As with Boulder Dash yesterday we’re rocking the extreme’s again today in the Your Sinclair Top 100, and we’ve gone from the extremely basic looking world of deep-mining to the glorious, colourful world of Rainbow Islands at No.#8 from Ocean Software.
Rainbow Islands was originally an arcade release for Taito which sprung up in 1987; also know Rainbow Islands: The Story of Bubble Bobble 2, this game is actually the sequel to the fantastic Bubble Bobble. The ZX Spectrum conversion arrived in 1990, programmed by Graftgold Ltd., which is Steve Turner’s programming house, however Rainbow Islands was programmed by David O’Connor and John Cumming on this occasion.
In Rainbow Islands our heroes Bubby and Bobby, no longer in their dragon form, continue their journey to remove the Dark Shadow from the Rainbow Islands, in turn rescuing the citizens from its clutches. With only the power of a rainbow to help you either remove enemies from you path or to ascend further up one of ten islands. You will need to reach your goal before the Dark Shadow raises the sea level to drown you.
Rainbow Islands is an amazing conversion; it’s fantastically colourful for a ZX Spectrum game considering most of our games favoured monochrome. The speed and vertical scrolling is certainly there, though admittedly on occasion we do suffer a slowdown when numerous enemy mobs swarm the screen at once, but that is rare and you can’t help but be impressed when the giant end of level boss appears.
The big problem for Rainbow Islands is – like Sim City – this game arrived four years or so to late! The Amiga and Atari St had already heralded in the 16 bit era for home computing, the NES and Master System had been out for years rocking the console 8-bit market, and the Megadrive was mere months away in the UK; who wanted to play a conversion of Rainbow Islands on the ZX Spectrum!? Other than the remaining die-hards not many people knew it was released. The cloister bell began to ring loudly for the ZX Spectrum in its final years.
Ocean Software delivered a truly brilliant game called Rainbow Islands, and it’s just a shame that nobody really got a chance to play it on the ZX Spectrum.