A child’s coloring book come to life.
PLAYERS: 1-2 alternating
RELEASE DATE: June 1991
You don’t need a machine to make a rainbow. I learned this from Rainbow Islands. Bubby and Bobby, the game’s protagonists and former dinosaurs from Bubble Bobble, make rainbows appear with the power of their imagination. Best of all, they use them for everything. Need some stairs? Stack a few rainbows together! Enemies up in your grill? Drop ‘bows on ’em! The boss nagging you to finish that latest report? Tell him to shove off – with a rainbow! There are eight “islands” comprised of four stages each. Each stage has you moving upward and using your rainbow power to destroy enemies and collect treats. Collect every item you see, whether it be a tiara or a hot fudge sundae. Most of the items will just give you points, but some actually help you progress. Best items: stars destroy all enemies on screen, magic shoes make you move faster, and magic pots enable you to spit out two rainbows at once. If you trap an enemy under a rainbow and proceed to jump on it, the enemy will leave behind a diamond. Do this seven times per stage to spell out the word “RAINBOW.” After you defeat the boss of each island, he’ll drop a big diamond. Collect all seven of the big diamonds to unlock a special eighth stage. The stages don’t have a timer, but you’ll want to move quickly. If you dilly-dally with your rainbows, the stage will flood. And, as we all know, floods make rainbows disappear.
Rainbow Islands is the true sequel to Bubble Bobble (take that, Bubble Bobble Part 2!) and a far more rewarding experience. Instead of just shooting enemies with your bubbles – or, in this case, your rainbows – for ninety-nine levels and calling it a game, Rainbow Islands challenges you to use your weapon in creative and progressive ways. The stages are colorful and well-constructed, the music chipper and unobtrusive. The difficulty increases steadily, but isn’t overwhelming. Rainbow Islands, like the best games, feels effortless in its design. It is a joy to play.