Hudson Soft
1984
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£5.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

12
Chris Bourne

Bubble Buster is pretty simple to describe. You are a small man at the bottom of the screen and you can move left or right. firing missiles upwards. A large yellow bubble comes sailing in from the top left and bounces about all over the place. The object is to hit it, when it will split into two smaller bubbles. Hitting one of these will cause it to split into three tiny bubbles, and each of these hit will burst. You're dead if any bubble should hit you. Points are only scored for hitting the small bubbles and bursting them.

The first three stages have increasing numbers of bubbles. The fourth is a bonus point stage where the bubbles don't harm you and you must score as much as you can in a limited time period. After this everything repeats at a greater pace.

CRITICISM

'Bubble Buster is another relatively original game provided by Hudson Soft for Sinclair. It's a shoot 'em up but the aliens are of a different breed. In fact, if you saw the recent re-run of The Prisoner on TV, you may know what they are - bubbles. The graphics, though simple (i.e. round things) are extremely well animated. The bubbles move just like the real thing with gravity involved to make them bounce about all over the screen. I found this to be a very original shoot 'em up type of game - it had a fair bit of addictivity but did tend to become a little repetitive. Perhaps a little variation would have improved the situation.'

'Why Sinclair should have put out a game as simple as this one makes me wonder whether they ever designed computers in the first place. Shooting balls with what looks like an arrow tied to a piece of green gardening string is not very thrilling. This game does have an element of "Asteroids" when balloons split - but not very effective. Both colour and sound are weak and could be improved upon. The keys are responsive but not well positioned. Overall, a fast, completely uninteresting game.'

'Bubble Buster is a very simple idea, which turns into a pretty fast game the further you go. However, the initial fun wears off very fast too, as there's little more to it than shooting balloons and dodging them. I'm not saying this is an easy task, but some of the difficulty involved is a bit unfair. "You" are just fat enough a character to get hit by the balloons too easily, so there's no fine adjustment possible, which lowers the skill factor. And that together with the extreme simplicity of the game means it isn't very thrilling to play for more than about ten minutes. The graphics are reasonable, with good bouncing effects, but "you" are a bit primitive looking and couldn't a bit more fun have been added with some more colours? Not really worth it.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: A/D or J/L left/right, CAPS/SPACE = fire
Joystick: ZX 2
Keyboard play: responsive, but slightly irritating with the left/right key
Use of colour: poor
Graphics: large, fast, not detailed
Sound: fair
Skill levels: progressive difficulty and speeds
Lives: 3
Originality: not totally original as concept seems to be based on several others like Asteroids, Galaxians and Breakout
General Rating: Fair.

70%
61%
53%
66%
45%
45%
58%
57%

Screenshot Text

Galaxian bubbles in a game of what goes up must surely squash you flat when it comes down.