Best Bubble Bobble games?

Don Fluffles

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,180
A new Bubble Bobble is is on the horizon, a 4-player installment for the Switch.

That got me thinking about how long Taito(now owned by Square-Enix) has been making these games, both mainline and spinoffs. Its "sequels" consist of Rainbow Islands and Parasol Stars, and the very influential Puzzle Bobble/Bust-a-Move.

So I ask of you, hardcore Bobble and arcade fans. With so many installments of all these series and subseries, which ones are most worth checking out? And Why?

Bub & Bob for Smash.
 
May 24, 2019
1,629
I loved my Master System version. From memory, it looks a bit better than the NES game.

MS Rainbow Island was great too.
 

fiendcode

Member
Oct 26, 2017
11,723
Best versions imo:

Bubble Bobble (SMS) extra levels, better visuals than NES/MSX but worse audio. NES and MSX versions are very good too though.

Rainbow Islands Extra (MD) nice conversion (better than both NES versions imo), also adds extra levels that were backported to arcade iirc. I've heard the FM Towns port is the best but I've never played it.

Parasol Stars (PCE) Original ground up release, better than the downgraded NES and GB conversions.

Bobble Symphony (SS) Only official home port, looks, loads and plays much better than the hacky/slow PS1 port that leaked.

Bubble Bobble: Old & New (GBA) solid port given the limits of the platform. Best handheld version of BB1 and the remake looks decent too.

And obviously all the arcade originals are worth playing (Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Islands/Extra, Bubble Symphony, Bubble Memories) and have seen emulated releases on consoles over the years (Taito Memories, Taito Legends, Arcade Archives, etc).
 

dock

Game Designer
Verified
Nov 5, 2017
808
Puzzle Bobble is great, but definitely not a Bubble Bobble game.

Honestly, Bubble Bobble is by far the best one. Parasol Stars is pretty lackluster, and but Bubble Symphony is solid.
 

Jbourne

Member
Oct 31, 2017
4,252
I played the Game Gear version more than any other. That song is forever burned into my skull.

I broke out my GG a few months ago and played for a bit. Still a great game.
 

Syril

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,461
Bubble Symphony is really good. It's basically a super expanded Bubble Bobble. There are 4 characters with different attributes, more bosses, and you can go different routes on each playthrough.
 

Murlin

Member
Feb 12, 2019
172
Bubble Symphony is definitely the best.

I have some respect for how ludicrous the requirements for some secrets in Rainbow Islands are but it's not a game for everybody.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,954
New York City
Honestly I like the NES one the most because you can easily get out of wells if you fall into them.

I actually didn't know you could get out of wells in other BB games at ALL until someone mentioned it to me on Resetera a couple months ago, though I haven't tried it yet.


But I also like the way the music sounds on the NES over the arcade version. I still enjoy the arcade version a lot, though, and play it whenever I go to whichever Barcade near me has it.
 

eso76

Member
Dec 8, 2017
2,088
The arcade original's still my favorite.
Hell, the arcade original is in the top 5 best games of all times.

Both Parasol Stars and Rainbow Islands are great.
Symphony is just not as good as the original, I would actually say Memories is the better game between the two, with those interesting super bubble mechanics and score system, but I can't overlook how ugly it is.
 
Last edited:

SaintBowWow

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,478
Thanks to this thread I’ve learned that what I’ve always called Bubble Bobble is in fact Puzzle Bobble, and that Bubble Bobble is an entirely different type of game that I’ve never seen before in my life.
 

dock

Game Designer
Verified
Nov 5, 2017
808
Thanks to this thread I’ve learned that what I’ve always called Bubble Bobble is in fact Puzzle Bobble, and that Bubble Bobble is an entirely different type of game that I’ve never seen before in my life.
Wow! They really confused a lot of people with the names.
 

Farmboy

Member
Oct 27, 2017
282
The Amiga had pretty much arcade perfect ports of Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Islands and Parasol Stars. Loved all three, but each successive one slightly less than the one before. This new Switch version looks interesting enough, but I would have preferred pixel art.
 

dock

Game Designer
Verified
Nov 5, 2017
808
The Amiga had pretty much arcade perfect ports of Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Islands and Parasol Stars. Loved all three, but each successive one slightly less than the one before. This new Switch version looks interesting enough, but I would have preferred pixel art.
Apparently Probe used the Amiga/ST versions for the Sega Saturn and PS1 ports Taito lost the source and this was the closest thing.
 

eso76

Member
Dec 8, 2017
2,088
The Amiga had pretty much arcade perfect ports of Bubble Bobble, Rainbow Islands and Parasol Stars.
Rainbow Islands was near arcade perfect but lacked the secret islands.
Parasol Stars was never an arcade game, but the PC Engine original ran at 60fps Vs Amiga 25/30. Very good port other than that.
Bubble bobble just wasn't a very good port on Amiga.
 

Farmboy

Member
Oct 27, 2017
282
Rainbow Islands was near arcade perfect but lacked the secret islands.
Parasol Stars was never an arcade game, but the PC Engine original ran at 60fps Vs Amiga 25/30. Very good port other than that.
Bubble bobble just wasn't a very good port on Amiga.
What was wrong with the Bubble Bobble port? It looked, sounded and played the same to me.
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,239
What was wrong with the Bubble Bobble port? It looked, sounded and played the same to me.
There are indeed differences, but they are mostly subtle, like how some secrets trigger, how bubbles flow around the level, and what items appear. Also, it was finicky about memory and wouldn't run on a 1 MB system, you needed to bump it down to 0,5 specifically for that game.
 

Kelanflyter

Member
Nov 9, 2017
1,442
France
The first Bubble Bobble is still the best one, i remember playing mostly the Atari ST version.

Also i really love Parasol Stars (i played mostly on Atari ST, but the PC engine is really good too)

Rainbow islands never clicked for me

Don't sleep an other games in the same style like Snow Bros or Liquid Kid
Also there are other récents games with the same vibes like Towerfall.
 

mclem

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,853
For me it was always Rainbow Islands first and foremost, Original Bubble Bobble close behind.

I think Rainbow Islands may have been the first game I can recall with visually distinct themed levels.
 
OP
OP
Don Fluffles

Don Fluffles

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,180
For me it was always Rainbow Islands first and foremost, Original Bubble Bobble close behind.

I think Rainbow Islands may have been the first game I can recall with visually distinct themed levels.
I loved how Rainbow Islands' main theme in arcades stole at least a couple of beginning notes from Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

Smooth, Taito. Very smooth.
 

Goosenman

Member
Nov 6, 2017
48
Amiga version of Rainbow Islands was great. But for two players, the original is still my favourite.

Cut from a similar cloth, The New Zealand is excellent, and I always liked Liquid Kids.
 

Selina

Gotham's Finest
Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,396
Grew up playing Bubble Bobble on the Master System and Puzzle Bobble in the arcade, Rainbow Island was great too. So those ones.
 

Rygar 8Bit

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,367
Site-15
Fond memories of the NES version of the first Bubble Bobble. Never played much of the others except for 2 and Puzzle Bobble.