Rainbow Islands review - Sega Megadrive

Read Original Review PDF for Rainbow Islands

Rainbow Islands box artBub and Bob are heroes! After rescuing their girlfriends from the evil clutches of The Boss of Shadow in Bubble Bobble, the lads returned to their home town in the Rainbow Islands and as the Japanese scenario puts it, got "Super-Drunk". The aftermath wasn't a near-fatal hangover as we might expect, but now the bubble blowing dinosaurs have changed back into human form.

But the lads' celebrations are short-lived. The evil Boss of Shadow has returned to enslave to Rainbow Islands and their inhabitants, and not only are our heroes trapped amongst this carnage but the Islands are sinking as well! But there is one hope. If seven huge crystals are collected the Rainbow Islands and their human inhabitants will return to normal, and why not give that Boss of Shadow something to think about at the same time?

Our heroes have one cunning trick up their sleeves. Their parents gave them the magic of the Rainbow, which generally means they can sling rainbows anywhere they want and jolly useful they are too. But the Boss of Shadow has to be stopped - and quick, so it's a case of scaling all four vertically scrolling levels of all seven islands, dealing rainbow death to any minions or end end-of-island guardians that stand in the way.

What the Mean Machines staff thought


" Brilliant! Two damn close versions of the classic coin-op for the price of one! Rainbow Islands has all the features of the coin-op and some more besides. The playability that made the arcade version so good has made its way in copious quantities to this fabulous Megadrive game, including all the secret rooms and bonuses! My only gripe is that the sprites are incredibly flickery at times, especially when loads of rainbows are on screen. Rainbow Islands is still an essential purchase. If you've got an imported machine, do not avoid this at any cost! "

" Here's another classy Megadrive conversion! It's virtually identical to the original coin-op, with super graphics, an amazingly catchy tune to keep you humming while you play and very, very addictive gameplay. There are three skill levels, but to be honest you're better off playing on the normal level. "Easy" really is very easy and lets you finish the game far too quickly, which ruins the enjoyment somewhat. I love the idea of having Super Rainbow Islands included in the package as it adds enormously to the lasting appeal. With all its amazing secret bonuses, Rainbow Islands isn't a game you'll tire of quickly. An absolute must for import owners. "


Overall Score92%

Retrospective comments


I managed to pick up a copy of this many moons ago and foolishly parted company with it not long afterwards - now it's a rare and expensive game, so I'm regretting my choice somewhat!

This really is a stunning conversion. Why it was never released in the West I'll never know. Graphically it's spot-on, with bold and colourful sprites and detailed backgrounds - basically all the ingredients that made the arcade original such a smash hit. The gameplay is simple and stunningly addictive. The 'extra' features are a nice addition too. Rainbow Islands really is a timeless classic and even after over a decade it still looks and plays like a dream.

If you have deep pockets, seek this out. Be prepared to part with a fair bit of dosh, though.

Tris Wicks - 05 Nov 2008, 02:42 GMT

I used to love this, but playing it now - it's plain annoying. At the time it seemed more colourful than Bubble Bobble, but that's the game I always go back to.

Will - 13 Jun 2012, 13:46 GMT

I remember I really, really wanted this back when it came out, but couldn't get hold of a copy anywhere. It's easy enough to find it online for free now though, so I wouldn't waste your money buying a physical copy. Another classic that's in the same vein is Wani Wani World. That's really worth a go, esp. in 2 player mode.

Mean Machines Issue 2 - November 1990
Platform Game Sega Megadrive
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Rainbow Islands

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