Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Once upon a time, around the time the Bubble Bobble coin-op arrived (strangely enough), a crooked ugly wizard called Baron Von Blubba struggled for power. Two heroic twin brothers, Bub and Bob, constantly thwarted his plans... until Von Blubba turned them into tubby little dragons and locked them in his dungeons!
But the bubbling beasts defeated Blubba’s minions, floated out of his prison and stopped the Baron himself. Returned to human form, Bub and Bob built a group of beautiful holiday islands for their friends and tourists.
The idyllic islands aren’t so peaceful anymore! Masses of sneaky creatures led by a certain vile villain (any guesses?!) have captured the inhabitants and taken over. Only Bub and Bob escaped Blubba’s clutches so it’s their task to restore freedom.
Unlike the coin-op and other conversions, MS Rainbow Islands is a one-player game only: it’s just you guiding bouncing Bub (or is it Bob? Hard to tell with identical twins!) through vertically-scrolling game worlds.
Each divided into further sub-levels, the seven anarchic archipelagos have a theme. The opening Insect Island, for example, is populated by caterpillars, beetles and spiders, white the following Combat Island has tanks, jets and missile launchers. There’s a fat baddy at the end of each isle, too, like Monster Island’s giant vampire and an unhappy mutant clown on Toy Island.
Don’t panic! Bub’s armed with magical rainbows which knock out creatures, leaving collectable food, stars or gems behind. Bonus items bestow power-ups, such as extra speed, star bombs, rapid-fire rainbows and even double ‘bows.
Bub can walk on the remarkably solid rainbows, using them as temporary bridges — they flicker and fall after a few seconds. Jumping on them knocks them out the sky, flattening foes on the way down.
With rainbows to cast, bonuses to grab and islands to free, you’re gonna have your hands full if you choose to take on Von Blubba and co!
Bub and Bob are back (great —Prod Ed) —and this time they’re armed to the trousers with big bright rainbows! No, I’m not on any kind of artificial stimulant, this really is a game about two ex-dragons who fire rainbows at loads of different baddies.
Sounds weird? It should be — it is, after all, the follow-up to my all-time favourite game, Bubble Bobble. That game was an excellent MS platform romp and I’m glad to say Rainbow Islands is just as good, if not better, than its predecessor.
In-game presentation has been improved with brighter graphics and louder, more cutesy sound. Sega have another great MS game here!
The gameplay takes a little getting used to — after all, it can’t be that easy walking on rainbows, can it?! But once you get used to bounding up platforms, dishing out rainbows, it becomes a sheer joy to play. You’ll come back to Rainbow Islands time and time again
If you thought the MS was on its way out, think again. It may well be overshadowed by its 16-bit brother, but as long as companies produce games like this, the future of the machine is safe.
Rainbow Islands is a classic. Buy it, play it and enjoy it!
At long last! The second (and best) instalment of the Bub ‘n’ Bob game trilogy is on the Master System! Both Bubble Bobble and Parasol Stars offer hours of frantic fun but Rainbow Islands is a true classic.
The vertically-scrolling levels are unusual for those new to the game — we’re all so used to horizontal platformers — but open up the screen-scaling bounds introduced in Bubble Bobble. It literally opens up a whole new dimension.
Using the swiftly and sharply drawn rainbows, Rainbow Islands becomes a sort of DIY game in places — you decide where the colourful platforms should be. With a little practice, you can use rainbows to zigzag up the screen in double-quick time.
But of course, they’re also weapons. At first, you’re likely to use them as short-range curving missiles (awkward!), but in different situations you learn to use them in different ways. You can kill creatures on platforms above or to one side, trap them under the curve and hop on rainbows to send them crashing onto enemies.
Backgrounds are bright and clear, sprites are small but well defined. Everything’s cute in Rainbow Islands, even big end-of-level guardians like the vampire (Drac-lee-errr! — Everyone in the office), and there’s top quality music to match.
With multi-purpose, multi-colour arches at your disposal and all manner of bonuses to discover, the Rainbow Islands have a lot to offer.
It’s a great MS game, speedy, smooth and highly playable. If you liked New Zealand Story, you’ll love this. Buy it!
A fast, frantic platform frolic! A superb coin-op excellently converted to 8-bit Sega
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