Puzzle Bobble 2
|Puzzle Bobble 2|
European Saturn cover art
Probe Entertainment (Nintendo 64)
Taito Corporation (Japan)|
Acclaim Entertainment (NA and EU)
|Platform(s)||Arcade, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Microsoft Windows, Game Boy, Nintendo 64, PlayStation Network|
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Arcade system||Neo Geo, Taito F3 System|
|Sound||Sound chip: YM2610|
|Display||Raster, standard resolution|
Puzzle Bobble 2 is a tile-matching video game by Taito. The first sequel to Puzzle Bobble, it was titled in Europe and North America as Bust-A-Move Again on the arcade and Bust-A-Move 2 Arcade Edition on the home consoles. Released into the arcades in 1995, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64 and PC conversions followed. The game was included in Taito Legends 2, but the US arcade version was included on US PS2 version instead. The game is a spin-off from Bubble Bobble.
The game builds on the original by adding a tournament style variation on the two player game for play against the computer and by adding a branching map to the one player game, allowing the player to periodically select one of two groups of five levels to play next, leading to different game endings. Some of the contestants in the new tournament mode are based on characters from Bubble Bobble, including variations on a Monsta and a Mighta.
Some versions of the game, including the PlayStation, feature time trial competitions in which a single player attempts to finish simple rounds quickly enough to beat previous time records or two players simultaneously attempt to beat the records and each other.
Completion of the single player game gives the player a code which can be entered to unlock 'Another World' for the single player game, which features subtle changes to the existing levels to increase their difficulty and changes to all backdrops to resemble levels from Bubble Bobble. The various enemies from Bubble Bobble also make an appearance in the background of the credits sequence.
Taito later repacked Bust-A-Move 2 with an optional alternative set of levels and some new attract mode animations (including holiday-themed ones) as Bust-A-Move 2X (also known as Puzzle Bobble 2X).
Ports of Bust-A-Move 2 to the PC and Sega Saturn are of Bust-A-Move 2X and additionally include a level editor/designer. A port of 2X was made to the PlayStation but was not released until some time after a port of Bust-A-Move 2 was released.
North American cover art
In North America, print advertisements for the Saturn and PlayStation editions featured a picture of several large blue balls with human faces trapped inside, moaning in apparent agony, with white sticks forcing their eyes open. The shots of the game packaging in the lower right corner of the ad show that the North American release of the game was once to use the same cover art as the PAL release. Instead, possibly to target an older audience, the North American release of both Saturn and PlayStation editions uses the main art from the advertisement as their cover art. The Game Boy edition was originally shipped with the Saturn and PlayStation edition's cover art; however, the game was soon reissued with the same cover art as the PAL release. This cover earned a place on GameSpy's Top Ten Worst Covers list, with journalist Kevin Bowen pointing out that the disturbing imagery was likely to frighten away the game's young target audience.
A Next Generation critic gave the game a rave review, calling it "One of the most addictive puzzle games in the arcades right now". He praised the challenging gameplay and the "fascinating" trick of bouncing bubbles off the walls to ricochet into the right spot, and concluded, "It's fast, fun, and because of the title's bright, innocent looks and unpretentious simplicity, it's almost unfair."
A brief review of the PlayStation version in Next Generation said it was "sure to please, especially in two-player mode." The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly applauded the game for its addictive puzzle play, its large amount of content, the usage of tricky bank shots in addition to the color-matching traditional to action puzzlers, and the fierce competitiveness of the two-player mode. Rad Automatic also commented positively on these aspects in Sega Saturn Magazine, and said that though the game is best with two players, the single-player Puzzle Mode makes the game worth buying even for those who have no one to play with. Echoing Next Generation, he remarked that "whilst Bust-a-Move 2 maintains the sweet harmless exterior of a sherbert bonbon, inside beats the addictive heart of a malteser."
Electronic Gaming Monthly named the Saturn and PlayStation versions a runner-up for Puzzle Game of the Year (behind Tetris Attack). It was also a finalist for the Computer Game Developers Conference's 1996 "Best Trivia or Puzzle Game" Spotlight Award, but lost the prize to You Don't Know Jack XL.
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