Lost Cave released!

Here it is! The patchfiles of Bubble Bobble: Lost Cave have been released.



We really hope you know how to use emulators, deal with MAME ROMsets, patch IPS patch files – there’s a readme.txt inside the .zip with some basic information inside, but it has that “early adopter WTF” vibe to it, so please be patient! We’ll deliver more detailed information as soon as possible. As for now, brave early adopters, please let us know if you manage to make it work. Just be sure you have the correct Bubble Bobble “bublbobl” ROMset to patch. [Note: the official command-line version of MAME really needs to run the patched game from command-line (ie “mame.exe bublbobl”, not from the internal menu) otherwise it won’t work. UI versions such as MAMEUIFX don’t have this ‘issue’]



100 new levels for the Bubble Bobble coin-op which replace the old ones. New to the coin-op, that is! They are Taito-made levels, heavily tweaked just to better fit the coin-op gameplay pace. If you ever played Bubble Bobble on a home or handheld console you’ll find them familiar: they are the best exclusive levels made for NES, Game Boy, Sega Master System and Game Boy Color versions of the game. Still, mastering them in the coin-op frame it’s a brand new challenge!



Almost every bonus points item has been replaced. You’ll find tons of those exclusive bonuses from Game Boy, NES and Sega Master System versions. Part of these bonus GFX were redone in order to match the original coin-op quality requirements. Some newly depicted bonuses are there too, and certain guest bonuses from Rainbow Islands and Parasol Stars were to good to be left out! Also, newly coloured canes may award you with something new, big and good. Diamonds are still there, though. Diamonds are forever. Power-ups rest untouched too: we didn’t want to make players feel lost, after all.


A new progression for old secrets: As in the original coin-op, there are multiple
endings, with the best one involving the secret “Super Bubble Bobble Lost Cave” code.
The bad news? We changed the input sequence for the secret codes. The good news?
This time you can discover them inside the game itself. If you are a BB coin-op
aficionado, you’ll be baffled, but also challenged hard to play more. And with style.

PROTOfinal logo

New gfx and encrypted messages in the secret rooms: can you find what’s going on this time? Who are those guys on the pedestal? What are they trying to say?

ASM hacks to recreate some features supported by home/handheld versions, but not on the coin-op, most notably those weird custom holes on the floor/ceiling.


A brand new attract mode, which showcases the new features of Lost Cave.

See what happens by writing certain three letter acronyms. First, find them in the game!

works on a real arcade machine by burning fresh EEPROMs for it (untested, but
this is the final goal for the project)


Rnd37Find the last secret, one which goes beyond the boundaries of the game, and
you’ll be awarded with a symbolic prize…

This release marks the 4th anniversary of Fukio “MTJ” Mitsuji untimely death (December 11th, 2008, aged 48). We wanted to remember him like this, since the home/handheld levels which form the Lost Cave were created not by him, but by his disciples. He spent the last years of his life exclusively teaching game design in his own school. Why? Play the game to find out: somewhere in the lost cave, MTJ has a message for you.


15 thoughts on “Lost Cave released!

  1. Grazie per tutto quello che avete fatto ragazzi, il frutto del vostro lavoro è impeccabile, a partire dall’idea fino alla realizzazione. Fukio Mitsuji sarebbe fiero di avere allievi simili 🙂

  2. AWESOME!!! Just talked to my buddy and told him the good news…Were going to try out the new levels later on tonight. Can’t wait.

  3. Amazing! You could call this the best unofficial sequel to one of the best games ever 🙂 Great work with this hack!

    I had to try some different emulators to get this to run. When patching the files the size of the zip file will be different than the original causing checksum errors. Mame 0.144 did not work. But i got it to work running MameUI32 0.144u6. Also i got i running with CoinOps 5 on the Xbox (got checksum errors but then it started)

    • Thanks everybody! So far I’m really flattered by the quality and the quantity of feedback I got:)
      Yes, checksum is what prevents the game from running on the plain version of MAME by using the internal text. Still, if you use the plain MAME by commandline (i.e. mame.exe bublbobl) the game should start.
      Actually I tried to fake the checksum successfully in order to avoid this annoyance, but MAME does a further check with a thing called Secure Hash Algorhythm (SHA-1) which looks unfakable to me, so…
      In the meantime, I got the game running on iMame4All on a friend’s iPhone, and on Dreamcast too. The only challenge is to understand which release of MAME was used for the porting and which ROMset it supported. I’m going to post specific patches for those systems someday.
      And… I stopped using Xbox some years ago, so I was unaware of CoinOps 5… it looks awesome!

      • Yeah its a problem with the checksum thingy. Maybe you could link us to some Mame versions that you know work with the commandline option? I have always mixed up the Mame versions that gets released on the net. Are they many different people who release them? One of the versions i have now is 0.144 and the executable is called mamepp.exe not mame.exe.. and the commandline option that you mentioned in the readme does not work. Hmm maybe need to find another version? Please link if you can to the version that has support for that command line.

        Yes CoinOps for the old Xbox is amazing! Its latest release, version 5 just got released a month ago or so (Nov 2012) and has great support for Mame and many other systems! I really recommend CoinOps if you have a modded Xbox. And as i mentioned before Lost Cave works fine 🙂

  4. It works fine for me using MAME Plus! v0.106 for Windows. Its a great job that you guys have done, a totally new version of Bubble Bobble, and to mark the death of Fukio, it is a fitting tribute. Thank you all again. I have mentioned it in several large gaming forums, so expect some reviews soon.

  5. SHA-1 hash keys can be decrypted using a program called HashCat, which is free and opensource. Try using that program to get the key. I use it to get MD5 keys for forums that have died for people, so they can get back into them. It should be able to decrypt your SHA-1 key easily.

  6. Very nice effort! 😀

    I took MAME 0147 and modified bublbobl.c with the new checksums.
    Using tiny.mak I created a binary which only supports lostcave bublbobl.zip
    Inside roms\bublbobl I made a batch file which will apply the IPS files. You need Neil Corletts uips somewhere along your path for this to work (http://www.neillcorlett.com/cmdpack/)

    Archive with Win 32Bit binary and source code can be found here:


    Question to devs, since you modify the MCU code what kind of MCU should I use if I want to test this on a real PCB ?

    • Hi Tormod, sorry for not putting your special version on the page yet^_^
      About the MCU: at the moment Lost Cave works only with the original Bubble Bobble PCB – and it should work by a simple rom swap (this is still untested, though), Bootleg are not yet supported, basically because we didn’t even try to – could be a trivial matter or a quite complex one, depending on how much different their data architecture is. I’m very curious:)

  7. Wow, this is overwhelming. A lot of people is talking about Lost Cave right now, so THANK YOU for spreading the word. On http://www.mameworld.info/ the developers behind popular MAMEUIFX and FB Alpha emulators have shown interest in officially supporting our ROMhack and this is amazing. Like, having it in the game as a standalone clone set for Bubble Bobble, and not as a ROM swap for the original set.
    – Johan, I added links to the two places where to download emulators working for sure (I’ll expand the list at a later time)
    – Jonathan, thanks for spreading the word and for ‘feeling’ the hommage to Fukio Mitsuji. I really want his name to be remembered a little more than it is.
    – Tormod, this is very very kind of you. I’m adding this to the “Download” page as soon as possible, If you’re ok with that:)

    • Hello everyone,
      sorry for being silent, but the pre-Xmas life/work issues forced me to be less verbose than usual:) As you may have seen both MAMEUIFX and FBAlpha are officially supporting Lost Cave (1.0) with the set name “BUBLCAVE”. (FB Alpha uses new names for the patched ROMs, check the info outputted by the emulator for more detail).

      If all goes well patch 1.1 will be out on Friday night.we’re testing it harder than usual because we don’t plan to release more patches for a long time – we just want to fix some little issues and to rebalance some levels a little bit, in order to give something you can virtually (or really) put on a PCB and play without any kind of worry:)

      The 1.1 patch will require to repatch only two or three files, anyway!
      Thanks for your patience:)

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