Les Dossiers de Passion MSX
[ENG] Bubble Rain (Imanok, 2001)
Reviewed in January 2003
If you are familiar with Puzzle Bobble or
other clones (e.g. Snood), the first thing that will strike you when
you launch Bubble Rain for the first time is that it does not support 2
player mode. Even if you have to play the game alone, there is enough
entertainment to keep you going for hours. The game is composed by 8
different worlds which are divided each into 8 different stages. At the
end of each world, a special password is given so you don't have to
start over from scratch each time you start Bubble Rain, which is nice
as it could take you ages before completing all 64 levels! Controlling
the game is very easy, you aim the direction you want to throw the ball
to by using the left/right keys and action your launcher with the
spacebar. To pause, just hit F1.
The MSX 'conversion' in itself is well made. The game runs smoothly, each level comes with a different background (not the most extraordinary ones, but they are fine) and the one thing that is absolutely terrific is the music. It is just fantastic! The tunes are very enjoyable and diversified. As with most recent games, you need Moonsound or FM-Pac to be able to listen to it. In the main menu you have the possibility to select 'Music' and so you can relax yourself without playing and listen to the various tunes while doing other things. However the music only works with an internal FM-Pac installed on your computer (most MSX2+ have it, and all Turbo-Rs). An external FM-Pac cartridge will not work, due to a "bug" with Nestorbasic that is not able to initialise it. Imanok is currently working on a patch that will be released soon and should fix this problem (will be available on their site).
A few words about the game play to finish
this review. Although each game is different, all in all the play is
quite repetitive even though each new level brings one more colored
ball to add some extra difficulty. There are no special options that
you can make use of, which would have been a nice addition. Also,
having played a lot another Puzzle Bobble clone - Snood (PC &
Mac) - there is one thing that is very frustrating: you are not able to
throw a ball through an empty 'corridor' of balls meaning it will just
stick to the first ball it will touch. This is an extra difficulty to
take into account but if you never played other clones of this game,
you won't notice the frustration. A very last thing, there is a
high-score table and since Bubble Rain comes on a single 720Kb disk,
your high-scores are saved (you can erase them through MSX Basic if you
wish). Also there is a possibility to retry a level you failed at so
you don't have to start it all over again (nb: the passwords are only
given each time you reach the beginning of a new world).
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