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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
PlayStation 2
GENRE: Puzzle
PLAYERS:   1-2
September 25, 2002
Bust-A-Move Live!

Bust-A-Move Bash!

Bust-A-Move DS

Ultra Bust-A-Move

Super Bust-A-Move

 Written by John Scalzo  on February 06, 2003

Full Review: John usually would bust a move on a SAC here, but he forgot. Dolt!

A game like Super Bust-A-Move 2 is a hard one to review. On the one hand, you have a game that is the latest in a series that has now spanned twenty plus sequels across ten different platforms. On the other hand, you?have a game that, much like Tetris, is still a fun puzzler regardless of how many iterations it's been through. On my magical third hand I stroke my beard and?ponder if a review even could sway someone one way or another with a game like this.

Freak extra hands aside, your purchase or rental of Super Bust-A-Move 2 can be broken down very simply. Each of the Bust-A-Move games are similar enough so they all come with the same qualifier. If you've never played a Bust-A-Move game before, this latest incarnation is worth a look. If you're obsessed with the bubble popping antics of Bub and Bob, this game is worth a look. If you've played one before and hated it, then don't play this one, there isn't anything new here.

But some people want more than that very short, but very precise, description. So here goes. The Bust-A-Move series was started with an arcade game that featured Bob and Bub, stars of the NES classic Bubble Bobble, shooting colored bubbles from the bottom of the screen at more colored bubbles on the top of the screen. If they connected three like colored bubbles they would disappear. You complete each level by totally clearing the screen of bubbles and if the bubbles hit the floor you lose.

And that's the game. It's split into various modes. There's the one player mode. There's the one player "story" mode that tacks on a few cheesy animations in between each level. There's the two player battle mode where players can pile excess bubbles on their opponent by making extra bubbles fall with their connected string of three. New to Super Bust-A-Move 2 is the edit mode that allows players to create their own bubbly puzzles. Fun for a laugh or two, but no ones going to consider blowing off their job to make their own Bust-A-Move puzzles.

There's very little challenge to Super Bust-A-Move 2. Most of the puzzles can be completed through straight trial and error with the help of the game's unlimited stash of continues or by just continuing long enough until a better run of bubbles comes along. In fact, the game doesn't even try to hide the fact that many of the puzzles have been used in previous games.

Of course, Bust-A-Move games were always just as much about the characters as they were about the puzzles. Originally those little dinos from Bubble Bobble could be counted on for a good nostalgic trip. Now they've been relegated to cameo roles for a bunch of cute characters that look stolen from the latest Pokemon mutation. As near as I can tell none of the characters are any different in gameplay, they just just make different sounds and use different animation clips in the story mode (more on this in a second).

The graphics for the actual game are very bright and cheery, and while they don't tax the PS2's power, they fit the game. The music and sound effects also give off that cute Saturday morning cartoon feel. It's all the more sad then that the animations used in the story mode are so choppy. They're very simple, often just one of the characters walking (and I use the term walking loosely), but it just looks awful. On top of that the story animations and even the in game graphics often become too cute for their own good. And then these characters start talking. The best thing about Bub and Bob was that they're silent. Now I'm not one of those insecure "adults" who's too macho to enjoy something cartoony (just look at my Klonoa 2 review), but this is ridiculous. Diabetics might slip into a coma just being in the same room as this game, let alone playing it.

Bottom Line
And that's really all there is to it. For it's $20 price tag it's hard to say the game is not worth it. Even if all you do is play a few rounds of battle mode with your friends once a month it's a good game to have. Puzzle fanatics owe it to themselves to play a game of Bust-A-Move, but odds are most of them already own a copy of at least one Bust-A-Move game for the PSone, Dreamcast or the N64. And one is all you really need.

What I'd really like to see is a new Bubble Bobble game.

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