A LONG time ago, in an arcade far away, I came across the cult classic, Bubble Bobble. If ever there had been a more ridiculous set of heroes than a pair of bubble-spitting lizards, I had thankfully spared them.
But the two saviours of bubblekind were a real hit. Girlies everywhere queued up in their lunch hours just to bounce on a few balloons.
It is not over yet. The human race is to be further subjected to severe doses of cuteness. Bub and Bob have returned, looking slightly more human, in Rainbow Islands.
This time they are not out to save people from unspeakable danger or anything like that. They just want to get from one end of the picturesque archipelagos to the other. Selfish, or what?
There are seven islands in the chain, each dominated by some strange sub-species which are definitely not on friendly terms. Such adversaries include spiders, crows, tanks, bats, balls, spheres (no I do not know what the difference is either), robots and dragons. So there you go. Looks like some form of weapon might come in handy.
Unfortunately, B&B no longer have the ability to spit bubbles capable of supporting their own weight. Nowadays they have to make do with creating rainbows. I would have thought the ability to produce diffraction phenomena at will would have led to better career opportunities than this...?Rainbows can, like the bubbles before them, be walked upon by our heroes. They can be used to incapacitate the foe or to collect objects. Jumping on a rainbow causes it to break - it is true, I have seen it! - destroying or collecting anything below.
Of course, all this rainbow business is not without its drawbacks. After a wile the island will begin to sink. Whether this is to do with the greenhouse effect is not adequately explained.
Bub and Bob should stop using aerosols if they want to survive 'cos once the tide starts coming in it looks like North Wales in March.
And so our rainbow warriors progress, climbing to the top of the screen in each level, collecting bonus fruit on the way. Some of the objects found are a lot more useful than fruit. A shoe will give extra speed on the ground, while the potions will enable faster and longer rainbows.
Each island also contains a secret room, a bit like Bubble Bobble. The way to access these rooms remains secreat but if you follow the same plan as in the prequel you won't go far wrong.
The end of each island, if you can bring yourself to kill all those horrible cute baddies, is guarded, reasonably enough I suppose, by a guardian.
This is usually a sort of jumbo mutant-sized version of one of the creatures you have already encountered. They do not look quite so cute when they take up most of the screen. The tune is a bit annoying, not as good as the Bubble Bobble soundtrack. Incidental effects do not vary much from the standard formula, but they are good enough.
If you like action but draw the line at the sight of intestines, then you won't find much better than Rainbow Islands. There is lots of it too. Terribly uncool, though.