If I remember correctly, the very first time I played Bubble Bobble was on an MSX of a schoolmate of mine. I must have been seven or eight. As soon as I got my own first game console system - a Sega Master System - Bubble Bobble was one of the first games I had to acquire. That period of innocent childhood is now almost seventeen years past, but Bubble Bobble is still one of the games that I can truly enjoy - and not just out of nostalgia feelings, but also because it's still an amazing playable game.
In an earlier review on this spot I haven't been too positive about the game, this includes the Saturn Bubble Bobble port (which came packed with the virtually unknown sequel Rainbow Islands), but that wasn't because I didn't liked the game. Bubble Bobble was still a classic there, but that package just didn't feature the amount of additional content one would expect from a game that came on a second-generation CD console as the Saturn.
However, one does not have to count on new features if the game is released on a less powerful console such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, Master System, or - in this case - the Sega Game Gear. Bubble Bobble just seems to be made for this 8-bit generation of consoles: very few other games have managed to age as well as this one did. The graphics are still large and colorful, and in no way is it a pixilated mess (as many other games of that generation seem to us now). The music is catchy as ever (however I also understand those who say the infinitive recurring tune drives them insane). Most important - the gameplay still appeals to masses, and that's why we've also seen a Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS and a PSP port of it, and I wouldn't wonder if even the powerful consoles of today will get a version of this timeless classic too. However, all the "advancements" never really improved the game - the original still holds strong and doesn't need to be updated.
I consider Bubble Bobble on the Game Gear as one of the best games available for the portable. It's an excellent version of the game, of which only two points of criticism can be made. First of all, because the screen of the Game Gear is rather small, the playing area seems smaller too. However, the characters don't seem to be shrunk so I had the idea the game was a little harder because it was easier to get hit. But maybe because I am used to playing Bubble Bobble on a television screen that was just an optical illusion. Furthermore, Bubble Bobble is most enjoyable in a 2-player mode. Luckily this Game Gear version features a link possibility to make such possible, but unfortunately the Game Gear isn't as widespread as Nintendo's Game Boy, so it won't always be easy to find a fellow Game Gear owner (thus the person in question has to have a copy of the game as well, and you have to own a link cable).
Overall, Bubble Bobble is a timeless classic that is always worthy to acquire - no matter for what system - if you didn't own a copy of it yet. In the library of games for the Game Gear it especially stands out as an incredibly fun game to which you will always return once in a while - even for those who mainly play Gears of War, Halo or any other graphical impressive new-generation game. The only challenge is to track down that other Game Gear owner to share Bub & Bob timeless adventures.