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Rainbow Islands (Commodore 64)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Martin Smith (63198)
Written on  :  Feb 21, 2004
Platform  :  Commodore 64
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
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Summary

As good a conversion as can be hoped for

The Good

There's a certain magic to this game that few others can come close to. The gameplay is brilliantly designed, with the rainbows adding all manner of seat-of-the-pants strategy. You can use them to 'shoot' bad guys, or trap them inside one's arc, or clip them with one. All the while you can let them go into just the right position so as to gain the gems you require, as which of the 7 colours you get depends on where the bad guy lands.

The seven levels are suitably varied in terms of the baddies on offer, with some having attack patterns and strategies that beggar belief in their intricacy, and well-drawn and colourful considering the limits of the system.

By scrolling vertically, and having the 'hurry up' feature forcing you to get to the top in a certain amount of time, the challenge is increased, and the tension is immense as you try to stay above water.

Controls are slick and responsive, and with no unexpected deaths or blind jumps (inevitable with the vertical scrolling) you know that every time you die, it's your own fault - something few platformers can claim.

The cutesy colours and music only add to the charm.

The Bad

The hidden fruit of the arcade game is gone, as are the secret islands (which werenn't even in the Amiga version), and some of the end-of-level baddies are a little too easy, especially Combat Island's helicopter

The Bottom Line

An unusual platformer, which like its predecessor Bubble Bobble (and sequel Parasol Stars) features gameplay largely structured around the use of a particular item - rainbows in this case. You fire them off with any contact killing bad guys. This can be on top of them, into them, or up at them. You start with only one, slow-paced rainbow, but up to 3 can be collected, as can a speed-up, as well as magic shoes which allow faster jumping.

The game is split into 28 levels across 7 different worlds, from Insect Island to Monster Island and Doh's Island, each featuring a variety of themed enemies. Each island ends with an end-of-level boss.

When bad guys die after being killed in particular ways, they release one of 7 coloured gems. Collecting all 7 in an island gives an extra life, but to complete the game properly you have to collect all 7 in the correct order, from red to violet in the order of the rainbow, every time. This'll take a while!