Want to make a quick buck? Grab a level designer for a classic arcade series, make up some uninspired, confusing new levels, throw in a couple of pointless gameplay "twists," and slap the old logo on a DS game box. Voila! Nostalgia-filled gamers will come thronging.
So it goes, sadly, with Bubble Bobble: Double Shot, the latest, half-assed retread of a game that - let’s face it - hit its peak in 1988. Gameplay is pretty much what you remember from previous Bubble Bobble incarnations: you take command of a cute, dinosaur-like thingy, jump around a lot, and blow bubbles at enemies to trap and kill them.
The twist this time is that there are three different dinosaurs you can play, each of a different color. Some enemies are only vulnerable to bubbles from a certain color dinosaur, and some require a particular combination of colors to kill. Problem is, unless you’re playing co-op with two friends, this extra layer screws up the core Bubble Bobble formula with unnecessary complexity. Now, instead of having fun with the simple act of trapping and killing enemies, you’re forced to constantly cycle dinosaurs with the right shoulder button, always wondering what combination of colors will get the result you want.
But Double Shot’s problems go beyond misguided gameplay tweaks. Of the game’s 100 levels, the majority are either totally uninspired or ridiculously difficult. While they span both of the DS’s screens, making them larger than previous Bubble Bobble levels, more does not equal better. Also, Double Shot shoehorns in a variety of lame mini-games that you must complete if you want to continue playing after you die. And while we’re talking about continues, why on earth does Double Shot not have some form of save-game/password system so that players can turn off their DS’s and come back to their games later? For a game designed for portables not to have that kind of functionality is simply inexcusable.
If you’re a die-hard Bubble Bobble fan (and you have a couple friends to co-op with), you might find a few smiles in Double Shot. Everyone else should stay away.
Apr 7, 2008