"This game stinks!"
Those were the first words out of my mouth when I started playing Super Buster Bros. Now that I've finished the game, I retract that statement. I have edited my former opinion and have revised it:
"This game is hard...but meh."
Don't try to argue with me here! Meh is totally a valid adjective!
Super Buster Bros. began as an arcade game and was later ported to the SNES. I can totally see the arcade aspect in the SNES version since almost every button you press does the same thing. Well, not every button—no game is complete without the "pause and reflect on your life choices" button! Ugh. Why didn't I go to law school? Why didn't I study harder in my Home Living class? Why am I playing a game where all I do is pop bubbles into smaller bubbles? Answer: I...don't know. What I do know is that although the game is frustrating and nothing special, I could not stop playing until I had finished it.
As mentioned before, the game mechanics are very simple. There is no jump or even a way to shoot diagonally (or down). The only direction you can shoot is UP. I guess this game can qualify as a "shoot-em-UP". This really frustrated me at first. There I was, desperately pressing all the buttons trying to find out which one shot in the different directions. I was appalled. Enraged. A little miffed. Once I sat down and thought about it, it's pretty understandable for an arcade game that's been ported. If I were at an arcade, I would probably waste a few quarters on it. However, originally being an arcade game does not excuse the game for not having so few options for which direction to shoot. Jumping would have been extremely helpful as well. When you're running around on the ground dodging tiny killer balls, a way to avoid losing all of your precious progress is very much appreciated. If you're stuck in a corner with a horde of balls bouncing at waist-level, that's too bad. You had better hope there's a ladder around, because you are going to have to play that level all over again!
Just call me Buster Brown! #1902WasWeird
Speaking of crying with frustration, these levels are difficult! Sometimes, the level designs border on being unfair due to their placement of balls at the beginning and the placement of platforms. If you don't observe the level and react quickly, you may lose all of your lives before you have a chance to go "Wait, what?" I'm actually surprised people were able to get to the end of the game! The game is like playing dodgeball with water balloons in a closet—except you aren't allowed to duck. You just have to stand there and take it in the face. Luckily, the game isn't too unforgiving. You'll get plenty of power-ups to aid you in your quest to take down those awful bubbles! Most of the time, the game will give you something to put a little more power into your...rope arrow gun? The best one to get was a power-up that gave your gun diagonal ammo. If you got that gun, you had at least a 25% increase in life expectancy. Another incredibly useful power-up was the shield. Occasionally, a drop of what appears to be blue toothpaste would drop from the sky and coat you in bubble damage repellant. These shields are a godsend since this game is a one-hit kill game.
The game will also send you friends to aid you in your heroic quest! A tiny horse will fly across the sky and will grant you goodies from above if you manage to murder it! Some stray crocodiles will come and eat the bubbles for you. I don't know where they come from or why they seem to have a raging appetite for deadly balls, but they clear the field for you and get you that much closer to finishing the level. Why they don't eat you is a mystery to me. Maybe they're vegetarian? Fireball people show up every few levels or so. They don't do much other than cry and float around if they happen to be hit. If one of the evil bubbles hits them, they will split the bubble into smaller bubbles. Not great if you get a group of them hovering around when you're trying to manage the chaos.
Overall, Super Buster Bros. isn't a bad game. It really doesn't stink as much as I initially thought it might. However, it is a fairly repetitive game that doesn't offer much more than the arcade aspect of it. I found myself wondering if this bubble-bursting dilemma would ever end. There are plenty of levels, but some of them will beat you so hard that you'll end up starting from the very beginning again. Extra lives are scarce and the rage is plentiful. I must admit though, I was determined to finish this game...and I did.
High score for me!
Not as high score for the game.