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PSOne Review - 'Super Bubble Pop'

by The Six Billion Dollar Man on Jan. 17, 2003 @ 12:33 a.m. PST

Dance to the beat of crazy music and play 150 levels of bubble popping action in this 3D puzzle game. Make your move and work quickly to take out the bubbles before they take you out. With rocking soundtracks and fast-pace game play, Super Bubble Pop is a bubble based action puzzler game where the idea is to quickly and efficiently clear the grid of bubbles to advance to the next stage while gaining as many points as possible.

Genre: Puzzle
Publisher: Jaleco Entertainment
Developer: Runecraft Limited
Release Date: Available NOW

I didn’t expect much from the PSOne version of Super Bubble Pop (Xbox review will be coming up at a later date), but I gave it the benefit of the doubt and fired it up. Unfortunately, my initials suspicions proved to be correct.

Super Bubble Pop is a classic color-elimination game in which you get rid of a group of objects by firing a similarly-colored projectile. Many games have come and gone with the same premises, like Snood, Diamonds, and Columns, to name a few. Since many of these games were available as computer shareware, I find it puzzling that the game merited a port over to consoles.

The game play in Super Bubble Pop is easy and straightforward. Align your character and shoot the colored balls to complete the vertical or horizontal row of balls of corresponding colors. The rows are given to you vertically and are often mixed with different colors. Some rows carry power ups that allow you extra time or give you special abilities to help you if you start to lose. Some of these upgrades are the ability to call down lighting to zap away the balls, the ability to freeze a row so it cannot move any further, or change the color scheme of the row to allow faster completion. There are few more power ups available to you, but I don’t want to give away all the game’s secrets.

There are a total of four characters available to you, but two are locked, and you must unlock them by completing the game on different difficulty settings. The characters do not differ in skill or speed; they all move and throw at the same speed. The only differences are the character models: the first two characters are a robot or a girl. I won’t disclose the two other characters so you can discover them for yourself, but don’t expect too much.

As you progress through the each board, the rows become bigger and tend to appear more quickly. Eventually, solid rock blocks start to appear, which, in my view, are key to winning some matches. Sometimes, you will get an odd color that doesn’t match any of the other colors on the board, so shooting the odd color at the rock blocks will break them and therefore not add to your already-overwhelming stacks. The way you advance to the next board is by either eliminating all the blocks, or by capturing enough stars that appear in the rows of blocks. Aside from that, there isn’t much more to the game play of Super Bubble Pop.

Since it is a PSOne game, the graphics do not have much complexity, and you would certainly be pushing your luck to classify the graphics as 3D. The camera angle throughout the entire game is from a third person perspective so you are constantly looking at the back of your character. The character models are of a low polygon count, and the special effects are also weak, often suffering from low quality colors and textures. There aren’t any background graphics to mention because the whole time, you are playing within a spinning vortex. The graphics quality might be less than we’re used to, but they’re definitely decent given the intended platform.

The audio aspect of Super Bubble Pop is probably its high point. As you play each level you are treated to a techno-like music score. Many times, I caught myself actually swaying and gyrating to the music. There are also a number of tunes at your disposal so you won’t have to listen to the same songs over and over again. Also, each character has a different selection of music so you will always have something new to hear. The transition from track to track is flawless; you will be listening to another track and not even know that the first one has ended. As for the sound effects, all of your actions are represented by a sound effect, and given the fact that you won’t require 3D positional audio for a title like this, the audio is well done.

Overall, the game play is far from being original, the graphics truly show the age of the PSOne platform, and the audio is this game’s saving grace. As such, I personally wouldn’t purchase this game. However, it’s a great time waster so if you have time to kill -- and I do mean IF -- check it out. Also, if you’re into the whole rave scene and want a slamming soundtrack, this game might be a good candidate. Although there was a lack of multiplayer options in this game, Super Bubble Pop is an “okay” title in my book.

Score : 4/10

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