Title Bubble Heroes Game Type General Action Company Arcadia Developments/Crystal Interactive Software Players 1 or 2 HD Installable Plays from CD Compatibillity AGA or Graphics Card versions Submission Daithi O'Cuinn Review Back when the Amiga was mainstream (yes, remember those days, when you could walk in to a high street shop and browse?) we all got used to a certain quality of game. Money and effort was poured into getting games looking slick and professional. But then there was the great regression - in the wilderness years when the Amiga was ownerless, new games became the domain of the bedroom coder once more. And it was embarrassing. As PC games got flashier and flashier, their Amiga counterparts could hardly muster up a decent FMV between them all. Not that FMV is the be-all and end-all of course. But we were treated to a succession of games that were sub PC-shareware quality. It was a bleak time for the Amiga gaming scene. So then there was a breakthrough, heralded by the illegal porting of stolen Quake source code. So recently the Amiga market has subsisted on a steady trickle of ported PC games. But now there seems to be something of a resurgence - the bedroom programmer is back with his homegrown software, and he's been polishing his skills in the meantime! One of this new wave of original Amiga-only games is Bubble Heroes. Sure, it's a knock-off of Puzzle Bobble, but it's so stylishly implemented you can't help but love it. Running on either AGA or RTG, it's a simple idea well executed. In case you are unfamiliar with this type of game (also appearing on the Playstation as Bust-A-Move) it invovles firing bubbles which stick to a constantly descending ceiling. Get three or more of the same colour connected, and they disappear, along with any bubbles which relied on them for support. Clear the screen of bubbles and you win, let a bubble descend past a certain point, you die. Simple as that! The skill involves picking your angles (bouncing off the walls first if necessary - the bubbles are fired from a rotatable cannon) and thinking quickly. Guide your hero (choose from three Anime style characters) through a succession of increasingly challenging worlds, fighting a boss at the end of them. The bosses taunt you with some charming pidgeon English (though this is no doubt the result of the Italian develpoment team, rather than some canny attempt to cash in on the recent "All Your Base" style Engrish fad!), and the game keeps the variety up by having a few different modes (as well as the obligatory 2 player mode). It's all firmly 2D, though the backgrounds have a few nice dual playfield and animated touches to keep it all visually appealing. There are some hilarious animated effects for the characters, as they hop about in joy or anguish at the progress of the match, often accompanied by cute sound effects. My favourite is the compulsively polite frog who apologises profusely when he's performing badly, and the tree boss who sprouts flowers when he pulls off a good move. Bad points? Sometimes you progress more through luck than judgement, I suppose, and it does crash on exit on my system, but this may be due to my running of MCP which the manual advises against when playing the game. I suppose it's also startlingly unoriginal, but it's the best Amiga implementation of this genre so far. I was going to end this review with the standard "if you like this type of game, get it." But as well as being a trite little reviewing cliché, it's also not entirely true. For frankly, I didn't think I liked this sort of game at all, but after what was supposed to be a cursory glance at the demo, found myself completely hooked. So, get yourself a great little game and support Amiga development in the process, and pick up Bubble Heroes.