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Super Buster Bros. (SNES) Playthrough – NintendoComplete

A playthrough of Capcom’s 1992 action game for the Super Nintendo, Super Buster Bros.

Played through the Tour Mode on the normal difficulty level.

Super Buster Bros. (known as Super Pang outside of the US) was originally an arcade game released in 1990 for Capcom’s CPS hardware, and the sequel to Buster Bros. (or Pang, or Super Pomping World, depending on region).

The game concept is very simple. Each stage takes place on a single screen, and the player has to continuously fire upward, destroying all of the bubbles before they can hit him. Bubbles come in various sizes, the larger varieties of which split into more bubbles as they’re attacked, and the stage layouts of require you to be very careful when choosing which ones to hit. If you go crazy hitting everything in sight, you’ll likely end up setting loose far to many to be able to escape from. Since a single hit spells instant death, rushing in blindly usually is a guaranteed suicide strategy.

Thankfully you get quite a few power-ups to ease the onslaught somewhat. Shooting certain bubbles and breakable platforms releases things like bonus points (for extra lives), submachine guns (for highly effective spray-and-pray tactics), anchoring ropes (for temporary barriers that simplify timing), hour glasses (for temporarily freezing the play field), amongst others. They’re all necessary if you plan on getting very far. There was more than once as I was playing when I was sure that I would be killed, only to survive by some miraculous stroke of luck. Especially on Stage 39 – damn. I know the game fairly well, but I was shocked that I got through that stage without dying. That’s certainly not a feat I can pull of consistently.

The graphics are basic – barely up to snuff by SNES standards – but the backgrounds provide some nice depictions of the places you hit during your world tour, and even though you’ll sometimes have an impossibly huge number of bubbles playing around on-screen, slowdown isn’t an issue. I’m not sure how Capcom sidestepped that issue – the SNES is pretty notorious for the way it struggles under a heavy load – but the apparent trade-off in graphic quality is a good one. An uneven game speed (like we can see in Super R-Type and Gradius III) would’ve ruined the playability of this one, but thankfully that wasn’t the case. Nicely done, Capcom.

The music and sound is alright: it does it’s job. Nothing more, and nothing less. There are no voice clips, and the cheery background tunes are entirely forgettable, but they provide an appropriate backdrop for the action.

One thing that surprised me about Super Buster Bros., not that it has any real bearing on the gameplay, is that it came on such a tiny ROM. The game was only 512K (4 megabits), making it about the same size as the larger NES carts. Just a random bit of info – it’s not like Super Buster Bros. really required anything larger… though an 8meg cart that retained the intro and had higher quality sound would’ve been nice.

Though Super Buster Bros. is simplistic, even by NES and SNES standards, it’s got enough more than enough depth to sustain it for the duration of the forty-stage campaign, and though it can be brutally hard, it is fair and gets easier with practice. It’s a lot of fun, and really makes for a nice throwback to the era of old-school arcade gaming.

(But, if you can track it down the the rare PS1 collection, the port featured there is definitely the preferable console port to play.)
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No cheats were used during the recording of this video.

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