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Puzzle Bobble 4 (also known as Bust-a-Move 4 in North America and Europe) is the third sequel to the video game Puzzle Bobble and is the final appearance of the series on the Arcade, PlayStation and Dreamcast. The game is also the final title to be recognizably similar in presentation to the original.
Building upon the success of Puzzle Bobble 3, the game adds a pulley system that requires two sets of bubbles, attached to either side of a rope hanging across two pulleys. The game contains a story mode for single player play.
In total, the game features 640 levels. The console version features a level editor to either create and save a level, set a succession of levels, or to create an unlimited amount of extra levels and stages. It also has an alternative "story mode".
On the planet Bubbleluna live the twins Bub and Bob. One day, the sun fails to rise because the Fairy of the Night, Cleon, has stolen the light source known as the Rainbow for Full-Moon Madame Luna. She splits this rainbow into 7 light bubbles. Bub and Bob then set off to retrieve these bubbles and restore the light and peace to their planet.
This installment of the series introduces two new features: the pulley system and chain reactions. The pulley system consists of two groups of bubbles attached to either side of a pulley. Popping some on one side will cause that side to be "lighter" and therefore rise. The other side lowers in response. This requires added strategy to prevent one side moving too far and therefore losing the game.
Chain reactions occur only on the two player (or player and CPU) modes. When a bubble is dropped, it can move to another place on the board if this causes more bubbles to pop. If this in turn causes more bubbles to drop, then the chain reaction can continue.
Puzzle Mode consists of a field of stages labelled A-Z, in a triangle. To proceed to either the stages B or C, you must complete A. This continues, meaning there are many possible routes to completing the puzzle mode.
Story Puzzle consists of a backdrop with multiple tarot cards superimposed on it. The aim is to complete each of the tarot card stages, gaining that tarot card once its group of rounds are completed. New tarot cards are revealed when each of the stages currently shown are completed.
Story Versus follows Bub in his adventure to regain the seven light bubbles and restore peace to his lands. He must face each character of the main characters (below) and defeat them to move on, in a linear fashion. Eventually, he will reach Madame Luna and upon her defeat she will be revealed to be Dreg, the main antagonist in the series.
Win Contest is a simple tournament where you must fight and defeat as many opponents as possible. The more you defeat before losing, the more of a picture of your character you reveal. In this mode, is it possible to meet new characters who do not appear in the other modes; once defeated, they can be used in other modes.
Player versus player is a multiplayer mode.
Challenge mode will rank you on your skill. The ranks are 10th Class, 1st Class, 1st Honor and Expert.
Edit mode allows you to create your own maps. Up to 25 can be made and played. Once all the maps created have been completed, an ending is displayed.
In the single player modes, there is nothing to distinguish the characters. However in two player modes, the characters differ by the bubbles they can place onto the other players screen.
Bub and Bob are the series' main protagonists. Both are anthropomorphic dinosaurs- Bub is green whereas Bob is blue. Bub is the elder of the two and is known to be energetic; Bob is much quieter. Although claimed to both be the heroes, Bub features much more prominently.
Develon is the archrival of Bub. He is similar in looks to Bub, but black and winged. He lives on the planet Diable.
Alkanet is a princess of the planet Freeze. She is the second character battled in the Versus Story mode, after Bob.
Kurol is a small child from the planet Grrrrmm. She is dressed in a green (or pink) frog costume.
Tam-Tam is a large totem pole and the Lord Protector of the planet Navajo. In the game, two anthropomorphic rabbits accompany him and worship him.
Cleon is the Fairy of the Night. She is mischievous, and is the one who stole the Rainbow for Madame Luna. She secretly wishes to overthrow her master.
G is an old man living on the planet Ordeaux. He is often seen coughing in the game.
Bramb is a mad sorcerer. He was researching a magic trick when the main source of his research, light disappeared, While bearing a resemblance to Jar Jar Binks
Gigant is a large robotic suit of armour. He was once chief security guard of a castle on the planet Gothic.
Madame Luna is a robotic moon shaped entity. She ordered Cleon to steal the Rainbow to cast night on the land of Bubbleluna and names herself the Conqueror of the Night. Once defeated in the Versus Story mode, she is revealed to be Dreg, the antagonist of the series.
Dreg is a small wizard who turned Bub and Bob into Bubble Dragons. He wears a green robe, carries a magic cane, and appears in most of the Puzzle Bobble titles, generally revealing himself to be the main antagonist after the defeat of his disguise, in this case, he disguises himself as Madame Luna. In this game, he has been seen being able to breathe fire after drinking a special potion.
Unlockable characters, all of whom appeared in previous Puzzle Bobble titles-
Monsta A small blob-like creature. He is pink and has a long tongue.
Maita A ghost-like being wearing a white robe. He often appears to have a cold.
Packy A green robot cat. He has a habit of literally losing his head.