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Bubble and Squeak logo  AGA  CU Amiga Super Star

Have Audiogenic come up with the ultimate Amiga platform game? Or is it just another old formula yawn? Tony Dillon gets a taste of Bubble and Squeak.

Bubble and Squeak There have been numerous successful double acts in the past: Abbot and Costello, Morecomb and Wise, Little and Large etc. All have been funny (with the exception of Little and Large perhaps, unless you happen to like Deputy Dawg impersonations ten years after their program has ceased being broadcast), yet this double act scenario has never really been as popular in the games market as it has on TV.

Of course there have been partnerships in the past Mario and Luigi, or Bub and Bob for instance but the sad thing is that these characters have always been pairs, not partners. It is one of the golden rules of comedy that if you are going to have two people interacting, one of them has to be the straight man. Two wacky and amusing characters just don't work. And this is perhaps the key to Bubble & Squeak's appeal. Not only are the characters interesting and fun to watch, you'll also find that they are, in fact, a true comedy double act. Add that to the fact that it's also an immensely playable game, with tons of puzzles and extra curriculum platform fare and you've got something special.

Bubble and Squeak But before I tell you any more, let me introduce you to the two heroes of the show: Bubble is a small boy, who looks a bit like Charlie Brown and seems quite normal in every respect, apart from the fact that he's premature bald and has a pet monster called Squeak. Squeak is a mini dinosaur/dragon in the Flintstones 'Dino' mould very loyal, but not quite as mad (or smart) as Fred and Wilma's 'little' pet.
However, the big question is, how does it all work? On the back of the box (always a good place to start) the game describes itself as a combination of platform game, puzzler and shoot 'em up, all rolled in one, and I'd have to agree with them.

Even though there are two main characters, Bubble and Squeak isn't actually a two-player game. Instead, you control Bubble as he runs around the thirty enormous levels, while he, in turn, controls Squeak. Confused? Don't worry, it will all become clear in a moment.

Bubble and Squeak Squeak, who has his own individual personality, follows Bubble around the screen, helping out wherever possible. However, he can't run as fast or jump as high as his master, so you'll have to let him catch up and find ways around various high obstacles. This is where the puzzle element of the game comes into play.

To be fair to Squeak, he does have a few tricks up his sleeve that make him more than just a useful friend. For a start, if you stand in front of him and push up, he will grab you under the armpits and throw you high in the air at least twice as high as you can normally jump. Or, stand next to him and give him a kick, and he will roll into a ball and fly around the screen like Sonic The Hedgehog until he hits a wall.

Then there's bubble gum mode. The name comes from the bubble gum machines that are scattered around each level. When you get close to one of these, Squeak starts getting excited. If you drop a coin in the slot (coins are collected by shooting bad guys, as usual), then step back and kick the machine, a gum ball flies through the air into the greedy clutches of Squeak, who then bends over, allowing you to jump on his back. From this point on, you can run faster than normal, jump higher than ever and fire bubbles at the enemy, which are faster than the stars that Bubble normally fires across the screen.

Bubble and Squeak Travelling around on Squeak's back is not only a very useful way to get around the various screens, it is also the only way you are going to be able to solve many of the puzzles the game throws at you.

Bubble and Squeak is a real treat to watch, with some of the most eyecatching and crisp sprites ever seen in an Amiga game. As mentioned earlier these sprites make for a funny comedy duo combination, with expressive faces and cute in-depth detail.
Developed for the AGA chipset, the game is only available on A1200 at the moment, with a CD32 version coming soon. And, believe me, the graphic artists have made extremely good use of the 256 colour chipset.

Glorious backdrops and smooth animation obviously can't be clearly illustrated in still screenshots, but you have to admit, the game sure does have a lot of character.
This flows over into the aural side of Bubble and Squeak too. Some simple but effective tunes play along behind the amusing sound effects, which include some wonderful samples of Bubble ordering Squeak around: "Wait here", he cries, "Come on", he shouts impatiently.

This is a very, very playable game. The controls, even on a three button pad, are logically worked out, and you'll have no trouble at all completing a couple of levels on your first attempt. Things get pretty hard as the game goes on, but you will be having so much fun you won't even notice. Bubble & Squeak is one of the most playable and original platform games to ever hit the Amiga. If you're an A1200 owner and you don't buy this, then you probably just don't like games, do you?

CU Amiga, April 1994, p.p.68-69

AUDIOGENIC 24.99
A500
A1500
A500+
A2000
A600
A3000
A1200
A4000
AUDIOGENIC, UNIT 27, CHRISTCHURCH INDUSTRIAL CENTRE, WEALDSTONE, HARROW. TEL: 081 424 2244
 
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MARCH
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2
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94%
90%
91%
94%
The game that redefines platform games. Stunning.
OVERALL: 94%