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A.P.I Review: Bust-A-Move 4
Developer: Taito OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Acclaim 1-2 Player
Game Type: Puzzle Memory Card
Review Date: April 1999 Dual Shock Compatible

Setting the Scene

Twin brothers Bub and Bob live on the calm and peaceful planet of Bubbleluna. One morning the sun failed to rise over the horizon. It is believed that the Fairy of the Night, Cleon, stole the Rainbow, the planets magnificent light source, under instructions from Full-Moon Madame Luna. She then divided it into seven different-colored light bubbles which were dispersed throughout the universe.

Join Bub and Bob on their journey across the universe to retrieve the seven lost light bubbles along with eight characters from eight other game worlds who found themselves suddenly transported to Bubble World. By battling brain busting boards of bubbles, its up to you to send them home!

Sound & Vision

Visually Bust-A-Move 4 remains close to the tried and tested 2D formula of the previous trilogy. I am assured that there have been improvements to the graphical content but this would probably only be spotted by a Bubble Bursting Connoisseur.

Here are the few improvements that I noticed. There are a few animated backgrounds which follow the theme of the story mode. Also, the characters are now much more active than before... leaping and gesticulating in the bottom corner of the screen (which I often found a little distracting when lining up that all important precision shot). The bubbles really stand out from the background looking as brilliant and colorful as the rainbow from whence they came. However the major improvement has to be the stunning effects that accompany each group of bubbles that are burst... it's not unlike a Chinese fireworks display as sparkles, stars, explosions and blinding flashes of light illuminate the entire screen.

Nothing much to remark on in the sound department. As with all other BAM games the volume is quickly lowered and the CD switched on. This allows you to play enjoyable background music rather than the incessant squealing of excited Japanese kids and annoying fairground music.

Overall the sound effects and graphical content of Bust-A-Move 4 certainly won't reap any major awards, but then that usually isn't the intent of quality puzzle games. The emphasis is purely on addictive gameplay that will keep you coming back time and time again.


If you are one of those hen-pecked gamers who really wants to purchase hard-core titles such as Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill, but are afraid that they would completely ruin your already unstable relationship, then why not try the Bust-A-Move trick... If you can't beat 'em... get 'em to join in. I have yet to meet a female who isn't completely besotted with this range of bubble bursting games. Of course the downside is that you must then share your beloved Playstation... but then isn't that what relationships are all about? However a word of warning... Bust-A-Move is a highly addictive pastime for one or two players therefore expect your sex life to suffer (that includes single people too).

Past BAM titles have offered masses of game modes. Bust-A-Move 4 includes them all and throws a few new surprises into the bargain. Get a load of these:

* Puzzle game includes an Arcade and a Story mode. Arcade involves clearing the screen in a game where there is no difference in each characters ability. Completing each group of levels allows your character to advance up the screen. Story version changes dependant on character selected. After clearing five stages a new location on the story map is selected. Clear 26 stages to complete this mode.

* Player vs CPU is a battle against a computer controlled opponent in Story mode or Win Contest mode offers over a 1,000 classic Bust-A-Move puzzles.

* Player vs Player is a split screen bubble bursting competition where both players select from the ten characters and fight to the death.

* Challenge Mode Climb the ladder to success where points are awarded for speed, strategy and technique. Complete each of the five groups and

* Edit screen allows the player to set up and design their very own Bust-A-Move puzzle screen and then proceed to complete it.

Playing the game could not be more simple. You begin with an assortment of different colored bubbles hanging down from the top of the screen. At the base of the screen are two more colored bubbles. One is already loaded into the launching pointer, while the other is the next color in line. By using the direction pad the pointer is aimed towards the groups of bubbles and then fired by using a desired face button. Minor adjustments in direction can be made by using the shoulder pad buttons. Should the launched bubble connect with two or more of the same color they will explode and drop all other bubbles that hang below. To complete the level all bubbles must be cleared.

Expect to come across special bubbles including star, metal, rainbow, and more even the all new pulley system where groups of bubbles must remain balanced while being systematically destroyed. There is also a new chain reaction feature in the two player mode where bubbles fly around and generate an explosive chain reaction.

GRAPHICS: 14/20 Bust-A-Move 4 provides hour upon hour of mega-gripping, brain-busting, bubble-blasting entertainment for all ages of the family. Every home should own a copy.

However should you already own one of the past versions then be warned that the gameplay (with a few improvements) remains very similar... busting billions of bubbles.
SOUND: 5/10
VALUE: 19/20


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