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Developer: Taito OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Acclaim 1-2 Player
Game Type: Puzzle Memory Card
Review Date: May 1998 Standard Joypad

Setting the Scene

Hello, my name is Chris and I am a Bust-a-Moveaholic. I've been
attending all the meetings and getting to know some of the other people
with the same problem as myself; they all seem pretty normal but I know
they're all suffering from the same terrible addiction that I am. My
addiction started 2 years ago with Bust a Move 2, many days and nights
were spent playing this game. I lost a whole year of my life, I
neglected my family, my friends and my dog and they all eventually ended
up leaving me to my dreaded affliction. I finally overcame my addiction
and over time I regained control of my life. 4 weeks ago it all came 
tumbling down. All my hard work has been destroyed by an evil game, 
more addictive than before, it was called Bust a Move 3DX.

So it's a sequel, the big question is whether this version is better or
just another money making scheme produced in order to exploit the masses
who are struggling with their Bust a Move 2 addiction.


It's a Puzzle game, simple as that.


Since 3DX is a sequel to the original Bust a Move 2, it's probably best
to describe the graphics in this new game based on a comparison with the
old version. Luckily for us, Taito haven't messed with the simple
graphics at all, a few small graphical improvements, the addition of a
few new characters and a couple of extra animations and you have 3DX.
Again, we're not here for 3D polygon graphics or texture mapping and
light sourcing, we're here for the gameplay.

Sounds and Effects

Nothing has really changed here. The music is essentially the same, the
same old memorable, happy tunes have been re-mixed slightly but will
have you bobbing your head and tapping your toe as usual. The sounds
effects likewise, have remained untouched, the stupidly cute Japanese
voice samples remain, a few extra voice effects for the characters and a
few minor improvements have been made, but essentially the sounds remain
the same.


For the uninitiated, a quick explanation of the game: essentially you
start each level in the game with a collection of coloured bubbles on
the screen, you must shoot other coloured bubbles at the collection in
order to match up three of the same colour to eliminate them. When you
have cleared all the bubbles on one level you progress to the next.
Overall a pretty simple concept but surprisingly fun and addictive.

Luckily for us, Taito made the wise decision not to change the rules or
playability of the original. This may disappoint a few gamers who were
keen to see the Bust a Move series evolve but I feel that the charm of
the game is the simple gameplay and speed. Rejoice BAM fans, It's all
still there. Of course, in order to sell this version they have added a
few new features, I'll get to them soon. 

Bust a Move has an X factor, the factor what makes it so attractive and
addictive but is hard to describe, to put in words. What is it the makes
this game so easy to play?, how can a game so simple be so addictive?,
why would you keep playing level after level when they all pretty much
look the same? (to the untrained eye). I can't tell you the answer,
you've got to play it to understand the power this game has over the
human mind, and until you play you'll not be able to understand anyway,
so I won't even try. 

With that in mind, it's probably best just to list the features of this
version of the game. There are 4 modes of play in 3DX, Arcade,
Challenge, Win Contest and Collection. 

* In Arcade mode you can play by yourself, versus the computer or
versus a friend in split screen mayhem. In two player mode you compete
with your opponent trying to bust as many bubbles as you can, the more
bubbles you break the more get added to your opponents screen. This mode
is fun and annoying at the same time.

* Challenge mode is probably the nicest addition to the gameplay. You
choose from one of 10 or so characters (each character has different
puzzles) and progress through 5 sets of 5 puzzles. Each set of 5 puzzles
has a criteria for success (speed, accuracy, popping the most bubbles)
you are given a grade at the end of each set based on speed, technique
and strategy, and a final score at the end. This mode is a whole bunch
of fun and adds to the addiction as you try and beat your older ratings.

* Win Contest mode is the same as Arcade mode but only allows play
versus the computer with a new set of different puzzles. 

* Finally, Collection mode where you get to play through an incredible
1025 different puzzles, if that doesn't keep you interested maybe you
should give up your job as an international jetsetter and brain surgeon
rock star and settle down a bit.

Bubbles, that's what this game is all about, so what have they done with
the bubbles? They're still there, in their various colours, the special
bubbles also remain with a couple of additions that are better
discovered as you play. 

If that isn't enough and if by some chance you are sucked into a black
hole and find enough time to complete all 1500 (or more) puzzles in the
game, I suggest you give the edit mode a try. The edit mode gives us the
ability to create and edit our own puzzles and of course, to play them.
The edit mode is a little tricky to get accustomed to but once you know
a few rules concerning successful puzzle building you'll be torturing
your friends and neighbours with your fiendish creations. The edit mode
gives 3DX unlimited replayability that not many games possess these

Value for Money

Here's a little formula used in the calculation of value for money.
Multiply the number of levels by the number of hours you'll spend
playing and again by the number of replays, then divide by the price.
Most games score somewhere between 3.2 and 5.5. With more then 1500
levels, the ability to edit your own puzzles and an unexplainable
addictive quality, Bust a Move 3DX scores 46875. Enough said.
(this formula is, of course, fictitious, but it serves to prove the

GRAPHICS: 10/20 You're probably asking yourself: "If I already have Bust a Move 2, why would I bother buying 3DX". The simple answer is, if you enjoyed the first there's enough new stuff in 3DX to keep you interested and get you hooked all over again.

If for nothing else, buy 3DX for the puzzle editing feature alone, if not for that, for the 1500+ new puzzles, if not for that, for me, please, just for the reassurance that I'm not alone.

I should probably give this game a lower rating, for the good of the world, the number of hours gamers are bound to spend playing this game are probably better spent outside kicking a ball or interacting with other human beings. However, I've got to be honest, Bust a Move 2 was a brilliant game and 3DX is even better. Go buy it now.
SOUND: 4/10
VALUE: 20/20


GRAPHICS: Poor Like many men out there, I struggle to find any game that my partner will play for more that a few minutes. She hates shooters, fighters, adventures - you name it and she refuses to play it.

Bust-a-Move 3 is one of only 3 games that she will play. The others are Super Puzzle Fighter Turbo and Bust-a-Move 2.
I guess its the vague similarity to "Tetris" that appeals, but I must thank Taito for being one of the only companies who has managed to crack the female mind!

The game is frighteningly similar to the original and so is only an essential purchase if you have never played the first game or are in need of some new levels to play, otherwise I would suggest renting before you buy

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