It never rains, but it floods

Rainbow Islands logo

A LONG time ago, in an arcade far away, I came across the cult classic, Bubble Bobble. If ever there had been a more ridiculous set of heroes than a pair of bubble-spitting lizards, I had thankfully spared them.
But the two saviours of bubblekind were a real hit. Girlies everywhere queued up in their lunch hours just to bounce on a few balloons.
It is not over yet. The human race is to be further subjected to severe doses of cuteness. Bub and Bob have returned, looking slightly more human, in Rainbow Islands.
This time they are not out to save people from unspeakable danger or anything like that. They just want to get from one end of the picturesque archipelagos to the other. Selfish, or what?

There are seven islands in the chain, each dominated by some strange sub-species which are definitely not on friendly terms. Such adversaries include spiders, crows, tanks, bats, balls, spheres (no I do not know what the difference is either), robots and dragons. So there you go. Looks like some form of weapon might come in handy.

Unfortunately, B&B no longer have the ability to spit bubbles capable of supporting their own weight. Nowadays they have to make do with creating rainbows. I would have thought the ability to produce diffraction phenomena at will would have led to better career opportunities than this...?

Rainbows can, like the bubbles before them, be walked upon by our heroes. They can be used to incapacitate the foe or to collect objects. Jumping on a rainbow causes it to break - it is true, I have seen it! - destroying or collecting anything below.
Of course, all this rainbow business is not without its drawbacks. After a wile the island will begin to sink. Whether this is to do with the greenhouse effect is not adequately explained.
Bub and Bob should stop using aerosols if they want to survive 'cos once the tide starts coming in it looks like North Wales in March.

And so our rainbow warriors progress, climbing to the top of the screen in each level, collecting bonus fruit on the way. Some of the objects found are a lot more useful than fruit. A shoe will give extra speed on the ground, while the potions will enable faster and longer rainbows.
Each island also contains a secret room, a bit like Bubble Bobble. The way to access these rooms remains secreat but if you follow the same plan as in the prequel you won't go far wrong.

The end of each island, if you can bring yourself to kill all those horrible cute baddies, is guarded, reasonably enough I suppose, by a guardian.
This is usually a sort of jumbo mutant-sized version of one of the creatures you have already encountered. They do not look quite so cute when they take up most of the screen. The tune is a bit annoying, not as good as the Bubble Bobble soundtrack. Incidental effects do not vary much from the standard formula, but they are good enough.

If you like action but draw the line at the sight of intestines, then you won't find much better than Rainbow Islands. There is lots of it too. Terribly uncool, though.

Rainbow Islands logo Format Gold

Ocean £24.99 * Joystick

After much confusion and uncertainty, this fantastic conversion of the Taito coin-op has finally arrived on the Ocean label. The stars of this one or two player game are two characters called Bub and Bob (no relation) who you may remember from their earlier adventures in a Firebird game called Bubble Bobble. They were turned into bubble-blowing brontosauri by the evil Boss of Shadow and only after much struggling did they regain human form. It was then they decided to get away from it all, to live in peace and tranquillity on an archipelago known as The Rainbow Islands.

Unfortunately, the Boss of Shadow found their hideout. With the help of his minions he has rounded up all the inhabitants of the islands and is holding them prisoner. Naturally, only Bub and Bob can rescue them.

There are seven islands in all (one for each colour of the rainbow) and each island is made up of four stages with an end-of-level guardian sitting at the top of the last stage. It is a vertically-scrolling platform game in which you guide your character in the top of each level. Of course it is not that easy as the BoS has loads of his minions running and flying around and contact with any of these causes you to lose one of four lives.

To combat the baddies you are armed with - guess what? - rainbows. Hitting a baddie with a rainbow causes it to turn into a juicy lump of fruit or cream cake or flower or something of that ilk and collecting the goodies (no relation) scores you points. There is an added advantage in that every third baddie killed turns into a magical item - such as running shoes to speed up your character, or potion bottles which increase the speed and reach of your rainbows (first doubles them triples). Then there are other random items which give you a small fairy drone, and, if you are really lucky, ones that bring huge bags of points flooding from top of screen.

As well as being a weapon, your rainbows are also extremely useful of bridges, so you can shoot them out and walk across them to reach other platforms. There is a problem with rainbows though - you cannot jump onto them and they disappear after a while.
Then there are the diamonds. Occasionally a killed baddie will turn into a coloured diamond which you can collect for extra points (pick them up in the right order and secret rooms are revealed at the end of the island).

Run, jump and work your way up the screen - but do not take too long or the baddies turn red and angry and speed up. If you are really tardy, water rises from the bottom of the screen to drown you when it covers your head.

The Japanese really have turned coin-op games designing into an art form and they are so devious at it! Remember Space Invaders, in which you had to hit the spaceship exactly on every 22nd shot so that you could get a guaranteed bonus of 300 points?
Well, the intracies of game design have come a long way since those early days, but the Japanese designers are sill just as devious. Recently, games like Super Mario Bros and New Zealand Story have been full of little extras for the player to discover - and Rainbow Islands is no exception.

There are warps to find, secret rooms, extra bonuses and a whole heap of sub-games to play once you really get stuck into it. Should you manage to complete the game you can then spend months trying to find all the weird and wonderful tricks that are there: but naturally you are not given any clues to how you can find them.

Just to get you started off, though, here is a little hint. Try collecting all the diamonds in the order of the colours on the rainbow - starting with red, then orange and so on all the way to violet. Do this all on one world and you can get to the secret room.
Remember, you can determine which colour a diamond will be by killing a baddie on a certain part of the screen, i.e. kill a baddie on the far left of the screen and it will produce a red diamond - kill one on the far right and it will produce a violet one. All the other colours are in between the two.


As you would expect, the graphics are very cute - all the nasties look harmless enough until you run into them. They are also very bright and colourful and everything has been well drawn and animated. The jaunty soundtrack is great and the occasional effects are fine. A great cutesy game that is an audio visual treat.


It is tough, so it will take you ages to play through the seven islands, but practice really does perfect and once you learn where the baddies are coming from you will be prepared for them. You will be playing this for hours at a time and whenever you can.


What a cracking game! It is supremely addictive, completely playable and thoroughly enjoyable. This is a classic game from the Super Mario Bros school of games design that will have you glued to the monitor for a very long time. There is just so much in the game it is a credit to whoever designed the coin-op, and the conversion is superb...

Und Jimmy ging zum Regenbogen... Rainbow Islands

Rainbow Islands logo Amiga Joker Hit

"Bubble Bobble" war 1987 einer der Hammerautomaten in den Spielhöllen, und auch die Heimumsetzung für unsere "Freundin" konnte sich wahrlich sehen lassen. Ein Nachfolger ließ da natürlich nicht lange auf sich warten: Vorhang auf für ein neues Plattform-Game der Extraklasse!

Das Spielprinzip ist schnell erklärt: Zwei putzige Helden müssen sich regenbogenwerfend zum Ausgang durchkämpfen, stets auf der Hut vor allem möglichen Getier, das da durch die Gegend kreucht und fleucht. Auf ihrem Weg ergattern sie so nebenbei noch verschiedene Extras und Bonuspunkte. Wie Schon beim Vorgänger gibt es wieder zahllose Überraschungen, die den Spielspaß noch verdoppeln!

Was ist nun anders an Rainbow Islands? Nun, aus den beiden schnuckeligen Sauriern Bub und Bob sind zwei nicht weniger niedliche Männchen geworden, die Evolution macht's möglich! Es gibt keinen Zwei-Spieler-Simultan-Modus mehr - schade, denn bei "Bubble Bobble" war es immer ein Heidenspaß, sich gegenseitig die feinsten Extras wegzuschnappen.

Die Runden sind viel größer, außerdem wird jetzt gescrollt, und zwar makellos! Naheliegenderweise haben sich die Blasen des ersten Teils nunmehr in Regenbögen verwandelt. Eine weitere Neuerung: Wer sich durch eine Insel gekämpft hat, bekommt einen extra-großen Endgegner serviert, der natürlich besonders schwer zu knacken ist.

Apropos Inseln: Jede hat ihre eigene Thematik, so schwirren etwa auf der ersten lauter Insekten herum, die zweite ist mit mechanischem Kriegsgetier bevölkert, und die dritte beherbergt kleine Frankensteins, Fledermäuse usw. Alles garantiert ohne Blut und Todesschreie, dafür zuckersüß gemacht und prächtig animiert! Hinsichtlich Aufmachung, Grafik und Sound gibt es kaum Unterschiede zum Automaten, außer dass die geheimen Inseln fehlen, was sich aber durchaus verschmerzen lässt.

Für die Umsetzung zeichnet ein Team prominenter Programmierer verantwortlich: Andrew Braybrook, der uns schon auf dem C64 "Paradroid"(kommt jetzt für den Amiga!) und "Uridium" bescherte, John Cumming und Dominic Robinson (Zynaps), Steve Turner (Rana Rama) und Jason Page.

Also alles sehr begabte Jungs, aber "Bubble Bobble 2" umzusetzen, war auch garantiert kein Kinderspiel! Schließlich hat der Taito-Automat mit seinen sieben Levels à vier Runden weit mehr Grafik als good old "Bubble Bobble" in all seinen 100 Bildern. Doch die Mühe hat sich wahrlich gelohnt: Rainbow Islands ist (bei ähnlichem Spielprinzip) sogar noch besser als die "New Zealand Story", und das will schon etwas heißen! (mm)

Rainbow Islands logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Price: £24.95

At last we have a piece of software that pushes the boundaries of the human imagination in no less than two categories. Not only is it the most perfect arcade conversion to date, it's also the most sickeningly cute game ever to appear. So cute in fact, that it makes The New Zealand Story look like a Stephen King movie. Just listen to the plot.

Bub and Bob (remember them, the really cute dinosaurs from Bubble Bobble) are back, only now they've evolved through a couple of million years and are cute little sexless humans in dungarees. These are no ordinary humans, however, these are humans with a mission. The seven Rainbow Islands are in danger of being destroyed by the Boss of Shadow, who intends to take over the seven islands and turn all the residents into disciples. You, taking the part of Bub or Bob (or both in two player mode) have to traverse 28 levels (four an island) of fun and adventure.

Each level is composed of a vertically stacked series of scrolling screens each full of things like platforms, nasties and sweets. The platforms are there to help you get to the top of the level, where the goal line is set. Take it that far and you're presented with lots of bonus items and a wonderfully feeling of accomplishment. The bad guys are there to stop you, and what a lovely assortment of characters they are. They range from sweet little hedgehogs and ladybirds to cute little tanks and bomber planes on the combat island. The bad guys are there to stop you from getting to the top of the level and this they do any way they can, either by launching some sort of projectile at you, or simply by running into you.

And now we come to the most revolutionary thing about the game design, your weapon. Easily the single most versatile weapon ever to fall into the hands of an evolved Homo Sapien, the rainbow. The rainbow can be sued in many ways to eradicate the bad guys. You can hit them with it, you can trap them under it and jump on it to kill them, or just leave them under one to die.

There are also various ways you can enhance your weapon. By collecting special potions you can develop your rainbow to a double rainbow, even a triple rainbow. You can speed up the firing rate and even yourself by collecting the infamous bubble bobble running shoes.

Rainbow Islands

To say Graftgold's work is a fair translation would be unfair. It is exactly the same as the coin-op. It looks identical, it sounds identical, and it plays identically. Veterans of the arcade game will have absolutely no problems getting to grips with it, and once newcomers have it mastered it's odds on they'll be able to get a fair way into the arcade version (assuming they can find one - Ed).

The graphics are brilliant. Colourful and full of character, even our miserable Ed melted at the sight of a screen full of rainbows and ladybird. And that is its attraction.

It's just one of those games that it's almost impossible to get frustrated at. Almost.

The sound is excellent too. Loads of cheeky spot effects and a remixed version of 'Somewhere over the Rainbow'. Come on gran, get those knees up.

A brilliant game. Perhaps not the most lasting of games though there's a darn sight more to it than Bubble Bobble. Buy it. Please.

Rainbow Islands logo Zero Hero

Somewhere over the rainbow you'll find Richard 'Tin Man' Pelly and Paul 'Cowardly Lion' Lakin taking a break from vandalising the yellow brick road and playing Ocean's new platform game.

Bub is a young nipper who, rather than watching Rainbow on telly, prefers to shoot the things at dirty great spiders and fork lift trucks whilst clambering up the sides of mountains. Hardly appropriate behaviour for someone of his tender age. However, he has good reason to do so because Mr Meany Pants himself, Baron Von Blubber, has whipped Bub's girly off to The Rainbow Islands. All this after Bub (with help from his chum, Bob) went to the trouble of rescuing her in Bubble Bobble (the prequel), with hardly even a chance for them to have a snog between games! Tch! This time though, Bob's stayed home, leaving you - as Bub - to handle the action.

There are four vertically scrolling rounds in each of the seven islands which you must conquer, each island having a different theme with different baddies. For example, there's Insect Island with lots of trucks and things, and Arkanoid, island which bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain game. At the end of each level there's also a mega-nasty to deal with.

Fortunately, at the touch of a button (fire, actually) you can create lots of rainbows, which are dead handy for walking across, jumping onto, ironing socks and cleaning windows with. Fire one directly at a nasty and a piece of fruit will appear. Trap one underneath a rainbow, or break one above his head and a large bonus appears. Yep, I lurve bonuses and Rainbow Islands is riddled with 'em; new ones pop up on every level.

Well, that's the game in theory but how does it play? Read on...

Atari ST reviewRich: I wouldn't say that Rainbow Islands is very good on the ST. Nope. 'Bleedin' ber-illiant' is a slightly better way of putting it. Playability-wise, it's got it all (and more besides). It's simple, controls are user-friendly and once you've started playing, addictiveness is the name of the game.

Graphics are a tad on the jump-out-of-the-window-with-amazement side too. Check out the tremendous detail of the backgrounds, characters and the brillo animation. Sound is also pretty darn good, with a different groovy tune accompanying each level and natty sound effects throughout. Rainbow Islands is one of the best games I've played in ages. If anyone's planning to buy a game for their ST, then this is the one to go for. Trust me, I'm a doctor...

Amiga reviewPaul: Rainbow Islands is very well put together with clear, colourful graphics and reasonably slick gameplay. There's a nice balance between difficulty and possibility with lots of encouraging little bonuses to pick up along the way.

The use of rainbows as weapons is an imaginative, if slightly cutesy, idea particularly as they can be used to trap as well as shoot nasties. It's also possible to walk up them but I found this a tad unreliable as they often crumbled away faster than granny's stodgiest crumble.

For most of the game the soundtrack is really impressive but at moments of great tension its cheery tinkly tinkly tune is guaranteed to drive you up the wall. While you're there you'll probably meet an end of level nasty and that, quite frankly, will be the end of you.

Rainbow Islands is a tough little cutie and will be loved by platform players. Stop

At the end of every rainbow there's a pot of Graftgold

Rainbow Islands logo

Firebird, C64 £9.99 cassette, £12.99 disk; Amiga £19.99

There's this baddy, you see, and his name is Von Blubba. Boo. Hiss. In the early days, before the creation of Rainbow Islands, Von Blubba was but an amateur nasty-piece-of-work, who relied on a few mad cronies and a spell or two to carry him through life.
Anyway, these two blokes, Bub and Bob, I believe their names were, took on Von Blubba and won, when he abducted their totty and transformed the lads into bubble-blowing dinosaurs (for more detailed background information, please refer to Bubble Bobble arcade machine and computer game).

Girlies back in their arms, Bub and Bob (now in human form again) went off and built the Rainbow Islands. And what a lovely place it was, too. Always sunny, always colourful, and always packed with tourists.
This particular summer, however, a less than friendly party of sightseers descended on the islands and their inhabitants. Fresh from his Nastiness Refresher Course, Von Blubba and his motley crew have hunted out the islands, captured their patrons and have begun work on demolishing the whole setup. Two people managed to escape from the clutches of their captors, though, and there are no prizes for guessing just who the pair are!

As Bub (and Bob - in two-player mode) it's your job to release Rainbow Islands' POBs (Prisoners of Blubba) from a fate too terrifying to contemplate. Beginning at the bottom of the vertical-scrolling play area, you must battle and bounce your way, using platforms, to the top of the island to free the captives. Sounds easy, doesn't it? It isn't. Cos there are a whole army of seemingly harmless, yet totally MMMEEEAAAANNNN beasties littering he skies, positively itching to do away with you. This is no one-sided scrap, mind you, for luckily you have a trick up your psychedelic sleeve. A devastating Rainbow Blasta spell which, as well as being a useful bridging device when stuck for a place to stand, disposes of baddies when they're hit by it.

Every time an enemy is killed, an object is left in its place. These objects can be one of a number of items, the type of which is dependant on your style of attack. Hit the meanie with the top curve of the rainbow and he'll change into a bonus-giving piece of fruit. Catch him with the underside of the weapon and a star appears where the nasty once stood. Collecting each of the differently coloured stars results in a very big bonus score.

A special item appears on the demise of every third baddy. What kind of item you receive is, once again, decided by the computer, which keeps a running total of in-game statistics (number of kills, etc). The list of handy gadgets is considerable, and includes running spikes (for a nippier getaway) two-hoop Rainbows (for a double dose of destruction) and three-hoop Rainbows (for a triple taste of terror!). At the end of each stage, an enormous (but sickeningly lovely) monster awaits you. Its thoughts tuned only on the abolition of its enemy (i.e. you). So, be prepared to do battle with a big, chinky snail with huge, little-boy-lost eyes, a big spider with huge, little-boy-lost eyes, a big... etc.

Once you have scoured all of the islands, freed the hostages and done away with the creepies, the game is over. But be careful! There are two ways to complete Rainbow Islands, and only one of them is correct! And guess what you've gotta do if you don't finish it properly? You've got it, bud - back to the beginning to try again!

Paul Rand Someone is going to get sick and tired of these cute coin-op conversions sooner or later. Until then, play Rainbow Islands to death, as it's easily the best of the bunch. And although the Amiga version is a fine programming achievement, bearing little difference to the arcade original, it's the C64 game which impresses me the most. Graftgold have had to write a full conversion of a 2Mb arcade machine for a 64K home computer. And it works. Well. Gameplay on both machines is furiously addictive, the multi-load not denting the player's enjoyment of the product one iota. Graphically the Amiga Rainbow Islands is, unsurprisingly, identical to the coin-op, with the C64's display being an admirable representation of the original's on-screen action. Everything moves so quickly too, considering the number of objects on screen at one time. Music and FX on both versions are similarly excellent, adding atmosphere and 'bounce' to the proceedings.
Rainbow Islands is a remarkable accurate conversion in both look and feel, with the 64 game deserving that bit more of a rave on technical merit.
Phil King Jolly little Japanese games are all the rage at the moment, and this latest from Taito and Firebird/Graftgold really hits the mark. Both version have been lovingly slaved over by the programmers, and it shows in the final product. Whereas Bubble Bobble was a close conversion of the original, it lacked any real complexity in the gameplay. Rainbow Islands on the other hand, is a good-looking piece of software, and it's got a lot of behind the scenes work going on, such as the statistics tables which the computer keeps, to determine which special object you're to receive. It looks good. It smells good. (Chomp Chew) By golly, it tastes good, too! Rainbow Islands is a must for fans of the coin-op, lovers of platform games, and everyone else.
Robin Hogg I can't lie. I adore the Rainbow Islands coin-op. I don't know why, it's just that those cutesy Japanese games intrigue me. These conversions intrigue me, as well. I'm intrigued to know just how Graftgold managed to cram so much of the original's features into a couple of home computers, and still retain the enormous feeling of pleasure which you get when tackling the coin-op. Some clever little routines have been utilised in the production of this game: the special items tally (the computer can automatically make your game simpler if you are continually being killed!), and the way the rainbow bullets arc their way onto the screen (the programmer told us that it took him ages to get that right!).
It looks as though Rainbow Islands has put Graftgold back on the right tracks. Pity it's driving me off the rails!!!