Unfortunately for Waldo, Bubba's an inquisitive kind of guy with a strong desire to not spend the rest of his life in an alien zoo. So when he notices a giant lever in the ship's cargo hold he can't resist giving it a pull, dumping the entire lot of them on an alien planet.
Sadly you only get this animated intro if you're playing the CD32 version. The standard Amiga and Sega versions seem to be entirely intro-less, which is a shame really as there's nothing happening here the machines couldn't do.
I don't much like this tree behind me though, he keeps following me around, then closes his eyes and acts all innocent when I turn around.
Oh I ran into my old buddy Waldo by the way. He seems fine, though that won't last long the way he's pushing that boulder onto a bouncy mushroom. The poor guy obviously hasn't seen many Road Runner cartoons.
Here, ponder the differences yourself with these handy youtube links if you like:
Amiga: level 1 music.
Genesis/Mega Drive: level 1 music.
Man look at that green guy's face afterwards. Even he doesn't understand what just happened.
Anyway I only managed to get a little further before Waldo got me with a teleporter gun sending me away to...
Well it's definitely not a forest level, I'll give them that. Also look, there's the four-eyed giant clown grin riding a unicycle! See, I didn't just imagine him.
Here's a feature apparently unique to the Genesis version of the game: product placement! They've added low-res packs of Bubblicious bubble gum for me to collect inside the bonus level. Though they end up looking more like pink streaks to me as I race past them to get through to the exit in time, so money well spent there.
Oh by the way, I should mention that I edited this screenshot a little to fake the transparency effect on the waves. It flickers between sprites in game so it's only really visible when the game's in motion.
But now that I'm up here the platform isn't moving across the rail. What am I missing? Oh right, the second lever over at the dead end! Sure would be nice if they gave any indication at all what these things are connected to.
Actually I lost my final hit point by wandering too close to a monster. It's cool though, I've got a continue. In fact I'm going to assume I have infinite continues, because today I'm in the mood to be a hopeless optimist who is wrong about everything.
But look over yonder at that wall display. I'm seeing five floors, five teleporters, and four keys. Now I know exactly where I need to be. This place seems far more sprawling and non-linear than level 1 was, for better or worse.
SOON, ON THE FAR SIDE OF FLOOR 2
Well... fuck. Okay, I suppose I'll have to add 'get milk' to my list of things to do. Also I'll have to start a list of things to do.
Just let me go to the teleporter in peace you assholes, I'm only looking for milk!
TWO LIVES LATER, ON FLOOR 4.
Okay that's it, I'm drawing up a map. This is ridiculous, I can't even memorise the layout and content of five floors, I'm such a... casual gamer.
Great now those two balls I'd collected earlier on the right are going to be reset and I'm going to have to go wandering around half the whole bloody level to recover them again.
I guess I only got the one continue after all and now it's gone forever. Fortunately I was given a password so I can restart at the beginning of level 2 all I want! I just have to wait for the title screen to load, put the code in, then wait for the level to load again.
Actually you know what, I'm just going to play through level 1 again instead and this time not lose all my lives doing it.
MUCH LATER, BACK ON LEVEL 2.
Then, when it turns out that they're no use on the floor I arrive at, I'll have to pack them all up into the teleporter again and try somewhere else.
BACK ON FLOOR 2.
LATER ON FLOOR 3.
My plan was working perfectly right up to point where fuzzball got stuck up on that ledge and refused to come back down, trapping me in the corner. My only option was sacrifice Bubba to his shocking demise. But that was my last hit point, so now I'm going to be sent back to the map room and all the items will be reset back to their holes in the wall again.
So now I'm going to go find all those fucking balls again and then herd them into those fucking teleporters again, and then drag that fuzzball all the way back up here... again. Right after I've chopped my desk in half with my forehead.
TWO LIVES LATER, ON THE FAR RIGHT END OF FLOOR 4.
Wow, I guess they actually do nothing. The level is completed and I've earned another password!
But the password stores my health, lives and continues, so whenever I load this level up I get just a single hit point to finish the entire game with. Haha, not going to happen.
Well I beat that bloody teleporter level and that's enough of a success for me. I'm finished with the game, done with it, and now I never have to see that place again. I'll never have to dodge blobs on roller skates, never have to push beach balls into teleporters...
Oh fuck I forgot about the Genesis version. Fine then, level 2, take 2. Let's get this over with.
Still, that's quite enough of that.
So, Bubba 'n' Stix then, what did I really think of it? It's a pain in the ass. Though it does look pretty good, I love the animation, and the music's decent enough no matter what version you're playing. Plus Bubba's basic movement seems solid enough. I mean maybe he's got a bit of a delay on his attacks and perhaps his jumps are a little floaty, but overall I thought he got around just fine. Well, unless you're trying to get him to start running on the Amiga floppy disk version, which only can only ever end in tears due to the lack of a separate run button. That version even supports two button controllers, but assigns both buttons to using Stix, so you still need to press up to jump, what the fuck? So that's another big advantage the Genesis/Mega Drive version has.
When it comes down to the gameplay though, I think they way they've found a dozen different uses for Stix is pretty clever, but puzzles, platforming, and limited lives together are a recipe for frustration. For me anyway. Especially when those puzzles often come down to 'try everything with everything until something happens' or 'go figure out what that switch you just flicked actually did', and the pieces are reset every time you lose a life. The Sega version seems to have more of the right idea though, streamlining level 2's puzzles to avoid the tedious backtracking. Plus I didn't need to draw up a map to beat level two on the Genesis, which again I realise might actually count as a negative to some players, but I appreciated it.
You know, at first I thought this one had a shot at winning me over, but it soon beat that optimism out of me. Even infinite continues couldn't convince me to give that volcano level another try.
If you have anything you'd like to say in response to my long essay on the subject of Bubba 'n' Stix, then your needs in this case have been catered for, as there is a convenient box located below for you to fill up with your words. Just make them awesome ones please, if possible.