Puzzle Bobble (パズルボブル Pazuru Boburu), also known as Bust-a-Move, is a 1994 arcade puzzle game (for 1 or 2 players) created by Taito Corporation. It is a simple game based on Taito's popular 1986 arcade game Bubble Bobble, featuring characters and themes from the original. The game's characteristically "cute" Japanese animation and music, along with its play mechanics and level designs, made it successful as an arcade title and spawned several sequels and ports to home gaming systems.
Two different versions of the original game were released. Puzzle Bobble was originally released in Japan only in June 1994 by Taito Corporation, running on Taito's B System hardware (with the preliminary title "Bubble Buster"). Then, 6 months later in December, the international Neo Geo version of Puzzle Bobble was released. It was almost identical aside from being in stereo and having some different sound effects and translated text.
The Neo Geo version could be set to display the alternative title "Bust a Move", which was used in United States, Canada, and sometimes in Europe. This mode also featured anti-drugs and anti-littering messages in the title sequence.
At the start of each round, the rectangular playing arena contains a prearranged pattern of coloured "bubbles". (These are actually referred to in the translation as "balls"; however, they were clearly intended to be bubbles, since they pop, and are taken from Bubble Bobble.) At the bottom of the screen, the player controls a device called a "pointer", which aims and fires bubbles up the screen. The colour of bubbles fired is randomly generated and chosen from the colours of bubbles still left on the screen.
The fired bubbles travel in straight lines (possibly bouncing off the side walls of the arena), stopping when they touch other bubbles or reach the top of the arena. If a bubble touches identically-coloured bubbles, forming a group of three or more, those bubbles—as well as any bubbles hanging from them—are removed from the field of play, and points are awarded.
After every few shots, the "ceiling" of the playing arena drops downwards slightly, along with all the bubbles stuck to it. The number of shots between each drop of the ceiling is influenced by the number of bubble colours remaining. The closer the bubbles get to the bottom of the screen, the faster the music plays and if they cross the line at the bottom then the player dies and the game is over.
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