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Bubble Bobble Leaderboard + discussions (Arcade/Ports/NES)


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Member · Posted

Hi friends! It's time to play Bubble Bobble, the world famous classic Taito game.


Although it is otherwise very popular, scoring in this game is generally very underrated. It's shock full of fun things you can go for to increase your score underway, and I'll be dedicating a separate post for documenting the best strategies to go for. More than anything though, simply surviving long enough is always guaranteed to get a decent score.
This is one of my favourite games of all time, and I really hope a lot of the talented video game players in here are willing to go for a fun casual competition. If you already have an old score on record, please submit it here to get started, and everyone else, please give this game a spin!


No continues (1 credit) - Single player only - Default settings
Post your highest score and preferably also the round you died on (or "ALL" if you beat the final boss). Screenshots or videos of gameplay is strongly encouraged but not required.

Auto-fire/turbo allowed. Savestates, cheats or passwords aren't.


Bubble Bobble (Arcade/MAME/PS4/Switch/PS2/GBA)
Default settings: Normal, 3 lives, extend at 30K, 100K, 400K

# Username Score Round Date
1 SNESNESCUBE64 1,432,250 40  

Bubble Bobble (NES/FDS)
Just hit 1P Start

# Username Score Round Date
1 LHCGreg 981,020 46 2017-05-01


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A note on ports:
Unfortunately most ports of Bubble Bobble are either very bad, or completely different from the arcade game.
I'll be keeping a separate scoreboard for the NES version, because it's a good port even though it's very different, and generally much easier. I know a lot of people have that game, and are probably more experienced in it.
However, "arcade" scores will be accepted only from the following ports: PS2 and Xbox (on Taito Legends), GBA (BB Old & New, "old" mode), PS4 (Arcade Archives), Switch (on BB4Friends) and of course emulation.
If you have the option, I highly recommend the PS4 digital release. It's super cheap, lag-free, and the first actual arcade perfect port of the game. And the PS4 makes streaming and recording runs via Twitch a breeze. The version included on BB4Friends should be on point as well, but I personally find it too laggy to be playable. The other ports are decent, and I'm not currently aware of any mechanics in them that alter scoring in any major way.

A note on arcade cabinets:
If you happen to have an actual Bubble Bobble arcade game near you, please confirm the game is not a bootleg. Contemporary bootlegs of this game were so common back in the 80s that if the owner isn't 100% certain it's an original, it's most likely a bootleg. This is important because bootlegs (accidentally) change the gameplay so drastically, that it's essentially a different game. One of the biggest changes is that they suffer the same issue as the PS1/SS ports where most enemies that should be shooting projectiles at you never will do that, making the later stages much easier.
Bootlegs some times say "Super Bubble Bobble" or "Bobble Bobble" on the title screen, but others can only be spotted by paying attention to enemy behavior.

A note on resetting the game:
The arcade version carries over certain counters between plays. That means you can set up the game to give you high scoring point items on subsequent plays. This is just a fun casual competition, so resetting the game between attempts isn't required, but I do expect players to not intentionally abuse this mechanic. On the PS4 port, playing the "hi score mode" is the preferred way of playing, as it deals with this, and prevents other potential cheats.

🔵🔵🐲 HAVE FUN  🔵🔵🐲

Edited by Sumez
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Member · Posted

Gameplay mechanics, common tips, and scoring tricks


Jumping on bubbles
One of the most important skills is knowing when to jump on bubbles instead of popping them, as it helps getting you around stages and away from dicey situations. As long as you are holding down the jump button while landing on a bubble, you will bounce off the top of it, helping you getting to a higher ground.
If you blow a bubble into a wall while jumping upwards, the bubble will not pop, and you will be able to jump off it on the way down. This is a common way to easily reach higher places, or escape narrow shafts, but you might need to keep the stage's air flow in mind.

Popping bubbles
Jumping into a bubble from below or above (without holding jump) is the more common way to break bubbles, but you can also do so by pushing them together from the side. However, by turning your back on a bubble, the bubble will instead hit the dragon's spikes and pop instantly. This is pretty important to know in situations where a bubble could potentially push you down from a small platform. If you turn your back to it, it won't be able to move you at all.
Also keep these mechanics in mind when trying to pop multiple enemies grouped in a cluster of bubbles.

The game tracks everything you do, which affects what bonus items you get. Starting out the game, you will be very underpowered, so spend the extra time you have doing these things on the early stages: Walk back and forth a lot, jump a lot, blow a lot of bubbles, and pop a lot of them. This will spawn the running shoes, and three types of candy which helps with surviving this difficult game. Only one item will spawn per stage, though.

Kissing enemies
A good survival tactic is to kill enemies instantly by blowing a bubble point-blank into their face, popping it on the same frame as it traps them. This is often referred to as "kissing" enemies, and is easiest to do at the start of a round before the enemies start moving.

Go to the botton left
After finishing a screen, if you stay near the "spawn point" in the bottom left you will spend less time being moved there, giving you more time to move around at the start of the next round before the enemies start moving.

Air flow
Every stage has its own unique air flow that controls where bubbles move and how fast they do it. This can both affect your ability to move around by jumping on bubbles, and move trapped enemies out of the way, making it harder to chase them down and pop them. It is always a good idea to become familiar with the air flow on the more challenging stages.

There are MANY ways to score points in Bubble Bobble, these are some of the more effective ways

Don't die
In the arcade version, not losing any lives until rounds 20, 30, or 40 will create silver doors which take you to a bonus round full of points, which adds a huge bonus to your score. If you keep the streak going until round 50, you will get a door that takes you all the way to round 70.
While taking this warp might sound like a bad idea for scoring, the rounds you are skipping are actually some of the hardest in the game, with fewer scoring opportunities than the later ones.

Grouping enemies
Trap multiple enemies together, and pop all of their bubbles in a single cluster. Every additional enemy bubble touching the cluster will double the bonus up to 64,000 points for 7 enemies. Some stages practically give you this bonus, while other stages require you to play exceptionally well to keep all enemies alive until you can group them together. Some times the air flow will do the work for you, but other times you will need to push bubbles into eachother or retrap escaped enemies multiple times.

Candy canes
Popping largers groups of enemies will also make more E,X,T,E,N,D bubbles appear which not only give you extra lives, but collecting three of the same will make a candy cane appear, which in turn creates a huge fruit/candy object after finishing the stage, for another yummy point bonus.

Another action tracked by the game is how many times you fell through the bottom of the screen to reappear in the top. Once you have done this 15 or more times, a potion can appear on the next round. It will start the bonus game where you need to pick up all items for a 100,000pt bonus. Try doing it on round 17, for a very easy bonus game on round 18 where you only need to pick up one item!

Edited by Sumez
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Member · Posted

Haha 😉 The arcade version at least has no need to ever be made harder 😄
I long for the day I will finally be able to say I have a 1CC in that game. It's a beast for sure!

I've never put much effort into the NES game, so I'll try to learn that one as well.

2 hours ago, SNESNESCUBE64 said:

I love this idea, this game is my absolute favorite, so not only do I get to show that I'm bad at the game, but also get to have fun doing so as well.

Take this as my final push to get you into competing in this game. 😉 I'll add your score as the first. Enjoy your time as #1

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2 hours ago, Sumez said:


Take this as my final push to get you into competing in this game. 😉 I'll add your score as the first. Enjoy your time as #1

I'll enjoy my time in the sun before it gets obliterated...

I have the screenshot, thats all that matters.




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3 hours ago, Sumez said:

Haha 😉 The arcade version at least has no need to ever be made harder 😄
I long for the day I will finally be able to say I have a 1CC in that game. It's a beast for sure!

I've never put much effort into the NES game, so I'll try to learn that one as well.

Take this as my final push to get you into competing in this game. 😉 I'll add your score as the first. Enjoy your time as #1

I also long for the day I can 1CC the arcade game.  My record is Round 84 so far, but that included the warp you get for making it to level 50 without dying.

I used to love the NES version when I was a kid, but after playing the arcade original as an adult, I just cannot go back to any of the console versions; the arcade version is so far superior to everything else out there that it's not even funny...

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Member · Posted
7 hours ago, Dr. Morbis said:

I used to love the NES version when I was a kid, but after playing the arcade original as an adult, I just cannot go back to any of the console versions; the arcade version is so far superior to everything else out there that it's not even funny...

The thing about the arcade game is that it's one of those games were every little detail in how it plays matters. The way items are distributed, the way you interact with bubbles, etc. It's pretty much impossible to port it without mimicking everything perfectly.
Aside of course from the completely different scoring balance, that's why I decided to keep a separate track for the NES game. I consider it different enough to warrant its own competition. 🙂 

The Master System version is often considered the best original port of the game, but even the tiny differences in the movement physics in that version immediately made it feel "off" to me. I'm sure if you'd only ever played that version, you wouldn't care about that at all.

Anyway, round 83 is really good! I'm looking forward to seeing your scores. I'd always take the warp if possible for both scoring and 1cc purposes.

Edited by Sumez
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Member · Posted
4 hours ago, rdrunner said:

Can't wait to see your write-up on the game mechanics too!

Thanks for reminding me of this! I have filled in the second post with useful tips.

And yeah, falling through the holes is definitely a useful scoring strategy, especially if you try to do it on the "correct" stages. I made sure to include this one as well. 🙂 

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