a HUGE physics exam, I saw a Saturn lying on the ground. I nearly fell over. Remember, the PlayStation was all the rage back then, and by 2001 the Saturn was a long, LONG afterthought
"Hey -- you're the first person I know who has one too," I said, pointing to his Saturn
"Oh yeah? I haven't touched that thing in years"
What's this? I noticed Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Bust-A-Move 2 beside the system, both games lookin' pretty in their big bulky US cases... seeing all that triggered something deep inside of me that I thought was long dead. Suddenly, I felt very excited about games again... beyond just the two JP fighting games I had at that point
"I still play my Saturn, though it's been a while too." It was true. It had been months since I played WHP or FHD. Love them though I may, two years is a long time to play JUST two games
"If you want some of the games, go ahead. Take some. It's cool"
I nearly fell over. "I can't do that, man. Naw, I just can't"
"No, go for it. Really. I don't play them anymore. Plus I never even bought any of them to begin with"
"I can't, really, but thanks..."
"... I'll just take these two," I said quickly as the moment overtook me. I lured Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Bust-A-Move 2 out of the pile. I remember seeing BUG! but not giving a damn whatsoever about it. I just wanted some Street Fighter and BAM 2 action!
The rest of the study session I found it difficult to focus on atoms or Murphy's Law, and who could blame me. The moment of truth arrived when I came home and fired the games up, one by one. I cheered for every successful Dragon Punch, and I cringed for every "NOO! I AIMED THE FREAKIN' BUBBLE OVER THERE, NOT THERE!" moment
Street Fighter Alpha 2 in particular blew me away. It played so smoothly and had just the right amount of style and substance. Playing Bust-A-Move 2 was like being back at an arcade hall, plopping a quarter into a simple but delightful puzzler to tide me over until the lines for the latest fighters died down a bit... ahh, good times they were
It was an unbelievable arcade-like experience I had that fine evening. It made me think about what other gems this system has to offer....
As they say, the rest is history. I never looked back. Never looked back...
"ONE OF US HAS TO DIE!! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
How I acquired SNES Bust-A-Move: Love flipping back through my game logs. I totally forgot about the story of how I acquired BAM. I sniped it off eBay with 3 seconds to go on an early Saturday morning... 1:30 AM to be precise. The seller was local but didn't want to do a local pick-up. Therefore, he docked $2 off his $4 S&H fee, and I ended up paying $8.49 total. BAM was one of the last SNES wants crossed off my massive 400+ game list when I got back into all things Super Nintendo. It was a tricky one to find for under $10 shipped but some patience and luck will do the trick most of the time. Coincidentally, I wrote this note under the BAM win:
"Friday night (the night before the snipe), I spent it at Vivian's place celebrating my nephew's 1 month bash (of Vivian's sister, Trisha). Jen and Dan (from the Playback trilogy) had invited me for a random impromptu Monopoly outing, but I told them I had my nephew's thing instead. This allowed me to snipe BAM as I would have likely gone past 1:30 AM had I chosen to hang out with Jen and Dan instead..."
I love looking back on stories like this. So grateful I was mindful enough to start the log in 2006! :) And damn isn't it funny that after all these years, somehow, someway, Viv's connected to BAM :)
HOW TO PLAY
The beauty of Bust-A-Move lies in how simple it is; even non gamers can enjoy
Link together 3 or more like-colored bubbles for success
Most deadly of all is the collapsing connection. SWEET!
Classic Bub and Bob from the Bubble Bobble franchise star in their very own puzzle game, Puzzle Bobble (as it is known in Japan. "Bust-A-Move" over here in America)
Well not really but HEY -- maybe it should!
MODES OF PLAY
There are four different modes of play. The first one is the single player quest. Here you are given 100 levels of set bubbles. It's your job to burst them all before the ceiling comes crashing down on ya. In this mode there are three special kind of bubbles, in addition to the eight normal different colored bubbles. Bubble Bobble fans will find these special bubbles familiar...
The Flame Bubble causes a great explosion... taking out any unlucky bubble caught in its wake. Can you say "KA-BOOM?"
The Thunder Bubble shoots thunder horizontally from where it lands and breaks out the bubbles in its path
Finally, the Water Bubble turns bubbles around it into the same color. Can be real nifty
This mode offers 100 levels of mayhem. When you lose all of your seven continues, a password is given. How nice of Taito. It's always fun to see what the next stage might bring. Some of the designs were very creative. Take this octopus scene for example. It's a lot of fun to play; I find myself coming back for more and more
Hmmm, suddenly... I'm in the mood to play a SHMUP... weird...
How far can you go before losing all your continues? It starts out as a laughter but quickly becomes a house of horrors. I love the password feature since it allows me to come back to it at my convenience
I always thought back in the day that it was "WHOOPSIE!!"
The next mode is the Challenge Mode. You simply play on a single screen until you bust. They keep track of the total amount of bubbles you burst. It's a simple and nice little mode for when you want to see how long you can last
I wonder if anyone's ever gotten 9,999...
Next up we have the 1P vs. CPU mode. This is perfect when you want some competition but all your mates are out
The opponents are all characters from the Bubble Bobble series
It's nice to see all the old and familiar Bubble Bobble faces
[Or Friday nights for SOME of us... *cough* STEVE *cough* -Ed.]
But of course, here's the winner of the game: the super competitive and "just one more match please" two-player mode. This can suck hours from your life. Lately my friend and I have been battling it out head to head and it's seriously addicting. She's kind of a casual gamer, but she loves Bust-A-Move. I love how BAM appeals to everyone
If you haven't played 2-player Bust-A-Move yet, you haven't lived
Yes it is. I think that makes up at least 80% of why playing against a friend is so much fun!
She hates my taunts after a victory. Ah, to be a kid again
AGONY AND TRIUMPH
Part of the agony of Bust-A-Move is the ill-placed bubble. You will try to squeeze it through, but ultimately to no avail. It's as frustrating as it gets in the puzzle genre. One misplaced bubble can change the tide of the battle. Here I just missed connecting with the four preassembled yellows
Ah, nothing fills the heart with pain quite like an ill-placed shot
On the other side of the coin, just squeezing in a bubble produces instant feelings of euphoria, especially when it leads to a massive outbreak. Can't help but pump the fist
One of the greatest sights in the game is knocking out bubbles that are clinging on. This helps keep your field clean and really does it in to the opponent. It lifts you up as it demoralizes them
But that's not the best thing. HERE'S the best thing. Just like with billiards, you can bounce your shot off the wall for some lovely ricochet shots. They can be difficult to pull off... if you mess up it just might do you in. But if you can manage to nail it, that could make all the difference in the world. Lots of "there, no there, no there!" moments
When you've decided, press fire and watch in agony or sheer joy as it changes the tide of the battle either in your favor, or against. It's amazing how nerve-wracking that split half second is as you wait to see what the outcome will be. So far, looking pretty good to me...
YES! I love the sweet smell of success early in the morning. Pulling off "trick" shots like this is extremely gratifying and grants one ample opportunity to taunt and tease their flabbergasted foe. It's all part of the Bust-A-Move magic. So simple, so brilliant
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
Bust-A-Move was well received. EGM gave it scores of9, 8, 7 and7. Super Play Magazine gave it 84% and ranked it as the 48th"best SNES game" back in their April 1996 issue. While the ad is very much a hyperbole, there's no joking here or beating around the bush what a sweet competitive game this is. Even just watching it (if you happen to be lucky enough to get a tournament of friends sorted out) is more fun than playing many other games. That says a lot! It's a bit of a shame that I never see this game being talked about too much... but I guess that's because most people would rather play one of the later BAM renditions. The original is still a winner, however, in my book. SNES owners are lucky enough to have a version represented at all. While the visuals and sound is only so-so, the game is like crack* -- it's difficult to put it down after one go. *Not that I'd know!
[Well, I know what the internet was invented for... *kekeke* -Ed.] Why of course, RVGFANATIC DOT COM! Right? ^_^ [... Um... NO. Just... no. Sigh... -Ed.] What, then? 'Splain it to me... [Bust-A-N... nevermind -Ed.]
Bust-A-Move is one of those rare games that I can pick up and play at any time. Whether I'm going at it solo for 15 minutes, or battling my buddy for 1.5 hours, it never fails to hit the right spot. Speaking of which, it's all about hitting the right spot. Some might call the gameplay more luck than skill, especially with the wall shots, but I honestly don't know what percentage is skill, and what percentage is luck. All I know is, it keeps me coming back for more, and not too many games can consistently say that throughout the years. Sure there's more luck involved here than, say, Puyo Puyo, but that's part of what makes it ever so slightly different and unique. No matter how good you get, you can always get got, by the smallest margin of error
Bust-A-Move is one of the most addicting puzzle games around!
Bust-A-Move is a game I missed out on back in the day. In fact, I knew about most SNES releases back then, but somehow, when I got back into the Super NES scene January 2006, I was shocked to find there was a SNES version available. While it isn't the best rendition of the series you could play, it's still pretty awesome, especially in the two-player mode, which is any puzzle game's bread and butter. While I enjoy the Sega Saturn sequel more, this is nice to have too in the SNES library. My friend and I have been playing BAM for a while now. We're really hooked. At first I used to beat her about 80 / 20, and then it became 75 / 25, 60 / 40, and now it's closer to 55 / 45. As long as I always have the edge *evil laugh* It's funny how often we both say "One more game!" Taito simply hit lightning in a bottle with this series -- it's just so fiercely competitive and extremely addicting. Not to mention it's easily accessible, hard to master and infinitely enjoyable. For all the "D'OH NOT THERE!" moments to the "HA! YES! IN YOUR FACE SUCKER!" bubble bursts, few games can match the intensity that Bust-A-Move provides. This is the type of game that will never age, and will always entertain us... even 50 years from now. Thank you, Taito, for making this wickedly fun franchise, and for giving SNES owners a small taste of bubble busting glory
Graphics: 6 Sound: 6 Gameplay: 9 Longevity: 9
Thanks for all the great memories, guys! Bub and Bob rock, for sure!
"SEE YOU NEXT GAME!"
Until next time REMEMBER: BUST-A-MOVE OR BUST!
Bust-A-Move just sneaks into Nintendo Power's Top 100 (Sept. '97)