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Puzzle Bomber Plus
(Hyper Anime Studios)


"Monsters beware... Suzie the Monster-slayer's Back!"

Three demons of incredible power are being released from the monster balls, evil energy spheres of energy scattered throughout the world. Only Suzie, still fresh from her adventure against the evil dragons, can blow up the monster balls. But she must be extremely careful... the dragons are more aware of her now. Can Suzie scale the Earth, destroy the Monster Balls, and stop the demons from taking over the Earth?

Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
(Very Good)
Taking a complete backflip from the original, Hyper Anime Studios shows just how much it can handle in the graphics department. Whereas the animation in Puzzle Bomber looked simple, Puzzle Bomber pulled no stops when they put together the cinematics in Puzzle Bomber Plus. The most glaring difference is Suzie's new look, where she sports lilac hair and is more drawn-out than the original.

The story demos for Puzzle Bomber Plus (for which there are plenty) look great. Thanks to the power of the Future Library, the in-game demos that accompany Puzzle Bomber Plus look absolutely awesome. I wanted to make a double take because I didn't believe that QB could have such cinematics in a game. And even if QB could, I didn't think there was a QB programmer out there with the determination to put together demos like Hyper Anime Studios did. They really capitalized on the technology that was there.

As for the in-game graphics, there's still a bit of that notorious blinking that literally made the difference between a Perfect Graphics score and a Very Good graphics score. The demos in this game literally blew me away and the in-game graphics have the same level of quality, but I'm not going to give a perfect graphics score to a game that blinks. This holds true even for Puzzle Bomber Plus, which feels like it's actual Graphics score is more like a 4.99999 (round down).

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
Hyper Anime Studios threw in a soundtrack for Puzzle Bomber Plus that includes hits from Chrono Trigger and Tenchi Muyo. Particularly nice is the way the music synchronizes perfectly with the story demos.

Unfortunately, sound effects continue to be a sore spot for Puzzle Bomber Plus. There's only one sound effect you can hear, which is a big explosion sound. This only occurs when Suzie blows up multiple crystals with a single toss. And even then, there's that slight half-second delay before the explosion sound actually occurs.

Gameplay (n.)The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe vvv
Good. Not different from the original Puzzle Bomber is the concept of blowing up monster balls. What takes Puzzle Bomber Plus in a different direction from the original is the fact that the game isn't endless anymore (the game even has a story that guides you through each of the game's ten levels.)

To play Puzzle Bomber Plus, you have to control the angle and power which Suzie throws color-coded balls of energy. You would like to have just enough throwing power to knock out the monster ball. But a dragon will try to block you by throwing diffused bombs over the horizon which may block the monster ball from your energy balls.

New to Puzzle Bomber Plus is the advent of two game modes, Story and Festival. In Story Mode, you guide through ten levels (blow up ten monster balls and you will get a very cool game ending). In Festival Mode, test your bomb-tossing skills as a monster ball is in clear view. Also new is the advent of gray crystals. These crystals are impervious to Suzie's Bombs, which mean that in the later Story levels you have to take extra care in manuvuering around the gray crystals to get to the Monster Balls.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
(Very Good)
The game's high point. You know how Playstation games sometimes have those amazing Full-Motion Video sequences with animations and all sorts of awesome graphics while you're waiting for the game to load? Puzzle Bomber Plus does something similar with their awesome intro movie. It's got lots of movement that you wouldn't expect to find in a QB game. What else can I say? You'll just have to download the game yourself and see what I'm talking about.

As for the actual meat beneath the eye candy, Puzzle Bomber Plus did a great job in eliminating all the terms that they used from other Anime series. For example, the term "dragon ball" (more accredited to the Dragon Ball Z series) was taken out and replaced with the term "monster ball". Hyper Anime even went so far as to make the monster balls entirely different in appearance to a dragon ball. Don't think we don't notice, Hyper Anime! We've seen the changes and we like what we've seen.

Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
If Puzzle Bomber Plus was merely the same thing as Puzzle Bomber albeit some better graphics, then the Replay Value score probably would have dropped a point just because the game stayed too faithful to the original without adding anything new and innovative. Thankfully, the game comes with two game modes that do add some dimension to the game. The story level is great for gamers who have been aching for a game ending since the last Puzzle Bomber game, while the festival game mode is perfect for gamers who are just beginning to learn the game's mechanics. The fun may not last forever though, but there's something for everyone.
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes

You may have to make a few adjustments here and there to make sure you have the right power and angle whenever you toss one of your colored balls, but once you're comfortable with Suzie and her throwing power you should be able to best the game's ten story levels or the Festival Mode just like that.
Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
Puzzle Bomber and Puzzle Bomber's gameplay are remarkably similar. If you've never played any Puzzle Bomber game before than I suggest you download this one as it's new and improved. The gray crystals are an especially nice touch because it gives the game a slight twist; because you can't blow up everything in your path, you sometimes have to change angle and power at the same time to reach the monster ball. And without delay, the number of gray crystals you have to dodge around seem to increase as you progress through Puzzle Bomber Plus's ten levels. 

Puzzle Bomber veterans should find this game to a breeze. You may not find anything in this "near-sequel" that will make you change the way you have to toss your bombs drastically, but what you will find is a worthy sequel. The cinematics are just the icing on the cake.

Players 1 player Genre: Puzzle Game
Rating To solve: 1 hour Final Rating: 21/35

To download this game, click here.
Installation Tips
wYou can not play Puzzle Bomber if you do not have a Sound Blaster or Sound Blaster compatible card.
wTo run this game, you must have any version of Microsoft QuickBasic.
wTo play Puzzle Bomber, unzip the file and run "PAZURU.BAT". Modifications may have to be made to this batch file if you are not using "QBASIC.EXE" to access your version of QuickBasic.

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