Friday, May 29, 2009

Buster Bros. (Pomping World)

Capcom / Hudson Soft

My stout brother Duomitri had been encouraging me to buy this game for ages before I finally got around to doing so. Just a few seconds after pressing Run, I wanted to kick Duomitri's ass. I guess Pomping World was a lot different from what I'd been expecting. I thought that bubbles would be raining down and that I'd have kick-ass weaponry with which to suppress the storm. Instead, there was one bubble lazily wafting about, and I had a weird harpoon-like thing to shoot it with. At that point, I didn't think the game would be much fun.

A few minutes later, I was singing a different tune. New weapons and other helpful items had appeared, creatures were flying and stumbling about the board, and bubbles were splitting and bouncing all over the place. It's so much fun to grab a gun and the shield power-up and blast those balls to shreds or to pick up the clock icon that freezes time and see how much damage you can cause to the paralyzed bubble army. And there's some complexity and deviousness to the actual board layouts, what with the presence of ladders and destructible platform segments as well as tight lanes and corridors.

The backdrops, depictions of various locations from around the world, are appealing, sometimes even quite nice, but I barely took notice of them, as I was so zeroed in on the man-vs.-bubble action. The pleasant-but-unassertive music met with a similar shunned fate.

I really can't complain about those elements; I think they serve well as they are despite the fact that they never receive much attention from me. But I can gripe a bit about the length of the adventure; I was addicted the first time I played through the game and wanted a whole lot more. Fifty-four stages might sound like plenty, especially when said stages take you all over the world and even into outer space (if you truly go the distance), but each one ends very quickly. An hour or two after I'd first sat down with the game, it was all over. Of course, the two-player mode boosts PW's replayability substantially and is considered by many to be the title's main attraction.

It would've been interesting to see how some larger boards would've turned out (I imagine that "taller" would have had a better chance at success than "wider"), as it seems like the designers did just about all they could with single-screen settings. Bubble-themed bosses might also have been welcome additions--and I mean villains who would've been larger and cooler than this round red goober:

But while I can hypothesize about various what ifs, the truth is that Pomping World is fine as it is. I'll probably still kick Duomitri's ass, but just for the heck of it, and not because I don't enjoy this game, as I certainly do.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Glad you liked it, puffy-nipples. The Playstation version is even better and has lots more stages.

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