Bust-A-Move 2: Arcade Edition
Reviewed by Raymond Almeda
Bust a move is a great puzzle game for both beginners and advanced
players. There are several reasons why Bust-A-Move 2: Arcade Edition
has an "E" (as in "Everyone") rating. The hero of the game is a dumpy little
green dinosaur whose most violent acts are bursting bubbles. His enemies
are cutesy monster-ish things that look like they spend their weekends
swimming in pastel paint vats. Even if Bust-A-Move 2 wanted to have
offensive content, it would be far too abstract for anyone to understand.
However, the content coming from a Bust-A-Move 2 player merits, in my
experience, an "M" (as in "Make sure your parents/children aren't around").
Never before has such a cute little bauble of a game been able to produce
such a foul and loathsome stream of expletives. Not to mention the violent
tantrums and incensed controller slams the single Bust-A-Move 2 player
is sure to experience. And the two-player fights-- well, let's just say that
swift homicide is usually the lightest subject on a losing player's mind.
The gameplay in Bust-A-Move 2 is innocent enough. As in the long line of
bubble puzzle games that have preceded it, your object is to clear away a
vertical wall of multi-colored bubbles. As you play, the wall ticks ever
closer to the bottom of the screen. When a bubble crosses a certain line,
it's game over.
Now here's the fun part-- to burst the bubbles, you launch more bubbles
at them (bad logic, but it makes for a good game). When three bubbles
of the same color touch each other, they all pop. Any bubbles that are
below those and attached to them also fall and burst. You, of course,
don't get to select the colors of the bubbles you want. As this is a puzzle
game, you have to deal with whatever the computer gives you and figure
out what do with the bubbles you can't match and where to best use the
bubbles you can.
Sounds easy, right? Well, for about the first five minutes of play, it is.
After that, the game moves on from the five bubble colors you begin
with to nine or so, throws in a few "special bubbles," and cranks up the
speed until the wall is racing for the bottom of the screen. You have to
perfectly aim every shot, ricochet bubbles off the sides of the screen
to get them in the right places, and express your frustration as nastily
and loudly as possible to get to the next shot.
As difficult as Bust-A-Move 2 can be, it's always challenging. You know
that you'll always be able to clear a board and make the dumpy dinosaur
giggle with delight if you can just come up with a better strategy, shoot
a little straighter, and think a little faster. It's that possibility of
success (along with the extreme certainty that, somewhere in the world,
there are four-year-olds who are better at this game than you are) that
makes Bust-A-Move 2 so addictive.
Unfortunately, Bust-A-Move 2 hits have to be spread out. It's difficult
to sit down at this game for more than thirty minutes at a time. After
a while, the no- frills graphics, cheesy mock-calypso music, and endless
walls of bubbles blend into a single, quivering primary-colored blob.
There's only so much bubble popping one person can stand.
Bust-A-Move 2 tries to alleviate this inevitable monotony by offering
several different bubble-popping situations. You can go through the main
puzzle mode of the game, in which you have to move from point A to point
B (literally) by clearing progressively harder screens of bubbles. Once you
get tired of that, there's the "Timed Attack Mode" in which you see how
quickly you clear progressively harder screens of bubbles. Finally, there's
a versus mode, in which you compete with the computer or a human
opponent to (brace yourself) clear progressively harder screens of bubbles.
Fortunately, this last mode does add something to the mix. In versus mode,
when you make bubbles drop, they crowd over to your opponent's screen.
This nasty little feature results in more expletives, enhanced violent
tendencies, and darn fun multiplayer games (unless you're up against one
of those four- year-olds I talked about before).
Versus mode also delivers Bust-A-Move 2's cutscene equivalents. In
these sequences, your dumpy dinosaur avatar meets up with the other
monsters and goofy zaniness ensues. I have to admit that these scenes
are some of the most bizarre things I've ever seen in a video game. If
anyone can make sense out of them, please let me know. On second thought,
don't-- I want to preserve their kooky mystery.
All in all, Bust-A-Move 2 is a fun little game and nothing more. It won't
awe or inspire, but it will entertain. Rent it for kicks, and if you like it,
wait until it hits the bargain racks and buy it cheap. Otherwise, you'll
probably be hoping for a little more than a dumpy dinosaur, lots of
colored bubbles, and "M" reactions can bring.
Graphics: 8.7 out of 10
Sound: 9.1 out of 10
Challenge: 7.9 out of 10
Entertainment: 8.0 out of 10
Replay Value: 9.1 out of 10
Overall: 8.7 out of 10