Retro Coin Op Synopsis
Cute little dinosaurs Bub and Bob took a break from their Bubble Bobble duties in 1993 to star in a new breed of puzzle game, Taito’s Bust-a-Move. Known in Japan as Puzzle Bobble, the game kept Bub and Bob’s bubble-blowing capabilities, but adapted them to a fun new purpose.
The blue and green dinos stood at the bottom of the screen, armed with a bubble-shooting cannon. At the top of the screen, bubbles of several different colors were clustered together. Taking careful aim, Bub and Bob launched their colored bubbles up toward their kin, trying to make groups of similar colors. Once three or more identical bubbles were grouped together, the cluster would explode, and any bubbles left unattached would fall harmlessly to the floor. Bank shots were also allowed, so good spatial judgment was an absolute must for the would-be Bust-a-Move master.
In the game’s two-player mode, Bub and Bob raced to clear separate screens, while the one-player mode was simply a race against the encroaching bubbles, trying to prevent the bubble rows from hitting the bottom of the screen and ending the game.
In a market still dominated by Tetris clones, Bust-a-Move was a breath of fresh air—as simple, addictive and unique as the original Tetris had been. Taito released several sequels through the rest of the 1990’s, adding new twists to the appealing bubble formula. Bust-a-Move Again added new power bubbles to the mix, including the explosive Star Bubble and cannonball-like Metal Bubble. The sequel also allowed one player to have all the competitive fun of a two-player game, pitting the human gamer against a computer opponent.
Bust-a-Move 3 added even more power bubbles, and the cannon could now bank shots off the ceiling as well as the walls. The new game’s most memorable feature, however, was the creation of eight selectable characters, each with differing strengths and weaknesses. Bust-a-Move 4 carried on that tradition, adding even more characters, along with special “Pulley” and “Anti-Gravity” stages.
The Bust-a-Move/Puzzle Bobble series inspired several clones of its own, but with adaptations on several home systems, the original remains a fan favorite. Bub and Bob continued to appear in Bubble Bobble sequels as well as their Bust-a-Move franchise, making the adorable dino duo one of the most popular video game tandems this side of Mario and Luigi.
See also: Bubble Bobble series (arcade games)
Arcade Machine Release History1993 - Bust-a-Move
1995 - Bust-a-Move Again
1996 - Bust-a-Move Again: EX
1997 - Bust-a-Move 3
1998 - Bust-a-Move 4
1999 - Super Bust-a-Move