Pop'n'Pop

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Strategy Guide

The Pop'n'Pop FAQ v0.5 (initial version)
Last updated 11 Dec 1998.
Maintained by Carl Chavez (carl@bubandbob.com).
Get the latest version at www.bubandbob.com.

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I DON'T KNOW HOW TO READ JAPANESE, SO NEARLY EVERYTHING HERE IS BASED ON 
OBSERVATION AND PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE. IF YOU CAN READ JAPANESE AND KNOW I'VE 
MADE A MISTAKE, PLEASE CONTACT ME WITH THE CORRECTION!

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1. What is Pop'n'Pop?
2. Who are the characters, and what are their powers?
3. What are the selections in the main menu?
4. What are the selections in the options menu?
5. What are the selections in the game menu (when you press START during a 
   game)?
6. How do you play the game?
        a. What are the basic rules?
        b. What is a combo? How do you perform a "quick" combo?
        c. What are the special items?
7. Who and what are the bosses?
8. How do you beat [a level] in the puzzle mode?
9. How do run Pop'n'Pop on PSEmu Pro?
10. CREDITS

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1. What is Pop'n'Pop?

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2. Who are the characters, and what are their powers?

The 1-player controller's character is first, the 2nd controller's character is
in parentheses. All characters have "familiars", who play for your chosen
character by carrying the balloons and releasing them toward the clouds. They 
also have a special item that appears more often than other special items when
playing. In versus mode, when a combo is performed they also have a special 
attack pattern for balloons that appear on the other player's side.

Bub the dragon (Bob) - the main characters in Bubble Bobble and many other 
games. May actually be called Bubblen and Bobblen, which are the names of the 
Puzzle Bobble 4  dragons, since the human forms of Bub and Bob are already in 
the game.

FAMILIAR: Monsta
YEAR OF FIRST APPEARANCE: 1986 (Bubble Bobble)
SPECIAL POWER ITEM: up arrow
ATTACK: green-blue-green-blue-green

Bub the boy (Bob) - the main characters in Rainbow Islands and Parasol Stars.


FAMILIAR: Monsta
YEAR OF FIRST APPEARANCE: 1987 (Rainbow Islands) (well, technically the end of
Bubble Bobble is the first appearance, but Bub the boy was first playable in
Rainbow Islands).
SPECIAL POWER ITEM: up arrow
ATTACK: green-blue-green-blue-green

Bob (Don) - From Don Doko Don, a game I've only seen on the PC Engine. No 
relation to Bob the dragon or Bob the boy.

FAMILIAR: Mushroom
YEAR OF FIRST APPEARANCE: 1989
SPECIAL POWER ITEM: hammer
ATTACK: red-lightning-red-lightning-red

Tiki (girlfriend) - From New Zealand Story, the first game I know of which 
glorified vehicle theft. Tiki doesn't get to use any cool flying saucers or 
armored blimps, but the balloons used in Pop'n'Pop look remarkably like the 
balloons Tiki would sometimes hijack from spear-toting hoodlums. Tiki's 
special power is the "arrow". 

Popping balloons next to the arrow causes the arrow to fly upward and pop all
balloons in its path.


FAMILIAR: Little kiwi
YEAR OF FIRST APPEARANCE: 1988
SPECIAL POWER ITEM: magic arrow
ATTACK: water-blue-water-green-water

Sayo Chan/Pocky (Sayo Chan/Pocky, should've been Rocky the raccoon) - From the
Kiki Kaikai/Pocky and Rocky
series. Her special power is her paper flag.


FAMILIAR: Ghost (Kami)
YEAR OF FIRST APPEARANCE: 1986
SPECIAL POWER ITEM: paper flag
ATTACK: lightning-lightning-lightning-lightning-lightning

Ptolemy (Ptolemy) - From Fairyland Story, a 1985 game with very challenging 
puzzles. Many bonus items and powerups from Bubble Bobble first appeared
in Fairyland Story.


FAMILIAR: Dragon
YEAR OF FIRST APPEARANCE: 1985
SPECIAL POWER ITEM: star
ATTACK: blue-green-red-brown-yellow

HIDDEN: Chackn Pop (girlfriend) - the oldest ancestor of all Bubble Bobble 
games. He appeared in his own game in 1984, along with mightas and monstas. He
still makes cameos in other Taito games such as the Puzzle Bobble series.


FAMILIAR: ???
YEAR OF FIRST APPEARANCE: 1984
SPECIAL POWER ITEM: bomb
ATTACK: yellow-yellow-yellow-yellow-yellow

HIDDEN: Hipopo (girlfriend) - From Liquid Kids/Mizubaku Adventure.


FAMILIAR: ???
YEAR OF FIRST APPEARANCE: 1990
SPECIAL POWER ITEM: water
ATTACK: water-water-water-water-water

NON-PLAYER CHARACTER: Princess - From Don Doko Don. In Don Doko Don, she's 
(ahem) kidnapped by flying cows (?!) and trapped in a bubble-like thing.
It's a very weird game... anyway, she's recruiting the Taito characters to 
save the world.


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3. What are the selections in the main menu?

From top to bottom, they are (I've made descriptions up where I can't figure 
out what is said):

        Story mode
                Play through your choice of branching levels,
                facing a boss after every fifth level. Recover
                something for the princess from "Don Doko Don".
        1-player vs. computer "versus mode"
        2-player "versus mode"
        Test mode
                The screen is split in half like a 2-player game,
                but you have to play it as a 1-player game. You
                manage both sides and try to ensure neither set of
                balloons touches the boundary. Once you lose, the
                princess will give you a rating based on how well
                you played.
        Training mode
                Simple tutorial about the game.
        Puzzle mode
                There are 100 puzzles here. Each must be solved
                with the given balloon pairs. Each puzzle can be
                solved in one to three shots. Can you figure out
                each one?
        Options
                Change difficulty and other settings. You may
                also launch the train simulation demo here.
                

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4. What are the available options in the options menu?

The first option seems to be difficulty. The left one is easy, and the right 
one is hard. The second allows you to choose from either best of 1, 3, or 5 
rounds in the versus mode.

I'm not sure what the third does.
The fourth option is a background music selector.
The fifth may control the sound type (mono/stereo/surround), as it reminds me 
of that control in Bubble Symphony (Saturn version).

You can change your controller configuration with the sixth option.

The seventh option is for saving or loading the game status from the memory 
card. Once you beat the game, you free a secret character, and by loading the
game status you can use the secret characters anytime.

The eighth option launches the train simulator demo "[something]GO! 2".
I'm not sure what the last option is. You can pick between "G-[something]" and
"[something]GO!". Maybe something to do with G-Darius and the original train 
simulator?!


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5. What are the selections in the game menu (when you press START during a 
game)?

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6. How do you play the game?

        a. What are the basic rules?

                "Puzzle Bobble meets Space Invaders". A collection of balloons
        are attached to clouds. The clouds move across the screen. When a
        column of balloons touches the edge of the screen, the clouds move 
        down one level.

                You control a familiar for your character, not your character
        him/herself. The familiar can release pairs of balloons towards the
        clouds. If a group of at least three similarly-colored balloons touch
        each other, they pop! The goal of the game is to clear the screen of
        all balloons.

                If balloons do not touch the clouds, they continue up to the 
        top of the screen and disappear. As a penalty, the clouds will 
        temporarily speed up. You usually don't want to miss the clouds, but 
        sometimes it's a good idea to.

               Any balloons below balloons that pop move upward. You can create
        combos by causing balloons to move up and form new similarly-colored
        groups of balloons, which will then pop too.

        b. What is a combo?

                A combo occurs when you pop some balloons, and the balloons 
        below the ones just popped drift up and pop more balloons. In story
        mode, a combo stuns a boss for a short time. In versus mode, a combo
        causes extra balloons to appear on the other player's side. In test 
        mode, I think a combo improves your final grade. In all modes, you get
        more points from combos than from standard pops.

              Combos make beating bosses much easier. When you perform a combo,
        the boss becomes temporarily stunned. Always try to make combos against
        the bosses so you have a little more time to clear the balloons from a
        level.


             If you're fast enough, you can create "quick" combos! You can
             still move your familiar and fire balloons while other balloons
             are popping, so any groups you pop while others are popping count
             toward your combo count. For example, say you have this
             configuration:

                RRRB            Familiar holding RB, next is GG
                   B
                   G

        You could get a standard 2-group combo by turning firing RB vertically:

                RRRB            Familiar now holding GG
                  RB
                  BG

        The four Rs pop, then the three Bs. You can get rid of the Gs by firing
        the GG afterward.

        If you're quick enough, fire the Gs while the Rs and Bs are popping. 
        Then you get something like this:

                  XX           where x are popping blue balloons (the reds have
                   X           already popped in this example)
                   G
                   G
                   G

        That way you get a three-group combo. This skill is extremely useful 
        against bosses, since you can get combos much more often by being 
        quick.

        Creating big combos (at least three pops) also causes a powerup related
        to your character to appear. Combos can really help you clear levels 
        quickly. For example, if you're Ptolemy and you get a big combo, you 
        can get the Star powerup. The Star powerup causes rainbow balloons to 
        appear for several seconds!

        c. What are the special items?

        RAINBOW - This is the wildcard balloon.
        
        MAGIC ARROW - On contact with any other balloon, it pops, the arrow 
        escapes, flies up and pops all balloons above it.
        
        HAMMER - On contact with any other balloon, it pops and and two hammers
        fly out sideways. These hammers pop all balloons in their path. If it 
        is already on the level, it will pop when an adjacent balloon group is
        popped.
        
        PAPER FLAG - On contact with any other balloon, it pops all balloons of
        the same color as the one above the paper flag.
        
        STAR - On contact with any other balloon, it causes the sun to come 
        out, like in Fairyland Story. Unlike Fairyland Story, your enemies 
        don't turn into cupcakes.
        Instead, every pair of balloons you get will consist of one colored 
        balloon and one *rainbow* balloon for as long as the sun is out. This 
        is the best powerup, and makes Ptolemy the best character!
        
        WATER
        
        BOMB
        
        UP ARROW - It is assigned a random color. When you use it as part of a
        popped group, it will pop and cause the cloud it was connected to to
        move up one level.
        
        CLOCK - It is assigned a random color. When you use it as part of a 
        popped group, it will pop and cause time to stop for a few seconds. 
        CAUTION: The clouds will stop moving, but bosses will continue to move
        and shoot!
        
        RAINBOW -
        
        LIGHTNING - Pops when an adjacent group pops. One demon appears in the 
        clouds and throws a projectile at you for every lightning balloon you 
        pop. If you're hit, you release the balloons you're holding.
        
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7. Who and what are the bosses?

All bosses will walk back and forth on top of the clouds. Every so often the 
boss will jump and land on the cloud, causing the cloud to drop down one
level. This pushes all balloons attached to the cloud to move down, too. You 
can temporarily stun a boss by popping a combo. Remember that the "quick" 
combos are very useful!

If a boss hits your familiar with a projectile, your familiar will release the
balloons it holds. This can be VERY BAD, but at least your familiar doesn't
die...

World A - Zen Chan/Bubble Buster (Bubble Bobble and many other games)
        The Bubble Buster just has the basic boss behavior. When you beat it, 
        it breaks into pieces.

World B,C - Pig Archer (New Zealand Story)
        The Pig Archer fires arrows down toward your familiar. When you beat 
        it, it turns into a pigpile.

World D - Rocky (Kiki Kaikai 2/Pocky and Rocky and sequels)
        ??? - I don't remember what Rocky does.
        
World G,F,E - Manuke (Kiki Kaikai 3/Pocky and Rocky 2, Bubble Symphony)
        Manuke, a magic melding of Sayo Chan (Pocky) and Rocky the raccoon, 
        throws three cards in a spread pattern.

World J - Gacchan (Puzzle Bobble 2, Bubble Memories)
        ??? - I don't remember what Gacchan does.

World O - Wally Walrus (New Zealand Story)
        Wally is packing some artillery this time around. He wears two rocket 
        launchers on his blubbery back and launches two rockets straight down 
        at you.

World U - King Cow (Don Doko Don)
        The King Cow summons four magical bolts straight down toward you.
        When you beat the King Cow, it becomes a human king who holds his head
        like he was under mind control.
        
World "?" - After beating world U, you uncover a "?". I accidentally hit
        reset shortly after seeing this, so I don't know what's there yet!

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8. How do you beat [level] in the puzzle mode?

TO BE COMPLETED

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9. How do run Pop'n'Pop on PSEmu Pro?

Pop'n'Pop will run on PSEmu Pro v1.04 and up. Through experimentation, I have 
determined the following setup to work best:

Enable MDEC Skipping: checked

Disable XDA Read: checked (if unchecked, music will play if you also uncheck 
Disable XA Decode. The music is buggy, though)

Graphics Processing Unit: Lewpy's 3dfx Glide3 Renderer v1.14  got the fastest
performance, but if you don't have a Voodoo1/2 then try Kazzuya Software 
Rendering Driver v1.1, which allows screenshots.

Sound Processing Unit: Kazzuya DirectSound Audio Driver v0.7 runs faster and 
more accurately than the SEAL v0.6 driver. Turn sound off for better
performance if you have a slow computer (less than PII-233?).

CD-ROM: I have an IDE CD-ROM, and I use ASPI Driver 1.2. I think it's faster if
you have a SCSI drive, but I haven't tested that.

After the Taito logo comes up and the screen goes black, you will have to wait
a while for the Pop'n'Pop title screen to appear. During this period, hit F1 a
few times to skip an MDEC. If you don't do this, then every level will take a 
long time to load. If you do skip the MDEC, then every level will load very
quickly.

All testing was performed on a PII-300 with 128MB RAM, IDE CD-ROM, Riva 128 
2D/3D board and 12MB Voodoo2 3D board, and Soundblaster PCI 64. The game runs
at full speed on this system. I just got a TNT and it appears to work fine on 
that board.

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10. CREDITS

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Taito for the fun games, and Zuntata for the first-rate music.
Bobby Conover at www.intensepsx.com for first telling me about the game and 
explaining parts of it before I had seen it.


This document is copyright (C) 1998 Carl Chavez.

This FAQ may be distributed freely for non-commercial use. It may not be sold 
for profit. It may not be published in any commercial magazine (such as 
Electronic Gaming Monthly) or stored on a commercial website (such as COP-DN) 
without permission. Permission is explicitly granted to www.gamefaqs.com to 
store this FAQ.



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