Rainbow Islands (aka The Story of Bubble Bobble 2) is the sequel to Bubble Bobble and was released for the arcades by Taito in 1987. Conversions followed to many 8bit/16bit home platforms, gaining great success (as almost all games from the Bubble Bobble saga)! Note that there were two different versions for the NES. One released in the US/Japanese markets and one in Europe, both being quite different!
STORY / GAMEPLAY The basic premise of the game is that each level is an island which is slowly sinking into the sea. There are seven islands in total, each one split into four main stages. You must reach to the top of each level by jumping on platforms and using the game's most distinctive feature: the ability to fire solid rainbows used both as platforms to stand on and as weapons to kill or trap enemies (remember the gum bubbles in Bubble Bobble). Rapid rainbow firing is your key to success in order to get as high as possible. But building your "rainbow platforms" is often a tricky thing. While initially appears to be quite a simple game, Rainbow Islands has a vast number of secrets for the player to discover including secret levels, secret power ups and solving riddles. You can collect 7 special jewels from downed enemies. The end level bosses are gigantic and quite tricky to defeat. Due to these elements, completing the game properly requires some dedication and patience. The NES version is good, offering almost intact the fast action of the arcade. The game's European version (developed by Ocean) is much closer to the arcade game while the Japanese and North American versions have different level designs and story (the gameplay is the same).
GRAPHICS / SOUND The graphics are fine but limited to the, rather awkward, NES color palette in the US/Japanese version which makes them look washed-out. Note that the last three screenshots are taken from the EU version and the others are taken from the US/Jap version). The sprites move smooth and fast on screen and though the background detail is quite limited, the platforms are nicely drawn with a variety of designs. The sound is fine and offers "cute" tunes along with a few nice sound effects which are always present in every move you make. The US version also uses a different music theme when compared to the Japanese version. The Japanese version offers the original (coin-op) music (Note: our music sample below is from the US version).
GAMEPLAY SAMPLE VIDEO
On our video below you may watch a variety of Rainbow Islands versions. The NES version is at 14:59.
CPU: Ricoh 2A03 8-bit processor (MOS Technology 6502 based) at 1,79MHz MEMORY: Boot ROM: 64 kbit (8 KB) to 2048 kbit (256 KB) Main RAM: 64 kbit (8 KB), can be supplemented by game cartridges Video RAM: 128 kbit (16 KB) GRAPHICS: YPbPr 64-color palette supporting resolution of 256x240 with 32 colors at once and 64 hardware sprites. SOUND: five mono sound channels and PCM sound (7bit values)