Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Matter of Import 66: Bubble Trouble [Arcade Software 1982]


Bubble Trouble is a 1982 Maze Chase game for the ZX Spectrum that casts the player in the role of a burglar. Each of the game’s 50 levels puts the player in a maze, from which they need to steal four treasures before the time runs out, pursued by a giant bubble that wants nothing more than to capture them.

The stage isn’t finished by grabbing all the treasures - the player must avoid the bubble for a full 60, 90, or 120 seconds, depending on the difficulty level. Higher difficulty settings likewise increase the number of bubbles to be avoided.

After the last treasure has been collected, point values begin to appear, in 200, 500, 700, and 1000 denominations. Collect two of each and a Question Mark will spawn that immediately cuts the maze short, sending the player to the next

Visually Bubble Trouble has the typical ZX Spectrum color pallets and outline sprites, something that’ll either appeal to the player or nauseate them. There’s no music, only the ticking of the clock as time runs down, accompanied by higher and higher-pitched fanfares as you collect treasures and points.

It’s not a hard game on its lower settings, and later stages aren’t really any more difficult than early ones, but small mistakes in play will creep in as you go. This makes it unlikely a player will make it through all 50 stages in one run. Fortunately you can start on any map you like when you start a new game, allowing you to experience as much of it as you see fit.

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