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Rainbow Islands (GBA)

This wasn’t released, but I did such a darned good job of starting the conversion that I can’t help but show it off šŸ™‚

IMHO Rainbow Islands remainsĀ the most iconic, influential, well designed and balanced arcade platform EVER devised by man. It has bucketsĀ of replayability, oozes cuteness,Ā and doesn’t stop surprising you with bonuses, power ups, special items, and huge bonsues for skillful play.

Yes, I hereby admit to being a “Rainbow Islands Fanboy”.

When it came out on the Commodore Amiga back in yonder days, my friends and I played it competitively to smash each others high-scores, it became so competitiveĀ that we even had tables of our own for each stage, let alone each island.

Skillfully devising a new path through a stage to earn maximum points became essential to earn an extra 10 points by the end of it.

Naturally, being adept (cough) – I completed the game first, earning a respectable 13 Million points+… but it didn’t last long, when one of my friendsĀ also completed the game, but getting allĀ of the Rainbow Diamonds in order, securing him a massive 50 Million point bonus at the end!

But, suffice to say, I came back and hammered his total high score with 65 Million+ points, and that was that.

Being sufficiently impressed and addicted to Rainbow Islands, when I had the chance to write a game engine on the Nintendo Gameboy Advance, RI becameĀ the project to test drive my engine technology.

The sprite graphics came from the tastefully enchanced 256 colour PC conversion by Probe, I wrote ripping tools to get the image and map data from theirĀ format, and convert it to mine. I wrote a basic Map editing tool to handle my tilemap based games, and added importers to it for RI.

The backdrop is my own, to add a colourful – but simple – parallax scrolling environment – bear in mind the GBA has a very small screen (not evenĀ wide enough to fit the RI level widthwise) so keeping the scene “uncluttered” is important.

I converted most of all the first island (Insect Island) apart from the Spider Boss, and the little Mino-suki cocoon fella from the first level.

The grand plan was to produce a “Compendium” pack – with Bubble Bobble, all the Rainbow Islands levels (with the hidden / secret ones), and a new unlockableĀ “Pinbubble” game (Pinball themed on both these games) all on one cartridge. Sadly, I couldn’t manage to get in touch with Taito to discuss anything.

And then of course, a year or so later Bubble Bobble came out on the GBA, and it was (IMHO) utterly ruined, but – there you go!

Who knows… the codebase would port easily enough… perhaps it may yet happen…

Feel free to download the Nintendo Gameboy Advance binary here, it plays on real hardware – and via the various emulators about the web.

There are bugs, sure… and graphical glitches, gameplay glitches. It was only ever developed to be ‘enough to show working’. It’s far from complete, but basically it plays the same, and looks great. It’s a shame Electronic ArtsĀ didn’t have “enough bandwidth in their portfolio” for it when I submitted it back in 2001 eh? šŸ˜›

More detailed info for the enthusiast can be found on WikiPedia –Ā

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