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Proto:Bust-A-Move 4 (PlayStation)

From The Cutting Room Floor
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This page details one or more prototype versions of Bust-A-Move 4 (PlayStation).

Hmmm...
To do:
There are likely inaccessible code leftovers to investigate.
  • The leftovers of VS CPU mode are particularly suspicious.
    • Someone with a better understanding of debugging PSX games should look into this.
Cacti speak Japanese.
...But what does it mean?
This game has text or audio that needs to be translated. If you are fluent with this language, please read our translation guidelines and then submit a translation!

A stripped down demo of the Japanese version of Puzzle Bobble 4 can found on プレプレ (PurePure) Vol 12. a Japanese demo disk by Sony.

The main executable PB4.EXE has a date of 8 March 1998, compared to the final game's date of 27 May 1998.

General Differences

  • The game resembles the arcade version a lot more as most of the port-specific changes haven't been made yet. More in detail in the following sections.
  • The screen resolution is 320x232 in the prototype, which was reduced to 319x228 in the final game.
Proto Final
As (mostly) seen in: Puzzle Bobble 2X and Puzzle Bobble 3 They sure added looking up frames in the final game.
  • The loading screen is much simpler in the prototype and reuses the generic 8x16 font. It looks similar to the loading screens from the Sega Saturn ports of the previous games.
Proto Final
Not pictured for easier comparision, but the character themselves were rearranged in VRAM. The box characters take the first row in the prototype
Also not pictured: the NOW LOADING text and a bunch of extra characters in the same style in that blank space.
  • To make room for the new loading screen text, the (unused) lowercase English font and most of the (still unused) "box characters" (?) were removed in the final game.
Proto Final
PB4PSX MainFontPlus Proto.png PB4PSX MainFontPlus Final.png
  • On the other hand, the 8x16/16x16 font is mostly identical between versions. The only change in the existing characters is the plus sign being replaced with two hyphens. Note that the addition of the new loading screen also added a few more characters to the font.
Proto Final
Pretty non-descriptive. You haven't finished 25 rouns[sic]...
  • One of the eight common background tiles in the prototype was overwritten with the one used in the Edit Mode ending when not all 25 levels are defined. Not really a loss consideirng an almost identical block still remains in both versions of the game. Anyway, the true palette used for the proto tile is unknown.
  • The final game adds four more common tiles, to add up to a total of 12.

Demo Lockouts

  • Directional controls are locked in the main menu. There isn't much point in keeping them enabled either, because most of the game modes were removed from the demo and will eventually softlock the game to a black screen.
  • Only the first five levels of Arcade Puzzle mode can be played. A game over screen is shown afterwards.
Proto Final
PB4PSX StageSelect Proto.png PB4PSX StageSelect1P Final.png
  • The level select screen reflects this by only marking the 'A' and 'B' level paths, even though the graphics for the other letters exist.
  • Only Bub's sound effects exist. It's to be expected, considering they are stored in separate .XA files and the demo also disables controls in the character select screen. At least everything else of the unavailable characters was kept.
In-game Full picture
Coming soon by next summer! PB4PSX ComingSoonImage Proto.png
  • After the Game Over screen, an advertisement is shown featuring an unique background picture not seen elsewhere. The picture itself is cut off 8 pixels vertically in-game, for whatever it's worth.

Intro & Title Screen

PB4PSX InfoScreen Proto.png

  • This is the first screen which loads when starting the demo, even before the Taito logo.
  • There are no title screen demos. The game simply returns to the Taito logo.
  • Advancing to the main menu can only be done by pressing Start. In the final game, Circle works as well.
Proto Final
PB4PSX Title1 Proto.pngPB4PSX Title2 Proto.png PB4PSX Title Final.png
  • Rather than blinking the PUSH START BUTTON text, in the demo it alternates between two shorter strings.

Menus

General Changes

  • In the final game, selecting an option is done through Circle, while Cross cancels and the other two buttons do nothing. This is consistent across the main menu, difficulty select and character select screens.
    It isn't the case in the prototype:
    • In the main menu, Cross and Circle select an option, while Square and Triangle cancel.
    • In the difficulty select screen, Triangle and Circle select an option, Square returns to the main menu, and Cross does nothing.
    • In the character select screen, Cross and Circle select an option, while Square returns to the difficulty select screen and Triangle does nothing.

Main Menu

  • There is no music track assigned to this screen.
Proto Final
PB4PSX MainMenu Proto.png PB4PSX MainMenu Final.png
  • Menu options aren't highlighted with a different color palette unless they are selected, in which case they still flash multiple colors as they do in the final version.
  • When a submenu is exited, the cursor always moves to the first option in the main menu. Thankfully fixed in the final game.
Proto Final
Puzzle Mode PB4PSX Menu1P Proto.png PB4PSX Menu1P Final.png
VS CPU Mode PB4PSX MenuVS Proto.png PB4PSX MenuVS Final.png
  • The main menu is missing options to view the demo instructions in both Puzzle and VS CPU mode. The respective menu text graphics are missing too.
  • Because cursor movement is disabled in the menus, the VS CPU and the Edit mode submenu are inaccessible in the demo. The latter is identical to the final game.
  • In the final game, attempting to play custom levels when none are defined will show a message instead. The prototype has no such check and can access Edit Play mode right away... which, as expected, softlocks to a black screen.

Difficulty Select

  • Like the arcade game, the difficulty select has assigned the same track which would eventually be used for the main menu.

Character Select

Proto Final
PB4PSX CharSelectFull Proto.png PB4PSX CharSelectFull Final.png
  • This is the only character select screen normally shown in the demo.
  • All of the unlockable characters appear as black silhouettes in the character select screen, while the others use a faded out palette. All of the characters are actually already unlocked: this is just a palette effect paired up with the directional keys being disabled.
  • Bramb's small icon changed background from black to gray.
Player 1 Player 2
PB4PSX CharSelectSilhouette1P Proto.png PB4PSX CharSelectSilhouette2P Proto.png
  • The silhouette effect only extends to Player 1's side. This would have been noticeable if it weren't for directonal controls being disabled.
Proto Final
Initial select PB4PSX CharSelectPart Proto.png PB4PSX CharSelectPart Final.png
VS CPU PB4PSX CharSelectStoryVS Proto.png PB4PSX CharSelectStoryVS Final.png
2P VS PB4PSX CharSelect2P Proto.png PB4PSX CharSelect2P Final.png
  • The other types of character select screens exist as well, just unused.
Proto Final
PB4PSX CharSelectAttackMLuna Proto.png PB4PSX CharSelectAttackMLuna Final.png
PB4PSX CharSelectAttackDrunk Proto.png PB4PSX CharSelectAttackDrunk Final.png
PB4PSX CharSelectAttackMonsta Proto.png PB4PSX CharSelectAttackMonsta Final.png
PB4PSX CharSelectAttackMaita Proto.png PB4PSX CharSelectAttackMaita Final.png
PB4PSX CharSelectAttackWoolen Proto.png PB4PSX CharSelectAttackWoolen Final.png
PB4PSX CharSelectAttackPacky Proto.png PB4PSX CharSelectAttackPacky Final.png
  • The full cast VS CPU screen does not display the attack descriptions for the unlockable characters correctly.
Proto Final
PB4PSX MLunaCharSelectIcon Proto.png PB4PSX MLunaCharSelectIcon Final.png
  • Madame Luna's icon was horizontally flipped for whatever reason.
Proto Final
PB4PSX MaitaCharSelectIcon Proto.png PB4PSX MaitaCharSelectIcon Final.png
  • While Maita's icon looks the same between versions, internally the border changed colors. This is only somewhat noticeable with P2's palette, which is never even used to display them anyway.
Proto Final
PB4PSX WoolenCharSelectBig Proto.png PB4PSX WoolenCharSelectBig Final.png
PB4PSX WoolenCharSelectSmall Proto.png PB4PSX WoolenCharSelectSmall Final.png
PB4PSX WoolenCharSelectIcon Proto.png PB4PSX WoolenCharSelectIcon Final.png
  • All of Woolen's portraits were redrawn.
Proto Final
PB4PSX CharSelectLockedIcon Proto.png PB4PSX CharSelectLockedIcon Final.png
  • The icon for actual locked characters in the demo, which is unused, is a completely empty square. The palette used for it doesn't seem to exist in the prototype.
Proto Final
Different colors but mostly gray. It's just like using a reverse paintbucket tool.
  • Like the arcade game, the 2P VS portraits have a non-transparent background in the demo. Because of this change, the portrait shadow graphic is slightly larger in the final game to accommodate for the transparent spots, and all of the backgrounds are of the same blue color as the shadow.
    Still, the transparent fill left out several spots. This is most noticeable in TamTam's portrait.
  • The graphics related to the Win Contest character screen (e.g. VS text and background) are missing.
  • Like the arcade game, the character select has assigned the same track as the stage select.

Stage Select

  • No flashing WAIT A MOMENT message is shown near the top of the screen.
  • Even though there is a five round restriction, not only the entirety of Easy, Normal and Hard modes exist, but so do the respective Special levels. These are normally unreachable, as the code to activate them does nothing in the demo.
    Set address 0C2294 to 03, 04 or 05 in the map screen to play one of the three special level sets.

PB4PSX StageSelectSpecial Proto.png

  • Doing so causes the stage select screen to be filled with stars, an effect which also remains unused in the final game.

PB4PSX StageSelectSpecialAnim Proto.png

  • The stars are animated.

Gameplay

General Changes

  • Every stage uses the same background. Unlike the arcade game and the final version, the layer of clouds doesn't scroll.
  • There is no delay between the round being cleared and round clear text / jingle appearing. This cuts early a few of the win animations, though normally this can't be seen in the demo as Bub's animation is short enough to not be affected by this. However, the voice clips can be heard overlapping with the round clear jingle.
  • Pressing Fire to start a round early also fires the bubble at the same time. In the final game, it requires pressing the button twice.
Proto Final
PB4PSX Round Proto.png PB4PSX Round Final.png
  • A couple of text-related differences:
    • No flashing WAIT A MOMENT or START BUTTON TO START is present on the opposite player's side.
    • Round text is missing a dash, like the arcade game.
Proto Final
PB4PSX StarHit Proto.png PB4PSX StarHit Final.png
  • Hitting a star bubble makes it disappear immediately, rather than after the animation ends.
  • The text for player 2's score is positioned further to the right in the demo.
  • Pause text simply says PAUSE rather than PLAYER<n> PAUSE.
  • The pause menu (accessible by pressing Select after pausing the game) doesn't exist.

Music

  • The track for both round themes loop earlier, cutting out the last segment of the songs.
  • Unpausing restarts the music.

Bugs & Oddities

  • The color randomizer is buggy in the prototype. In certain circumstances it has a tendency to give priority to a few colors (e.g. Blue or Green), repeating them over and over. This makes a few rounds like H-4 very hard if not outright impossible to beat.
  • It's possible to move the pointer towards the center twice as fast by holding Up and the correct direction at the same time.
  • The up arrow block's morph animation sometimes fails to play and the block abruptly changes.

PB4PSX PausePaletteAnimError Proto.pngPB4PSX PausePaletteAnimError2 Proto.png

  • Pausing the game sometimes not only fails to stop the palette animation, but plays it at double speed.

VS CPU Mode Leftovers

Setting 0C2245 to 01 partially enables leftovers of the VS CPU mode. Note that the game may be unstable and eventually freeze if done in the middle of a level.

PB4PSX RoundVSLeftovers Proto.png

  • This changes the screen layout to the otherwise unused VS one, and tries to use bubble generator for the bubble layout.
  • The pointer machinery and characters are positioned incorrectly and either fail to animate or do so at double speed.
  • Due to bad priority the bubbles are hidden behind the background.
  • Chain reactions aren't enabled.

PB4PSX RoundVSLeftovers2 Proto.png

  • If the address is set back to 00, the randomized bubble layout can be seen.

Characters

General Changes

  • The loss animation starts playing only after the continue screen shows up.
  • A few of the loss / continue pictures or animations loop incorrectly.
  • None of the characters except for Bub have sound effects, but continuing does play Bub's continue SFX, regardless of character.
  • Even though the animations exist, the panic and "almost clear" animations never play. For obvious reasons, VS CPU specific animations don't play either.
  • The idle animations tend to be simpler and use fewer frames. Unless otherwise noted, the extra graphics and the animation itself do exist - it's just the game never calling them.

Bub & Bob

Proto Final
PB4PSX BubIdle Proto.png PB4PSX BubIdle Final.png
  • No looking up in the idle animation. Get ready, as this will be a reoccurring theme among most of the characters.
  • Bub's sound effects are exactly the same as the arcade game.
  • Bob's sound effects are reused from Bub.

Alkanet

Proto Final
PB4PSX AlkanetPalette Proto.png PB4PSX AlkanetPalette Final.png
  • The palette was updated for both 1P and 2P to have softer shading for the skin color. In the prototype, 2P also uses different colors for it.
Proto Final
1P PB4PSX AlkanetPaletteExample1P Proto.png PB4PSX AlkanetPaletteExample1P Final.png
2P PB4PSX AlkanetPaletteExample2P Proto.png PB4PSX AlkanetPaletteExample2P Final.png
  • How the palettes look when applied to the character.
Proto Final
PB4PSX AlkanetIdle Proto.png PB4PSX AlkanetIdle Final.png
  • Missing the looking up part of the idle animation.
Proto Final
PB4PSX AlkanetWinSnowman Proto.png PB4PSX AlkanetWinSnowman Final.png
  • The snowman is smaller in the prototype.
Proto Final
PB4PSX AlkanetSmallSnowman Proto.png PB4PSX AlkanetSmallSnowman Final.png
  • A nitpicky change, but one extra pixel was added for the shading to the lower right side of the snowman. The other frame for the snowman is identical to the final game.
Proto Final
PB4PSX AlkanetWinPic Proto.png PB4PSX AlkanetWinPic Final.png
PB4PSX AlkanetLossPic Proto.png PB4PSX AlkanetLossPic Final.png
  • The curls were redrawn in both the win and loss pics.
  • In the prototype, the facial expression for the continue frame contains the curls baked in in the prototype. Likely to avoid redrawing them, they were removed. It doesn't really matter anyway due to sprite transparency.

Marino

Proto Final
PB4PSX MarinoIdle Proto.png PB4PSX MarinoIdle Final.png
  • The idle animation is incomplete in the prototype.

Kurol

Proto Final
PB4PSX KurolIdle Proto.png PB4PSX KurolIdle Final.png
  • Broken idle animation loop. The second/looking up part of the animation does not exist either, even if setting the animation ID manually, but the graphics for it are present.

TamTam

Proto Final
PB4PSX TamTamIdle Proto.png PB4PSX TamTamIdle Final.png
  • As usual, no looking up in the idle animation.
Proto Final
PB4PSX TamTamLossPic Proto.png PB4PSX TamTamLossPic Final.png
  • The loss pic does not fade to gray.

Cleon

Proto Final
PB4PSX CleonIdle Proto.png PB4PSX CleonIdle Final.png
  • Missing the second part of the idle animation.
Proto Final
PB4PSX CleonWinPic Proto.png PB4PSX CleonWinPic Final.png
  • Cleon's arm in the win pic was made a little bit thicker.

G

Proto Final
PB4PSX GIdle Proto.png PB4PSX GIdle Final.png
  • Looking up in the idle animation has never happened before.
  • The loss pic has a buggy loop between the first and last frame. There is no loop in the final game.

Bramb

Proto Final
PB4PSX BrambIdle Proto.png PB4PSX BrambIdle Final.png
  • Well...

Develon

Proto Final
PB4PSX DevelonIdle Proto.png PB4PSX DevelonIdle Final.png
  • Develon blinks much more often in the prototype and lacks, guess what, the looking up animation.
Proto Final
PB4PSX DevelonFire Proto.png PB4PSX DevelonFire Final.png
  • Part of the fire effect was erased in one of the frames for some reason.
  • The combo picture erroneously doesn't loop and as such it disappears almost immediately.

Gigant

Proto Final
PB4PSX GigantIdle Proto.png PB4PSX GigantIdle Final.png
  • The idle animation continues the tradition of being simpler.
Proto Final
PB4PSX GigantIdleFrame Proto.png PB4PSX GigantIdleFrame Final.png
PB4PSX GigantFire0 Proto.png PB4PSX GigantFire0 Final.png
  • Gigant's legs were touched up in a few frames. In the final game, however, what's used in the stage select keeps the older design.
Proto Final
PB4PSX GigantWinPic Proto.png PB4PSX GigantWinPic Final.png
  • The win pic is reused from the arcade version.
Proto Final
PB4PSX GigantLossPic Proto.png PB4PSX GigantLossPic Final.png
  • The loss pic lacks electricity effects and for one frame has a transparency error, as if the smoke was positioned incorrectly. This was fixed in the final game by... removing said transparency.
Proto Final
PB4PSX GigantContinuePic Proto.png PB4PSX GigantContinuePic Final.png
  • In the continue pic, the red eyes were made shinier and fire was added.

Madame Luna

Proto Final
"Drunk's bizarre costume adventure" is a thing with these classic Puzzle Bobble games. Most of these costumes are ridiculous. Mecha Bubblen, Debblelon, and then this monstrocity?
  • Looking up during the idle animation? Nope, not here (shocking).
  • Drunk always appears during the loss animation as if it were VS CPU Story mode. This animation also loops, which is completely wrong.

Drunk

  • Drunk does not have an intro animation. He just appears.
Proto Final
PB4PSX DrunkIdle Proto.png PB4PSX DrunkIdle Final.png
  • You can guess by now what's missing in this idle animation.
  • The combo animation has a tendency to glitch out and loop endlessly between two frames, overriding almost every other animation.
Proto Final
PB4PSX DrunkLossPic Proto.png PB4PSX DrunkLossPic Final.png
  • The loss pic is from the arcade game, though it erroneously loops.
Proto Final
Honk PB4PSX DrunkContinuePic Final.png
  • On the other hand, this goofy continue picture is new.

Monsta

Proto Final
PB4PSX MonstaIdle Proto.png PB4PSX MonstaIdle Final.png
  • The idle animation is missing the looking up and sleeping parts. The graphics for the latter are missing.
Proto Final
PB4PSX MonstaCombo Proto.png PB4PSX MonstaCombo Final.png
  • In the final game, a glow effect and fire was added as separate sprites overlayed on top of the original one. The animation itself was also lengthened, slowed down, and added an extra frame for a better transition to the idle animation. None of these extra graphics exist in the prototype.
  • The loss picture accidentally loops.

Maita

Proto Final
PB4PSX MaitaIdle Proto.png PB4PSX MaitaIdle Final.png
  • Maita only rotates his head during the idle animation. The other graphics exist because they are used in the "attacked" animation, but the secondary idle animation itself doesn't exist at all.
Proto Final
PB4PSX MaitaCombo Proto.png PB4PSX MaitaCombo Final.png
  • The rock is missing the smoke-ish effect. It hasn't been drawn yet.
Proto Final
PB4PSX MaitaComboPic Proto.png PB4PSX MaitaComboPic Final.png
  • This extends to the combo picture.
Proto (In-game) Proto (Full) Final
PB4PSX MaitaWin Proto.png PB4PSX MaitaWinFull Proto.png PB4PSX MaitaWin Final.png
  • In the prototype Maita jumps four times instead of three, and he performs small jumps twice afterwards. This animation was too long and gets cut short in-game, so it was shortened in the final game.

Packy

Proto Final
PB4PSX PackyPalette2P Proto.png PB4PSX PackyPalette2P Final.png
PB4PSX PackyPaletteExample2P Proto.png PB4PSX PackyPaletteExample2P Final.png
  • Player 2's palette was changed from yellow and blue to... pink and slightly darker shade of pink.
Proto Final
PB4PSX PackyIdle Proto.png PB4PSX PackyIdle Final.png
  • Usual idle animation differences right here.
Proto Final
PB4PSX PackyCombo Proto.png PB4PSX PackyCombo Final.png
  • The combo animation does not have electric sparks. The graphics for them don't exist either.
Proto Final
PB4PSX PackyComboPic Proto.png PB4PSX PackyComboPic Final.png
  • The combo pic is very much incomplete in the prototype. This is most noticeable with Packy's head, which is less round and lacks much shading in the prototype.
Proto Final
PB4PSX PackyWinPic Proto.png PB4PSX PackyWinPic Final.png
  • The win pic is completely different between versions.
Proto Final
PB4PSX PackyLossPic Proto.pngPB4PSX PackyContinuePic Proto.png PB4PSX PackyLossPic Final.pngPB4PSX PackyContinuePic Final.png
  • In the loss and continue pictures the paw was shortened to not look weird.
Proto Final
PB4PSX PackyStageSelect Proto.png PB4PSX PackyStageSelect Final.png
  • The stage select frame in the prototype is from an earlier version of the graphics. Packy has shinier eyes and the shading on the lower part of the body is a little bit different.
    This frame also seems to have been copied over existing graphics in such a way that whatever was there before was kept.

Woolen

Woolen received the most changes and improvements out of all of the unlockable characters. With the exception of those in the attacked/loss animation, every sprite is different.
Main differences include:

  • Smaller and rounder eyes. At times they are just too big in the prototype!
  • A redrawn bell with improved shading which usually does not change shape, border color or size between frames.
  • Smaller arms, which are also positioned differently.
  • Different body shape.
Proto Final
PB4PSX WoolenIntro Proto.png PB4PSX WoolenIntro Final.png
  • The intro animation is mostly the same, but at the end it does have arms positioned differently.
Proto Final
PB4PSX WoolenIdleMain Proto.png PB4PSX WoolenIdleMain Final.png
  • The main idle animation was made faster and, more importantly, less... odd looking. The first frame, reused between animations, also features a different facial expression.
Proto Final
PB4PSX WoolenIdleSec Proto.png PB4PSX WoolenIdleSec Final.png
  • The secondary idle animation, which of course is unused in the prototype. Alongside the usual changes, Woolen does not reach as high in the final game.
Proto Final
PB4PSX WoolenPanic Proto.png PB4PSX WoolenPanic Final.png
  • The smaller legs are pretty noticeable, as it is the consistent position of the bell compared to the prototype. As for the animation itself, it was made faster to look less choppy and added three repeated frames at the beginning.
Proto Final
PB4PSX WoolenAttack Proto.png PB4PSX WoolenAttack Final.png
  • In the attacked animation, the prototype reuses some frames from the loss animation. For more bell-related details, this animation contains frames which weren't updated, and so they still use the old bell graphics.
Proto Final
PB4PSX WoolenHappy Proto.png PB4PSX WoolenHappy Final.png
  • The arms were reduced in size and positioned a bit differently.
Proto Final
PB4PSX WoolenCombo Proto.png PB4PSX WoolenCombo Final.png
  • The bell issues continue here as they change size and border color between frames.
Proto Final
PB4PSX WoolenComboPic Proto.png PB4PSX WoolenComboPic Final.png
  • In the combo pic, both arms were changed: the right arm's is in a different position, while the left arm was touched up a bit.
Proto Final
PB4PSX WoolenWinPic Proto.png PB4PSX WoolenWinPic Final.png
  • Both win pics have a similar pose, but that's about it. It was completely redrawn. Note that in-game, the first frame only shows once since the animation loops to the second frame.
Proto Final
PB4PSX WoolenLossPic Proto.png PB4PSX WoolenLossPic Final.png
  • The right arm was shortened in the loss pic of the final game. For some reason however, most of the cloud animation was removed as only the top right corner is still animated in the final game.
Proto Final
PB4PSX WoolenContinuePic1 Proto.pngPB4PSX WoolenContinuePic2 Proto.png PB4PSX WoolenContinuePic1 Final.pngPB4PSX WoolenContinuePic2 Final.png
  • Unlike every other continue pic, this one has two frames of animation in the prototype. However, it's bugged and erroneously loops. The final game updated both frames... but only the second one ended up being used!
  • Woolen's sprite in the stage select is accidentally cut off at the last line.

Miscellaneous

  • The intro for the VS CPU Story mode still lingers here, unused but identical to the one from the final game. The font was already changed and it includes the extra scene with Madame Luna and Cleon.

PB4PSX MainMenuExit.png

  • "EXIT"... in English characters, in the style of the otherwise Japanese main menu font. This is also unused in the final game.

Unused Text

SsUtKeyOnV error! nowvoice = %d :sc = %d 
mode set error
search error
loc set error %x
read error

Debug text not included alongside the debug strings of the standard library.

POSITION CONTROL
JL:
PTS:
SEC:

Miscellaneous unused text.