The “Bubble Bobble: Lost Cave” Project aims to create a new experience for every lover of the classic Bubble Bobble arcade game, designed by Fukio “MTJ” Mitsuji and crew back in 1986.
The aim is to provide the original Bubble Bobble coin-op with a whole hundred of different levels. Gameplay-wise, the game is going to retain all the mechanics of the original, but Bubblun and Bobblun will have to face a 100 challenging new stages.
These levels are not new at all, though. They come from the home consoles/handheld versions of Bubble Bobble. Back then, developers used to enrich the coin-op conversions with exclusive levels and features not present on the original arcade machines. Taito granted almost every Bubble Bobble version with some kind of unique content. We played and documented every single level from all Bubble Bobble conversions, and gathered all those ones which are not featured on the original coin-op. Have you ever played the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, Game Boy, MSX2, Game Boy Color versions of the game? Chances are good you remember some of those bizarre variations upon the Bubble Bobble canon.
Because that exclusive console/handheld content deserves to be appreciated in the full glory of the coin-op game system! Conversions did a great job in recreating the original Bubble Bobble “engine”, but they suffered from various kinds of hardware limitations. NES and SMS versions felt nowhere as frantic as the original; handheld versions were flawed by the smaller display, which forced the developers to enable scrolling to let players explore the whole stage, while tuning down both pace and difficulty (because it’s a little bit frustrating to land over a flying Pul-Pul you couldn’t see or avoid, you know).
Once put inside the original coin-op game system, console/handheld levels play very, very differently – they get vastly empowered by that special something which makes the Bubble Bobble coin-op one of the best videogames of all time.
The “Bubble Bobble: Lost Cave” Project is a labour of love, totally no-profit. It wants to celebrate the incredible talents of Mitsuji-san, which sadly passed away in 2008 at 48. Needless to say, his design intuitions will live forever.