Bubble Ghost logo

CUTE is the right word to describe this rather simple but fun game. There are 40 screens to conquer and the objective on every one is exactly the same - to push a floating, iridescent bubble from one side of a room to the other without bursting the fragile sphere in the process.

The bubble-pusher is a small, appropriately dead-white ghost which is guided around the screen by moving your mose in the desired direciton. Pressing the left or right hand mouse button causes the phantom to rotate in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction Asteroids style.

The only means the ghost has of getting the bubble to move is by huffing at it - a press of the shift or space key causes the spook to puff out its cheeks and exhale. Providing the spook is close enough, the bubble will float away for a short distance, propelled by the ghostly breath.

As you know, ghosts can pass through solid matter and in this case such matter includes the bubble. However, although the ghost is immune from coming to grief on any objects, the bubble is not. Should it touch any solid item, the bubble will pop with a satisfying "Flink".

When this happens the little spook turns to face you, scowls and lets rip with a short burst of angry gibberish. The game is over when you've burst five bubbles - although extra bubbles, can be earned by taking a trickier route.

Each screen represents a room. The bubble is usually positioned on one side of the room with a least one exit at another - another includes the ceiling and floor.

Every room is different and in addition to an increasingly more difficult maze-like configuration of walls and passageways also features a variety of obstacles such as lit candles, electric fans, spikes, retracting needles and assorted pointy objects.

To add to the fun, a timer ticks away - the quicker you get the bubble to the exit, the higher the bonus. Failure to make it to the exit before your time runs out only results in your failing to score any bonus, not the loss of a life.

There are some neat points to the game. The ghost turns bright red and chokes if he puffs away for too long in one go - this temporary seizure is accompanied by the sampled sound of a cough and wheeze.

The ghost can blow other light objects beside the bubble. And trying to manoeuvre the bubble past a moving fan which blows it every which way is a real test of your patience and dexterity.

The title music is pretty good - unfortunately, it is only heard once, immediately after the initial loading - but the other sound effects are few and far between.

The graphics are fairly modest and uninspired and animation quite limited, although the ghost is nicely realised - cute and cuddly, if you like that sort of thing.

Although Bubble Ghost is quite novel and is enjoyable, harmless and ever-so mildly addictive, the fun and challenge per sound sterling does not represent a good long-term investment. Nice, but at this price not that nice.

Bubble Ghost logo

Infogrames/Ere Informatique
Price: £14.95 disk
£9.95 cass

Deep inside an old, dark castle, the spirit and soul of some nameless deceased have become separated and float aimlessly through the surreal rooms and corridors of the deserted building.

The person's spirit has taken the form of a smiling ghost (perhaps he hasn't realised he's dead yet) of the white-sheet variety, while the soul is encapsulated in a transparant bubble.

For some unexplained reason, the ghost is charged with guiding the bubble around the 34 flickscreen rooms of the castle, and while the ghost may be guided through the variety of obstacles in a suitably ethereal manner, the bubble is extremely fragile and bursts at the slightest contact. Since the ghost cannot actually touch anything, me moves the bubble by blowing it.

A tap on the SHIFT key on the fire button and the ghost puffs ut his little cheeks and the bubbles move accordingly, drifting along slowly until blown in another direction. Blow for too long and the spirit turns red.

As the bubble reaches the exit (a gap in the brickwork) the next screen slithers into view, and the ghost continues in this way until all 34 screens have been negotiated.

As can be seen from the screenshots, the scenery is typically French - i.e., odd! The rooms are full of weird objects, many animated, and are full of little 'gags' which facilitate the need to blow objects to help progress.

Bubble Ghost is a fairly original, if simple concept, but the gameplay is quite addictive. The novel control method is tricky to get to grips with - the 64 version requires the fire button to be used to blow and rotate the ghost by holding it and moving left or right on the joystick.

But it soon becomes second nature, and the bubble can be guided around with amazing precision: it wasn't long before I was whizzing through the screens - in fact, after only a few days' of play I had got through 27 of the 34 screens. This is fine for me, but rather more worrying for those of you contemplating shelling your hard earned on it.

Bubble Ghost is fun - but at a cost: if it had a cheaper price tag it might be a more viable proposition.

Bubble Ghost logo

Infogrames, £19.95 disk

A quick haunt around that cosy castle, a nifty screech at its occupants and a bit of telekinesis in a set of spotted designer sheets is all you'd set your heart on. 'It'll be a laugh', you thought to yourself, 'appearing at windows, sticking an axe through my left, carrying my head in my arms, walking around in suits of armour, letting rip with blood-curdling screams - well rad'. As it turns out, a laugh is just about the only thing you didn't get. A shame, because you got a lot more than you bargained for.

When the window you climbed through slammed behind you and the nasty rain was shut out, even your spectral form couldn't form couldn't pass through it again. There was... are you sure you're ready for this? It's not very nice... OK, brace yourself... (da-da-DAAA!) a wickedly nasty, horribly bloodthirsty, incredibly bad (urggggh!) EVIL FORCE living in the haunted castle (boo, hiss)!

Brian the terrible (and he really is terrible, you can't get much more terrible than Brian) has done a job on you good and proper. As if being a right nasty piece of work (and ugly too) isn't enough, he's nicked your eternal soul. Not that he wants to do anything with it: one look and he's totally bored, Brian would much rather tear a chicken limb from limb. In fact, he's just plain cruel (probably tore the legs off spiders when he was a kid) and leaves it bobbing tantalizingly in front of you, suspended in a soap bubble (the rotter!).

You're a ghost (but a very nice one, honest), so you can't exactly grab hold of it: touch it and your hand just goes right through. There's nothing for it - you've got to find another way of taking it with you when (or should that be if?) you escape.

So what can you do? Think, think, think, scratch your head a bit, think a bit more, summon op your guardian spirit... oh no that's in the bubble... eat a banana, take a bath, blow - yeah, that's it - blow the bubble about! Dead (geddit?) easy!

Dead easy my bottom! You have to flip around the bubble, huffing and puffing and puffing and following it about. And you've got to remember - this is the home of an evil spirit (boo, hiss - really loudy this time), so there are plenty of traps littered all over the shop: nasty impaling spikes that pierce the bubble, evil-looking heads (haven't they got any manner staring at you like that?) which block your path, fans to blow you off-course and you know what happens when a bubble crosses a candle flame, don't you?

But don't forget that bubbles aren't the only things that you can blow about (kyak, kyak! Quiet at the back, missus!). After all, what happens to candles when you blow at them?

Let's hope they're non-flammable designer sheets.

Gordon Houghton Fans of the cute and curious, take a look at this! Bubble Ghost is one of that increasingly rare breed, the totally original game. Furthermore, unlike many such oddities, the gameplay is not so way out that the player is left confused as to what's going on. In fact, the idea is very simple but success demands quite a bit of deft mouse-manoeuvering, especially as you progress to the later hall. The practice option is very handy indeed, but the game would benefit from a level select system. The early halls are too easy to provide a lasting challenge so it becomes slightly tedious to have to negotiate them to get back to where you were last game. But why am I being so pernickety when a game is as much fun as this? Erm, I don't know, now you come to ask...
Maff Evans Whenever I play games that have been converted from one 16-bit machine to another, I always think 'What will be different?', 'Will the gameplay be as good?' and other equally fascinating things (we get the general idea, Maff - Ed). I've played Bubble Ghost on the Atari ST a few times, and these questions cropped up when I loaded up the Amiga version. Luckily there was nothing to worry about. As soon as the impressive title screen appeared, backed by the amazing music, I realised that the programmers at ERE had used the extra power of the Amiga to good effect. The game itself has lost none of the addictive qualities of its Atari incarnation, in fact I'd say that the wonderful sampled effects make it even better! I know it may not look so great in the screenshots (and it's not that exciting to watch someone else playing) but then you have a go for yourself, that's when Bubble Ghost comes into its own.
Paul Glancey Anyone who thinks that computer games are lacking in imagination or originality at the moment would be forced to change their mind after playing Bubble Ghost. The concept of a ghost blowing his soul around a castle full of spiked objects is just so-o-o-o weird! Having said that, I have to stress that it's great fun to play, each screen requiring even more dexterous mouse handling than the last - things get very tricky on the later levels. A special mention must go to the game's use of sound, which comprises a catchy title tune (which Maff informs me is 'Well Atmospheric'), and some humorously appropriate sound effects, such as the ghost's hacking cough when he's made to blow for too long. If your software collection is crying out for something different, Bubble Ghost is just what you're looking for.

Bubble Plus logo

Fortsetzungen sind an sich schon immer ein bißchen dubios, aber der kaum veränderte zweite Teil eines Games, das es wesentlich billiger bereits auf einer Compilation gibt, ist schon fast ein Ägernis...

"Bubble Ghost" hat seinerzeit viele begeistert - es war eine originelle Variante des "Thrust"-Spielprinzips und gut zu spielen obdendrein. Diesmal gibt's dasselbe in grün: Ein kleines Gespenst hat sich mit seiner LieblingsSeifenblase in ein altes Schloß verirrt.

Um da wieder rauszukommen, muß es seine Blase durch 34 Räume pusten, natürlich an zahlreichen Hindernissen vorbei. Für jeden bestandenen Raum gibt's einen zeitabhänigen Punktebonus, d.h. Je schneller man es schafft, desto mehr Punkte bekommt man.

Gesteuert wird das Kerlchen mit der Maus, pusten tut er mit der Space-Taste (auch wenn die spärliche deutsche Anleitung da anderer Meinung ist!).

Die Level können vorher trainiert werden, was aber nur bei den höheren wirklich notwendig ist, denn das Spiel ist ziemlich einfach. Auch zwei Spieler dürfen (hintereinander) um die Wette pusten.

Die Grafik ist eher bescheiden, die Animationen dafür ausgesprochen süß: Das kleine Gespenst ärgert sich furchtbar, wenn seine Blase platzt, und falls man es mit dem Pusten übertreibt, läuft es knallrot an!

Der Sound hat außer der knackigen Titelmusik nur ein paar sparsame FX aufzuweisen. Eigentlich wäre Bubble + ein ganz passables Spiel, nur daß es halt den gleichwertigen Vorgänger zusammen mit drei weiteren Games (u.a. "Hostages"!) schon zum selben Preis gibt... (mm)