First things first: I am a longtime fan of Taito's Bubble Bobble series, the first entry in particular. That love didn't develop slowly over time as is usually the case; no, I fell head over heels for the title that started it all the second I laid eyes on its adorably decorated cabinet while perusing the arcade room of the local bowling alley as a skinny, bright-eyed, game-obsessed boy.
Despite my love for the series in general and the initial game in particular, I've never much cared for Bubble Bobble's portable iterations--namely, the non-port that's (still) known as Bubble Bobble (expect a post devoted to this one soon, by the way) and its sequel, called Bubble Bobble Junior in Japan and Bubble Bobble Part 2 in North America.
Although I've always considered the latter effort to be leagues better than the former (despite its completely fabulous Japanese box art), it's still not a game that's prompted me to think, I really enjoying playing that one--until fairly recently, I mean.
At first, I passed on it due to what I considered to be its wonky-looking protagonist. I also wasn't all that fond of the fact that its stages are larger than the GameBoy's diminutive screen and, as such, scrolling is required to see them in their entirety. And then there's the little fact that, as most (if not all) of you've probably figured by now, this game is a black-and-white--or black-and-green, I guess--rather than a rainbow-colored affair, unlike nearly all of the other Bubble Bobble games in existence.
So, what caused me to give Bubble Bobble Junior a second chance? Truth be told, I only decided to give it another shot after falling in love with its box art while writing this recent blog post. Maybe if I can find a way to at least somewhat enjoy its gameplay, I thought to myself, I can justify picking up a copy of it sometime soon.
And what do you know? Shortly thereafter I started having fun--if not "a blast"--with this portable platformer. Now, I still don't love the fact that the levels scroll, and I can't help but wish Bub's and Bob's leaps were a smidge less "floaty," but other than those two aspects--OK, so maybe the game's not-horrible-but-also-hardly-amazing soundtrack could be thrown into the mix, too--Bubble Bobble Junior's actually pretty solid.
The enemy sprites are surprisingly well drawn, for starters. Also, similarly nice-looking bosses--like the one showcased above--pop up every 10 (or is it 20?) stages, and all of the ones I've battled so far have been a blast.
Other than that, there isn't a whole lot more to say, as this is a pretty standard Bubble Bobble outing--which of course is a very good thing, or at least it is in my opinion.
Unfortunately, should you want to own an actual, physical copy of this "pretty standard Bubble Bobble outing," you're more than likely going to have to pay dearly for it, as prices--for complete copies, especially--on eBay and elsewhere tend to be sky high. At least that nabs you some pretty packaging to ogle when you're not busy playing its contents, though, right?
See also: previous 'Second Chances' posts