I have fond memories of the days spent over this first secret level. For me it was the most important level of the whole game, because it was going to be a direct hommage to Fukio Mitsuji, the designer of the original Bubble Bobble coin-op. Yep, that guy with the watering can is my bubblebobbled version of the late MTJ, created especially for Lost Cave. And the message below is a wonderful quoting from the man himself (albeit a little bit shrinked for space constraints) which makes perfectly sense, especially when you think that he stopped directly designing games to found a game design school. You can’t decypher the message? Aw, come on! If you’re reading here you CAN find the key to read it! Feel free to post the solution in the comments!
To create the MTJ statue, first of all I found some pics and a video of him. When he was young he looked like Bubby in Rainbow Islands, complete with red-ish reflexes in the hair. That’s why I gave access to his secret round from the one titled “At the end of the rainbow” one! In his forties, MTJ looked thinner, he wore glasses. In the end, I think his pixeled statue works, even if it’s more a symbolic portrait than a realistic one. The little sprout has been stolen from Rainbow Islands, while the watering can was designed from scratch and it’s my little masterpiece. Maybe it’s a bit too Western in taste, more, say, Bitmap Brothers than Taito. But it fits in quite well, I think. The gardener nurtures the young sprouts. Aww. It’s true that your art will live forever, MTJ, but still it’s such a pain to know you left us so early.