Tag Archives: Unique Games

Unique Games: Bubble Ghost

There are plenty of great games on the Game Boy. Zelda Link’s Awaking, Donkey Kong, Tetris, Dr. Mario. The list goes on and on, but there’s one little incredibly underrated game that hardly anyone has heard of. And that’s Bubble Ghost!

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Bubble Ghost is a maze game, but unlike most maze games where you’re confined to the walls of a maze or labyrinth. In Bubble Ghost, you play as a ghost who can actually go through walls, however there’s a bubble floating about, and the little ghost wants to leave this old house with his bubble in tact. Issue is, there’s plenty of stuff there to burst your precious little bubble.

Be it spikes, flames, hard dryers, or even the heat emitted from candles can burst your little bubble. The idea is simple. You move from room to room, blowing your bubble away from any objects until you get to the final room whereby you can escape from the house with your bubble. The game has a total of 35 levels, and the GameBoy version has a great sound track. I had this game for quite some time and never thought about the game’s roots. I always thought that as it was released by Pony Canyon, a Japanese Software and media company, I thought it came from the east. But I was amazed to find out that it was originally developed closer to home…

Surprisingly, it was originally released on the Commodore 64 in France and later ported to the Atari ST and DOS in the US and Canada. What’s more interesting about this version is the fact that the ghost sprite looks different. Clearly the GameBoy version, had it’s design of the sprite not just so it would appeal to the Japanese audience, but so that it could fit on the GameBoy screens lower screen resolution so that it wouldn’t be too big on-screen.

The PC-DOS version of the game is now abandon-ware. Meaning that you can download the game without the fear of being accused of pirating. As Christophe Andrcani, the designer and programmer of the original game, doesn’t own the rights to it any more. Nor do Accolade, they went bust in 1999, and didn’t take the publishing rights of the game either.

Not only is the PC-DOS game abandon-ware, but there’s a remake of the GameBoy version done by Vision Software and Brothers Soft. You can download this right here.

Before I go though, here’s the music to the GameBoy game that brings back some good memories of gaming’s past!

Unique Games: Every Extend Extend

OK, OK, I’ve been very lazy recently with my blog writing, and I’ve hardly wrote anything for the week. So allow me to tell you about a unique game on the PlayStation Portable called Every Extend Extra…
Published by Q Games, the guys behind Lunines on the PlayStation Portable. Every Extend Extra is a very unique game that plays somewhat like a bullet hell sh’mup, but not quite…

Let me explain to you what’s happening in this video, it’s very hard to explain what’s happening unless you actual play the game. but the idea behind Every Extend Extra (I’ll just call it EEE from now on, too many words beginning with “E”) is that you move a bomb around the screen as enemies appear in groups, as you close in on an enemy, you press the X button to detonated the bomb, and you kill the enemy on the screen,  however you’ll lose a life too. But that enemy will explode too, and it’s explosion range can kill off other enemies, causing a chain reaction. The bigger the chain reaction, the more points you earn, the more lives, called extends, hence the name “Every Extend Extra”. The game is simply about timing explosions right to rack up huge chain reactions to earn lots of points and lives, however there is a little more to it than that. There are power up that need to be picked up, you’ll notice in the video above that there are white, green and pink enemies. These are your basic enemies, the white enemies are the most common, when you blow them up they don’t drop anything. Blowing up the green enemies will drop green crystals, these give you bonus points. Blowing up the pink enemies will drop pink crystals, these earn you a “Quicken”, which allows you to move the bomb quicker across the screen, but in turn will make the enemies move faster too. However in each stage, there’s a unique “Larger enemy”, simply called a mini boss. Mini Bosses can shoot lasers at your bomb, causing you to loose a life without detonating. but if you blow up a mini boss, they drop a yellow crystal, which give you more time on the clock when collected.
At the end of each stage, there’s a boss themed around the style of the level. The boss shown above is very much like a carousel, a carousel with KILLER LASERS! It attempts to lure you inside and zap you with lasers, but the idea behind the bosses in this game is to get them caught up in chain reactions from exploding grunts; and the more explosions it get caught in, the more damage it does. In this case, the killer carousel is made of two halves, and you’ll have to take each one out at a time. Though once one is gone, it’ll go into a shooting frenzy, and you’ll have to dodge bullets and wait for a good chance to get the second half caught in a huge chain reaction of explosions.
Let’s say you don’t want to play this game on the PlayStation Portable. You either don’t own one, and/or you’d rather play it on a big screen. Well you’re in luck sunshine! There’s a sequel made on the Xbox 360’s Live arcade called “Every Extend Extra Extreme”, or “E4” for short…
The Xbox Live arcade game is a little different to the PlayStation Portable game as there’s bosses or level progression, it’s all about building huge scores in an near endless game. The gameplay is identical to it’s PlayStation Portable counterpart, except there’s now a new rhythm game play element added to it. There’s a bar on the bottom of the screen that pulses, this acts like a metronome, the idea behind this is that when you detonate your bomb at the apex of the metronome bar, you earn a multiplier on top of the points you earn from your chain reaction. Adding to the rhythm elements of the game, you can add your own music to the game, where it will find out how many beats per second the song is, and builds the metronome bar around the musics beat.

But there’s one very good and insane reason to own E4, it’s crazy leaderboards! You might think hitting a million points in a game is good, heck hitting a billion points is god-like. Think again… Trillions of points! Adequately called “The Trillionaire’s Club”, this is one hell of a leaderboard! This makes Twin Galaxies look like a Cub Scout group! Sorry if that might offend people, I love the idea of Twin Galaxies, but when you have scores in the trillions, it’s a totally different story! Last time I looked, the person at first place scored something on the lines on thirty three trillion points! That’s insane! It’s a pure gaming marathon score that, and I would love to have three days to myself with no interruptions just to see if I could beat that score!

If you’re interested in getting these games, you can get the PlayStation Portable game new as low as £2.95 from the Game Collection website!

You can download Every Extend Extra Extreme from Xbox Live Market Place for 800 Microsoft Points.

Alternatively, if you’re one of those types who want all their games to be on physical discs. No fear! There’s a collection of Q Entertainment games on one Xbox 360 disc called “Qubed”. Though to be honest, it was released in limited numbers, and very hard to find, therefore people like to hike the price up a bit for it!

Unique Games: Dot Stream

In the final days of the GameBoy Advance in 2006, a collection of contemporary games were released in Japan called the Bit Generations Series. It was a set of seven games sold individually at a budget price, are were packaged in a unique box that were smaller than the standard Japanese GBA game boxes. Out of the seven games, one really stands out, it’s called Dotstream; if you’re a retro game fan, you’ll easily notice how it has a similarity to the likes of the Tron light cycles, or Intellivision’s Snafu, but this game is different, it’s actually a racing game!

So, how does a game like Tron and Snafu become a racing game? Well, I’ll tell you. The idea of Dot Stream is that you play as a coloured dot that constantly moves forwards and can shift up and down to change lanes. You don’t actually control the acceleration of your dot using the buttons, to get faster you have to get close to the colour line that’s in first place to increase your dot’s speed. No dot can have the same space, it’s hard to describe, but there’s lanes, you just don’t see them in the pictures, but when you play the game you’ll know what I mean by this. Unlike Tron or Snafu, Dots and lines can cross, but as mentioned before, a dot can’t be in the same “lane” that’s been occupied by another line, your dot just gets automatically moved to the next nearest “lane”. As you climb your way up to first place, you have to take advantage of zippers, avoid obstacles and pay attention to any dots that are speeding up behind you from your trail. You have 3 lives in each race, or “Drawing” as it’s called in this game, as your dot draws a line of course, if you lose all 3 lives in a track, you forfeit your chance to earn any points in the Grand Prix.

In later levels you can pick up items in similar vein to Super Mario Kart, you pick them up and can activate them using the A button. There are three items, a Star, a playback symbol, and a diamond. The Star when activated will darken the playfield that makes a higher chance of you opponent racers to crash into walls and obstacles. Activating the playback symbol causes the screen to go inverted and pauses your fellow racers as you continue to move for an extra 3 seconds to reach first place. The Diamond adds a booster shown in the bottom left hand corner of the screen, these boosters can then be used by pressing the R Button, they act just like the mushroom in Mario Kart.

The Dotted area shown here will slow you down if you touch it
You must avoid these obstacles, or you will lose a life

There are a total of 5 Grand Prix’s. When you come first in any of the Grand Prix’s, you unlock a “Formation” game. This isn’t so much of a racing game, but more of an “Avoid-em-up”. The first Formation game you unlock is where you collect pink orbs to increase a power bar at the bottom of the screen and avoid any in coming obstacles. The power bar is made up of squares, and filling up a square will earn you a new dot and line. This is where it gets tricky because you’ll be game over if the new dot hits an obstacle. You can control the new line by holding the A button and pressing up and down on the Dpad, however the first dot will move too. So it turns into a a juggling act as you try to manage to pick up more orbs to collect new dots, but try not to hit anything at the same time either. It gets very tough once you get 4 dots on the screen at once!

Dot Stream on the GBA didn’t get a Western release, nor did the other Bit Generation games, although there was a trademark made by Nintendo of America called “Digiluxe” that was rumoured to be the Western version of the Bit Generations games. However with the demise of the GBA, the Bit Generation series did get it’s way onto the DSi and the Wii with the “Art Style” name. In-fact Dot Stream got it’s own “Art Style” game called “Light Trax” on WiiWare. Light Trax pretty much is the sequel to the GBA Dot Stream game, and incorporates different directions, 3D camera angles, and a “Cruise” mode whereby you “drive” your dot on a highway, and drive through exits to unlock new Grand Prix’s.

That’s not all though, there are clones of Dot Stream on Xbox Indie games, there’s Stream Line (Above) and Bit Stream (Below). These two games play A LOT like Dot Stream and Light Trax.

Nintendo Power-esque TIP!

There’s a pit stop in each level of the game, stop at one and you’ll receive 9 boosts! Just be aware that you’ll be stopped until you fill up with all 9 boosts.