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Reviews (N-Z)

Rainbow Islands 

MANUFACTURER: TAITO
1
987 (1-2 Players)


 

 

Overview and game play

Rainbow Islands “The story of Bubble Bobble 2” is a cute platform game for 1-2 players that is the sequel to Taito’s phenomenally popular “Bubble Bobble” and achieved considerable success in the arcades. Numerous conversions of Rainbow Islands were developed for home computers including one for the Commodore Amiga that is graphically and aurally equal to the arcade version. One coin is required per player who takes turns to control one of two little men, “Bub” who wears a green shirt and “Bob” who wears a blue shirt in a quest to rescue the people who live on the Rainbow Islands.

As with Bubble Bobble, Taito’s designers have helpfully included some text messages about how to play the game during the attract sequence, which explain basic techniques and moving techniques. Either Bub or Bob can be controlled to move in any of eight directions using the joystick and pressing button 1 causes the players’ character to shoot a rainbow in the direction he is facing. The player can kill enemies using a rainbow and the basic technique described by the game is to hit enemies with a rainbow or to jump on rainbows over the enemies’ head. Pressing button two makes Bub or Bob jump, an ability that has many uses throughout the game. As soon as some coins have been inserted, the player(s) must select either a one or two player game by pressing the respective buttons. A map screen then briefly appears showing seven differently themed islands that each has four rounds to complete and one boss character to kill at the end of the fourth round of each island. A picture representing the round that is about to commence flashes briefly and then the game starts with Bub, (player 1’s character) standing at the bottom of the screen with some platforms and enemies above him and some fruit and other collectable items scattered around. Bub must now climb upwards either by jumping on the platforms or by using a moving technique described in the attract sequence which is to shoot a rainbow and climb on top of it. The player can also make Bub or Bob jump on rainbows without crushing them by repeatedly pressing the “jump” button. During Bub’s ascent through the round, some framed numbers appear in the background to show the player how much further they have to climb. The player’s character must continue to climb until he reaches the top of the round called the goal area and the round will then be over. A giant treasure chest will then fall from the sky and open to spew out many collectable items that the player can collect for extra points before the next round begins.

 

 

Rainbow islands features an enormous variety of collectable items that can increase the players score or give Bub and Bob special abilities. The huge variety of collectables adds a lot to the game play and addictiveness as more items and effects can be discovered with repeated playing. Each player starts the game with 3 lives and to make these lives last as long as possible it is necessary to collect special items such as a red shoe that makes the players’ character run faster or a red potion to make more rainbows each time button 1 is pressed. Some items become available only when certain preconditions have been satisfied such as a ring with a cyan coloured stone that gives the player 10 points for walking every step. The ring only becomes available after the player has collected 3 red potions and there are many other items for the player to discover that can help in the game.

Rainbow Islands features numerous secrets for the player to discover, providing rewards for exploration and skilful game play. The secret features improve the game’s playability and make the game a better and more fun experience than if it had a purely linear structure. Overall, Rainbow Islands is an excellent game with game play that had been fine-tuned to provide an enjoyable and fun experience.

 

Graphics

The graphics in Rainbow Islands are very good for a late 80’s game, featuring cute and interesting characters and varied backgrounds. Each themed island has its own set of graphics for the backgrounds, enemies and boss characters that are all drawn in a cute and pleasing style. All of the characters (including Bub and Bob) have their own set of animations, which are smooth and pleasant. For example, a nice animation is when Bub or Bob jumps of a platform and moves his arms around in a funny way, as if he were trying to fly or balance himself.

An arcade game manufacturer called Taito produced Rainbow Islands. In some of the islands, the graphical themes are based on other Taito games such as Bubble Bobble. The backgrounds, enemies and boss enemies are used from the other games, which is an interesting a pleasant design idea. Using characters from other Taito games may make players’ interested in those other games and perhaps more likely to play them, thereby generating further revenue for Taito. 

 

 

Sound

People who have watched the film, “The Wizard of Oz”, will instantly recognise in Rainbow Islands a synthesized and re-mixed version of the film tune called “Somewhere, over a rainbow”, which plays in the background during the game. On some themed islands, the music changes to the music of other Taito games to compliment the design theme. Some pleasant sound effects are used for every action in the game that add a lot to the already superb game play.

 

 




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