Amstrad Computer User1st December 1988
Published in Amstrad Computer User #49
Life is hard for today's Euroghost. What with the rising price of ectoplasm and declining tourism in old castles, making ends meet is not easy.
There is one ghost, however, that has no worries of this kind. By accidentally getting up five minutes before midnight he has lost his soul, poor thing. A ghost's soul, for those who have never seen one, is very fragile and looks for all the world like a soap bubble. Your average Joe Ghost has none such souls and our ethereal chum has to chase his around the castle, ensuring that they do not burst en route.
The castle was built by a right loony, whose architectural style was definitely Art Bizarre. Spikey bits protrude from the walls, expanding heads abound, and the place is littered with candlesticks, all of which prove soul-destroying to ghosts.
Yet all is not against the ghoul, for he must have been a French Horn player before he died - he has enough lung power to re-inflate the R101 in one puff. With judicious use of his breath, the soul can be steered around any obstacle in its path. But it does keep going the way it was pointed, so Ghostie has to be quick to shift himself into the right position to steer the bubble away from trouble.
The candlesticks are right nasty - they can pop a soul at fifteen paces. Being a ghost does have its advantages, though. Since ghosts are all thin and ethereal-like, walls do not stop their passage, so there is nowhere on the screen that is taboo to our late friend.
Like more creatures - and this includes dead French Horn players - ghosts can run out of puff: When a certain redness overtakes our hero, the bubble floats out of control.
Bubble Ghost is a French program and, when catastrophe strikes, our hero Zuts convincingly, complete with Gallic arm-gesturning. The sound is the bare minimum required to be noticeable, but the ghost is cute enough - real sequel material, in fact. The supporting graphics are truly whacky and the collision detection is spot-on: Anything less just wouldn't do.
How is it that it takes the French to carry off zaniness like this without it looking like a rehash of Jet Set Willy? Although there is nothing startlingly innovative about the game, it is refreshing to see old ideas redone with such style that it shines like new.