Completing Bubble Bobble, Commodore 64

Well. Come. Back.

You know the tune, it dings and blings around in the back of your head as you vainly search for the yellow sweetie, narrowly missing the flung rolling pin of doom. Bubble Bobble on the C64 was fantastic, but not, as I had once believed, as good as I thought it was.

It’s a great conversion – no doubt there - and the C64 really does well with regard to collisions, colours, sprites and speed and there are even the hidden extras in there, but, well… Myself and a friend, fuelled with beer one evening set out, with our limited credits, to fully complete Bub and Bob’s quest. We loved the game, he didn’t mind playing blue and I PON’d for green. We had all night, no distractions, we were fed and watered and I should point out, around 24 years old and the game was nearly 15 years old (if not more) itself – and we’d never, ever done it, so, we shucked off another can and launched our crusade.

I unequivocally adore this game – the arcade, of course, is nigh sheer perfection (depending upon which difficulty level the board is set on…) and at still only 10p per credit, well, you’re mad for not hitting the arcade under the Palace Pier, Brighton every weekend back in the day; or Dusters in Plymouth way back in the 'olden days, but, with my beloved C64 conversion – I found faults…

Well: fault, really.

You see, we played that fateful night, taking turns to leap levels utilising the EXTEND function, umbrellas and more, we failed a few times around the 70s, sometimes earlier with our limited credits (one credit each – no rebuys), but we continued into the morning hours, relentlessly slogging back through the early levels, relentlessly playing Bubble Bobble on my C64, sitting, cross-legged on my old bedroom floor. Adults.

And..: we did it – we survived the hideous space invaders and the ridiculously evil later level design and we found ourselves facing a bloody super-huge rolling pin-thrower on LVL 100. Having never reached this point, it took a few moments to work out what to do and we struggled and muddled our way through the boss pattern until finally – he just disappeared!

We’d done it – we’d got to the top of Bubble Bobble! For the first time in our lives. Ever.

However, this was a short-lived elation, as even though we knew we had really completed the game, we also knew that we now had to fight our way back down the tower, as in the arcade, to get ourselves and our prizes back home again. We glanced sidelong at our lives/credits tally. Not too good.

Thing is, with the C64, that was that – Game Over.

Michael Finnegan.

Simultaneously one of the greatest achievements and absolute disappointments of my entire life. Second only to realising that they aren’t rolling pins – they are whisky bottles.

Download: Bubble Bobble
Youtube: LogrusUK

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