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Video Game / Rainbow Islands

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Rainbow Islands: The Story of Bubble Bobble 2 is a vertically-oriented platform game by Taito, originally released as an Arcade Game in 1987.

Following on from the end of Bubble Bobble, Bubby and Bobby have regained their human forms and now have to fight their way through the Rainbow Islands, seven differently themed islands each with different enemies and a huge boss at the end. Complicating this mission is the fact the islands are flooding, and each level must be completed before the water reaches the top, since the water kills instantly when touched.

The main difference between Rainbow Islands and its predecessor is the increased size of the levels, which are many screens high. It also introduces a new weapon for defeating bad guys; rainbows, which are fired in front of the player and have an arc shape, so that they can trap enemies, be stood or bounced on, and, most importantly, collapsed, which is the best way to destroy enemies.

The game has been praised for being surprisingly complex, largely due to its enormous array of potential collectibles and the various ways of obtaining them.

It has had a few iterations:

  • Rainbow Islands: Putty's Party (WonderSwan) (2000)
  • Rainbow Islands Revolution (DS) (2005) released in Japan as New Rainbow Islands
  • Rainbow Islands Evolution (PSP) (2007) released in Japan as New Rainbow Island: Hurdy Gurdy Daibouken!!
  • Rainbow Islands: Towering Adventure (Wii, Xbox 360) (2009)

See also Top Banana, a 'Spiritual Successor' of sorts.

This video game provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: You need to get each of the seven big diamonds on each of the first seven islands, and you need to collect 7 little diamonds to do that. If you miss one, you can't backtrack to previous islands.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: World 3, Monster Island. Three of the monsters are themed after undead, the Vampire, Skeleton and Ghost.
  • Bland-Name Product: WcDonald's French fries also appear here in world 10, Bubble Island.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation:
    • The final boss is known as "The Boss of Shadow".
    • In one boss level, the boss is a spaceship called... Electric Fan?!?!
    • Special condition: "Beware of the Skull's blood!! Otherwise, you will lose your all lives!!"
  • Boss-Altering Consequence: If you collected all nine of the special items in each world, then the final boss will become a Zero-Effort Boss that dies in one hit.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Player 1 has to play as Bubby (green shirt) and player 2 has to play as Bobby (blue shirt).
  • Company Cross References: World 5 is a reference to Arkanoid, and World 9 refers to Darius.
  • Damsel in Distress: There are people jailed atop a hidden island. The player does not know this the first time around, though.
  • Death Throws: When a player character dies, he is thrown off the platform and falls past the bottom of the screen in the US/Japanese NES version. Otherwise, the player character hits the platform he was shot off of.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The Bubble Bobble enemies have expanded versions of their attacks that never show up in later games.
  • Eternal Engine: World 6, Robot Island is the factory of Rainbow Islands.
  • Everything Fades: An item that's been left alone disappears, with ambiguous but simple eight out-ward facing lines.
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: Especially if rainbows can be used to kill your enemies!
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Everything's still trying to walk into you.
  • Floating in a Bubble: In Rainbow Islands Revolution, Bubby is in a bubble and must be dragged around with the stylus. Japan is lucky to be able to use the D-pad.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Manuke/Rocky from Kiki Kaikai/Pocky and Rocky shows up in the Kiki Kaikai-themed island on the NES and Famicom console versions, disguised as Sayo/Pocky. Thing is, when you beat him he drops the disguise, and his sprite has, let's say, a couple of things Tanuki are very famous for, even in the American NES version!
  • Giant Spider: The first boss. It descends on a thread, then hops towards the player.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: All seven giant diamonds from the seven islands must be collected in order to properly advance in the story.
  • Green Hill Zone: World 1, while there's some castle ruins and inhabit by some caterpillars, bumblebees, spiders, crows, and beetles.
  • Guide Dang It!: For the best ending, you need to know you have to drop rainbows or use stars on enemies to get the diamonds. And where to make the enemies land.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: A huge chest containing food items drops down at the end of each level.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: If Bubby/Bobby gets trapped in the True Final Boss's bubble (thus getting re-transformed into a bubble dragon by it) on his last life, instead of a blank game over screen, he gets locked in The Alcatraz with eleven other victims who've also been transformed.
  • King Mook: Some bosses are just huge versions of regular enemies.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: It is a sequel to Bubble Bobble, so the characters are humans.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: No story details are shown until the player gets the first Bad Ending. Maybe those rainbow diamonds that disappear more quickly are important...
  • Medieval European Fantasy: World 7, Dragon Island being based on Medieval period, while World 8, Magical Island is based on fairy tales.
  • Multiple Endings: Like the previous game, there are some qualifications needed before you can get the true ending.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: The enemies from Darius Island are based from their appearance at the arcade game, and they stand-out amongst the enemy groups for not possessing a single cartoony aesthetic to them like their Combat Island counterparts.
  • Not Quite Back to Normal: The One-Hit-Point Wonder factor still occurs even though Bubby and Bobby have turned back into humans.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Bubby and Bobby still die if they touch anything.
  • One-Winged Angel: The True Final Boss will reveal his true form after being defeated once.
  • Plot Coupon: Big diamonds and mirrors.
  • Point of No Continues: Defied. You can only continue past Island 7 if you go into a secret room with a big brown book and get it; otherwise, you'll be told "YOU CAN'T CONTINUE FROM THIS WORLD." should you lose all your lives once you reach Island 8 and beyond!
  • Random Drop: Though items may seem to appear randomly, there are counters in the background that determine when certain things drop. The rainbow diamonds' colors are dependent on where the enemy that spawns a diamond lands on the screen, at least in the arcade.
  • Remilitarized Zone: Twofold. "World 2 Combat Island" introduces anthromorphosized military vehicles as enemies, while "World 9 Darius Island" feature miniature versions of enemies faced in the Darius arcade games.
    • 2. It's not called "Combat Island" for nothing.
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: In the original arcade version and a handful of early ports, the background music used part of "Over the Rainbow". Most modern ports use a Suspiciously Similar Substitute, or in the Game Boy Color version, the Bubble Bobble theme. The emulated arcade version in Taito Legends simply mutes the offending melody. Additionally, the North American NES version uses the original theme, but with a different melody.
  • Rise to the Challenge: Wait too long and the water begins to rise. The water will cover the viewport, thus it cannot be outrun unless the top of the level is reached.
  • Secret Level: Three secret islands can be reached if the player collects all seven diamonds for each island to get the big diamond. In addition, collecting all seven small diamonds in a specific order unlocks a secret door that leads to a permanent powerup. The secret levels are required for the best ending.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Space Zone: World 9, Darius Island.
  • Spelling Bonus: The rainbow gems that the player collects are changed to this kind of bonus in the NES versionnote .
  • Stalked by the Bell: If you take too long, a flood of water emerges unless you reach the top.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Bubby or Bobby die if they touch water.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Three of the eleven Alcatraz victims in the final secret world are female green bubble dragons, each with a small pink bow on the corner of their head.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Bubby and Bobby.
  • Toy Time: World 4, Toy Island.
  • Treasure Is Bigger in Fiction: A large treasure chest awaits at the end of every level.
  • Version-Exclusive Content:
    • Three islands (Magical, Darius, and Bubble) are exclusive to the arcade version. Getting all diamonds shows the good ending of everyone returned to normal.
    • The NES version adjusts the levels and their order. Kiki Kai Kai Island is added as world 6. Bubble world appears as world 8.
  • Wingding Eyes: In an exaggerated variant, characters die with their eyes getting crossed off by a literal black line. This has been changed in the US/Japanese NES version, though.


Video Example(s):


Rainbow Islands Alt. Game Over

If Bub gets bubbled and transformed by the True Final Boss on his last life, the alternate Game Over screen shows that he gets imprisoned with eleven other people who were transformed.

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Example of:

Main / ItsAWonderfulFailure

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