IGN Review of Bubble Bobble Double Shot
The last time Bubble Bobble hit the Nintendo DS was in Codemaster's broken Bubble Bobble Revolution in 2006. It was broken in the sense that if you managed to get less than halfway through the game, a glitch popped up that prevented you from advancing into the deeper levels. Even up until that glitch Bubble Bobble Revolution wasn't all that spectacular to begin with, barely offering anything more than a solid recreation of the classic Taito arcade design. And that's exactly how this follow-up feels: Bubble Bobble Double Shot is a new take on the old-school idea, but it doesn't do much to advance the franchise or even give the design some fresh ideas more than 20 years after the original game.
Bubble Bobble Double Shot doesn't even offer a creative take on the DS subtitle – the main hook in this game is that it features three bubble-blowing dinosaurs instead of two. Bub and Bob, two staples in the Classic Gaming Hall of Fame, have been joined by newcomer Bubu, an orange/red critter of the same dino race. Not that the original arcade game was screaming for a third player, but hey, the more the merrier, right?
But that's pretty much the extent of the creativity of Bubble Bobble Double Shot: this sequel, for better or for worse, is essentially the classic Bubble Bobble design, untouched. Players hop around on static level layouts blasting bubbles at enemies to trap them, then leap on them to take them out of the equation and to scoop up any score pick-ups before moving onto the next round. Every ten or so levels you'll face a much larger enemy that can't be bubble-napped, so you'll have to figure out – using only the dino resources – how to defeat them.
Really, the only thing that's been added is the ability to swap your dino's color using the shoulder button, from green to blue to red. Bub, the green one, blows green bubbles. Bob, the blue one, blows blue. Bubu, the red one…yep, you guessed it, blows red. As you get deeper in the game you'll meet up with enemies that have a specific colored star swirling around them, and the only way to capture that enemy is to blow a bubble of that same color. Not really all that creative, honestly, even when you throw in the need to mix colors to create a new color, and give each dino one of the three same power-ups that were part of the Bubble Bobble it just needlessly complicates a simple arcade concept without adding any real fun to it.
The touch-screen elements are only used in really, really basic mini-games that come up after losing all your lives. These mini-games are given to the player as a challenge to get back into the game – fail and you can't continue. But these games are so simple and challenge free that they're just busywork thrown in.
Where the game seems to pull much of its enjoyment is in its multiplayer, where each dinosaur can be controlled by a different player in three-player mode. Two players in a chain will have to still use the "swap dino" feature to get the third color. There are two problems with this multiplayer focus. One, it doesn't support single cartridge multiplayer – you can't tell me that there's too much going on that the game couldn't fit in the DS memory. And number two: unlike the arcade game, you can't jump into an existing game to help a player out. You must start multiplayer sessions from level one.
And even though the game has an EEPROM in cart, it seems like it's only used to brand the cartridge with a three initials, which is only used in the game's multiplayer. Bubble Bobble Double Shot doesn't even save high scores.
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