Bubble Ghost is a delightfully cute and highly original little game from the French computer company Ere Informatique.
Poor old Bubble Ghost has his soul trapped within a bubble, and the only way to free it is to guide the floating sphere to the exit of the maze of screens where he is currently trapped. Since he's a ghost, he can't physically touch the bubble, and instead has to blow it to the exit of each screen. The ghost can move anywhere on-screen - even through objects - and rotates when the left or right mouse buttons are pressed. Space bar makes the ghost blow, and the bubble bobbles slowly across the screen in the direction it's blown. If the bubble bobbles slowly across the screen in the direction it's blown. If the bubble hits an object or the wall of the screen it pops, losing one of five lives, much to the annoyance of the ghost, who turns to face out of the screen and berates the player!
Blowing two much causes the ghost to cough - and he really does cough - while the bubble floats on uncontrollably.
There's a time limit to each screen, and if the bubble is blown out of the exit before the unit expires, the time remaining is converted into bonus points. Take too long and no points are awarded.
As the ghost progresses through the maze, screens get harder and harder to negotiate, with spikes, pulsating objects and tiny gaps providing plenty of hassle. The game finishes when the bubble has been blown through all 40 screens or all lives are lost. Just in case you never get that far, there's a useful option which allows you to practise any of the game's screens.
It's great to have a little originality every now and then, and Bubble Ghost is like a breath of fresh air. It's an exceedingly cute game, and the ghost sprite is really appealing. The animation is superb, especially when he's annoyed or is out of breath. The background graphics are a little unimaginative and plain, although you don't have much time to hang around and gawp at the scenery!
The sound effects are sparse, but effective. The blowing and coughing noises are brilliant, and there's an amazing title tune, which has some incredible voices.
The most important thing is playability - and Bubble Ghost has plenty. Blowing the bubble around trying to avoid the myriad of obstacles is an engrossing and thoroughly enjoyable; I found myself constantly sneaking back to the Amiga for "just one more go".
The only disappointing aspect is that it only has forty screens. Although it does get very tough later on, requiring skill and planning to unsuccessfully blow the bubble to the exit. The practice mode is a good idea, and allows the player to attempt screens that he may never see.
Bubble Ghost is a neat little game; the appeal may wane after a while, but until then you'll be forever blowing bubbles!