From the excellent maestros at TAITO comes this charming and colorful little adventure platformer. Released in Arcades in 1990, then ported to TG-16 in 1992 and finally the Saturn in late October 1998, Mizubaku has players traversing all matter of worlds through the form of a platypus named Hipopo. Your weapon is a water bubble (known as a Mizubaku, hence the title) that you toss at enemies. For smaller foes it'll freeze them where you can thereby launch 'em across the screen taking out all in its path (a la the shells in Mario games)
For bigger enemies the water doesn't freeze them but rather damages them. So keep throwing the bubbles at them until they die. The cool thing about the water is that it also makes a trail of water if it doesn't immediately hit an enemy. Therefore, if you're on one plane and the enemy one below, you can still freeze and/or hurt them. Good stuff
Control is very basic. A is bubble, B is jump. Look before you leap! Once in air you have minimal control of going left or right and jumping on enemy heads will kill you. Hipopo is a one-hit wonder
Hold down A to make a bigger bubble that is stronger and leaves a much bigger water trail
There are 7 worlds in all with each consisting of 2-3 zones before you face an end boss. All the worlds have their own theme and enemies appropriate to that theme. All bosses are pretty huge creatures which take up about 1/4 to 1/3 of the screen and have a long yellow energy bar at the top. The 7 worlds are:
1. Woodland Forest
An easy world to aclimate gamers into the game. Boss is a huge floating fire-breathing mechanical rabbit
No not the Kevin Costner film that bombed in the mid 90's but rather a lovely world where you guide Hipopo across and through water-y levels fighting green plant monsters, squids and other forms of beasties. There's a cool golden cup where you use your bubbles to break the handles one by one before the cup comes crashing down revealing goodies (bonus points in the form of food)... nice sound effects and a nice touch overall. Boss is a giant and peculiar see-through monstrosity that chucks out yellow poison bits. I refer to him as the Popcorn Man
3. Gearworks Factory
A cool world featuring zany enemies and introduces us to the Knights. Knights take several hits to die and have a killer (literally) stretch attack with their javelin-like weapon
It also introduces us to arguably the game's biggest headache regular enemy -- a nasty blue meanie that takes about 20 bubble hits and swings a long chain spike ball. Better load up! Lots of classic platform touches are found in this world. Falling platforms, timed jumps, etc. Boss is a mechanical flame-torching, foot-soldier laying machine of destruction
Scampering shrimps, ghouls, mummies, giant rock throwing stone men, and little sand worms are but some of the baddies you'll face in this yellow-colored world. The boss is a giant Camel-Rider... once defeated he loses the camel and duels with you! 2 for the price of 1, but he is much weaker than his hump-back companion -- watch your bubbles rapidly drain his health!
5. Wood Tree
As you ascend to the top of a giant tree, you face some enemies from level 1 and some new ones like the fire breathing green dragons. The boss is a weird gorilla-like creature who climbs up limbs throwing rocks your way -- his arms are made of fire and that's his main weak point
6. Cloud Land
Filled with dangerous fires and lightning, trek your way to the end to meet up with Giant Clown Face and his three joker henchmen
Spanning 4 zones or so the end boss I'll leave for you to find out.....
MA is good ole fashioned platforming fun. The pastel-colored worlds, the tricky little enemies, the goal to get the highest score possible, this is early 90's gaming at its best. After you beat each world you have a choice to take the left or right path... so the game offers multiple paths to provide further longevity. Here's a tip... after you beat Cloud Land do NOT select the left door! Just trust me, OK?
I've beaten the game once, but haven't been able to since. It's a fairly challenging game but with 99 continues and fair continue points, it's possible to beat with the right amount of know-how and perserverance. If you have controller chucking anxiety though, buckle up... some parts may have you ready to throw a fit
Unfortunately MA is one of the harder to find Saturn imports around, as well as one of the most sought after and expensive. It's not uncommon to find complete copies hitting the $90 mark or even cracking the magical triple figure barrier
Overall Mizubaku Adventure is a great game that I'd recommend, but again it is pricey and very very hard to find. Is it worth it? Only you can answer that for yourself....
But it's definitely one of the many cool oddball Saturn imports out there. Good luck!
Finally, try this cool bit: At title screen press left, right, left, right, left, right, A, B, C, A to unlock a semi-translucent bubble mode and English option. Groovy!