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Rainbow Islands: The Story of Bubble Bobble 2 (Arcade)

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Title Screen

Rainbow Islands: The Story of Bubble Bobble 2

Also known as: Rainbow Islands: The Story of Bubble Bobble 2 - Extra Version (JP re-release)
Developer: Taito
Publisher: Taito
Platform: Arcade (Custom)
Released internationally: October 1987[1] (original), March 1988[2] (Extra Version)

CodeIcon.png This game has unused code.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
ItemsIcon.png This game has unused items.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
SoundIcon.png This game has unused sounds.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.

And you were just a scroll away from being fired too...
Oh dear, I do believe I have the vapors.
This page contains content that is not safe for work or other locations with the potential for personal embarrassment.
Such as: Bub/Bob won't even mind covering their penis when changing clothes.

Bub and Bob are back in human form, and with rainbow power!

Error Handler

Your numbers mean nothing to me
The game has a basic handler that prints the error type, the contents of the Program Counter, and registers D0-D7 & A0-A7. To see it, well... crash the game. The game checks for the following 68000 exception vectors (text starts at 0x0159A), but these may not be visible in an emulator since these are printed in the bottom 8 lines of the screen. Since the game normally only uses 224 scanlines for the game rather than the 232 used by the error handler, these can be cut off by emulators:

EML 1010
EML 1111
(Source: Original TCRF research)
(Source: Porchy, eighty5cacao)

Unused Items

While there are a good amount of unused items in the game's code, most of them have been dummied out. With the exception of the yellow and green balloons, which work identically to the red balloon, all that's left of these items are their point values.

Put the cheat below in MAME's rbisland.xml cheat file to replace the Sneakers item with one of these unused items.
Item ID Point Value Comments
Stop trying to eat images on the internet you dope 00 10 Points Never intended to be used, this is just a placeholder item used to mark where the food items are in the code.

This item can't be spawned through the cheat due to the way it works (00 is used as blank space).

I, tem 51 10 Points Like the previous item, this is used to mark where the, um, "item" items are in the item table.
Le Ballon Jaune 60 200 Points Identical to the red balloon bonus item. Even the actual power-up is red!
El Globo Verde 61 200 Points Identical to the yellow balloon bonus item. Even the actual power-up is yellow red!
I love old parchment 6E 4,000 Points This scroll is briefly seen on the treasure horde in the bad ending of the game before getting picked up by Bubby/Bobby.
Heartless 6F 5,000 Points Hearts are used in the bad ending's treasure pile and on the title screen to mark how many times the game has been completed. They are used as items in Rainbow Islands Extra but on all their colors they're worth 10,000 points instead.
Looks swirly 7B 3,000 Points Even a unique sprite wasn't enough to save this item. It appears on the treasure pile in the bad ending, though.
Bubble 8C 100 Points Bubbles only appear in Bubble Island (imagine that) and are worth 10/20/30 points, depending on color.
Bobble 8D 500 Points
Bibble 8E 1,000 Points
Battle?! 8F 10 Points This bubble isn't used anywhere in the final game. That poor Monsta will be forever trapped in his liquid prison.
 <cheat desc="Replace Sneakers With...">
      <item value="0x0051">I Placeholder </item>
      <item value="0x0060">Yellow Balloon</item>
      <item value="0x0061">Green Balloon </item>
      <item value="0x006E">Scroll        </item>
      <item value="0x006F">Heart         </item>
      <item value="0x007B">Water Potion  </item>
      <item value="0x008C">Green Bubble  </item>
      <item value="0x008D">Yellow Bubble </item>
      <item value="0x008E">Red Bubble    </item>
      <item value="0x008F">Monsta Bubble </item>
    <script state="run">
    <script state="off">
(Source: Original TCRF research)

Unused Graphics


And then his flying machine falls on him
This was later used in the non-Game Boy versions of the console-only sequel Parasol Stars, being shown just before a player starts descending from a jump. In this game, Bub and Bob immediately start moving their arms instead.

The world's worst can-can The Rockettes will never accept this
A pair of player animations for, presumably, climbing on and stepping off of rainbows (the actual game uses the walking animation for those).

What why where who
Sprites of Bub/Bob changing into a superhero costume. No other sprites with this outfit exist in the ROM, so what this was meant to be used for is a mystery.

Bouncy bouncy Pin?
Bubbles designed like the ones in Bubble Bobble. The bubbles that appear in Bubble Island only have one frame and don't pop.

Spin Nips Nisp Psni Robot parts are sturdybut loose like Lego-brand rectangular brick module pieces
Every boss but Doh was meant to have a more elaborate death sequence. Presumably, these bosses were meant to explode into smaller sprites instead of just simply disappearing. Bosses 1-4 are just larger versions of level enemies, so only bosses 6-10 need the extra graphics seen here, the boss of Robot Island even has four unique sprites for this! The parts should be flying all over the dang place.

These are called mace balls, right? I didn't research this
A smaller sprite of the mace balls that the Cyclops enemies throw. Perhaps it would have split into these smaller parts?

What am I supposed to caption these with? They're slimes I could make a Dragon Warrior reference I guess Nickelodeon is another option I suppose Or TMNT? Wait, that's ooze
The slimes in Dragon Island have animations for climbing Bubby & Bobby's rainbow projectiles, something they can't do in the final game.

Fireballs are the loogies of dragonkind
This fireball's about twice as big as the ones shot by the golden-armored knights in Dragon Island. Its location in the Object GFX ROM is close to the Dragon boss, so this might have been its original attack before its massive flame breath was drawn.


This is a sketch of the Golem enemy's second animation frame. This might be a placeholder image for an undrawn third frame.

180 degrees of movement 360 degrees of movement, but not in the right way
Behold the only unused enemy in the game, the Negium from the first Darius game. This would obviously appear on Darius Island.

In-game Full
Who keeps making these golems?
Does the bombs' gradual growth make more or less sense?

More unused Golem frames. The bombs he throws were supposed to slowly form in his hands, but since these frames aren't used, they reappear instantly.

BG Graphics

R.I.P. Old Taito
Taito's "new", modern logo. This would have been the first game to feature the new logo, but for some reason, it was never implemented and they went with the old one instead. This logo would eventually debut in Chase H.Q., almost a year after this game (though Taito had plans to introduce it earlier).

R.I.P. Big Old Taito (B.O.T.)
The larger new Taito logo is present too!

Why do I keep finding these things in arcade games
Some sort of demonic shovel-wielding bunny man. The actual palette for this hellspawn hasn't been found if it even exists anymore.

I'm gonna make a quilt
Generic block platforms and patterns that don't match up with any particular level in the game. This also isn't the correct palette, but it matches well enough.

Moon Zone
Moon b/w star. May or may not be using the right palette.

I just met her?
This is a footer for the scroll in the bad ending, but there's no space left on the screen to put it.

Give me a G!
The standard white text on a black background Game Over message could have been something more elaborate. Didn't go through, though.

Flame flicker failure
The flames in the jail cell room were supposed to move. Animating level tiles seemed to bedevil the programmers, as can be seen in later examples.

Best 5 WHAT?
The "Best 5" high score screen, like the Game Over screen, has similarly unused graphics that could have spiced up the otherwise plain text displayed therein. This is just a mockup, as no tilemap has been located in the ROM at this time.

Insect Island
Stop! Don't open that door
An animated door unlocking and opening itself. Seems like this may have been an early version of the sprite-based doors that lead to secret rooms.

Combat Island
I can't fit those shapes into any of the holes
Just some small bricks, geometric shapes, and windows. No big deal, really.

Toy Island
No matter how they toss the dice, we're meant to be Platforms for every possible face of a six-sided die. These would have paired up well with the card suit blocks of the first round.

Doh's Island
The debate between gray and grey rages on to this dey Butter brick beams brightly
The gold and silver bricks should have a shine animation on player contact, as they did in Arkanoid. That would mean the animation of level tiles though, so no go.

Dragon Island
Wooden furniture seems like a bad idea for Dragon Island
A bridge tile, furniture, and wood platforms for the first round. Too bad about that lumber shortage. Notice that the bricks are outlined in black rather than the dark red that the other tiles use.

When the last leaf falls from that tree, I will make a stupid alt caption
A unique window for either the third or fourth round, with red curtains and an outlook to a forested area. Well, a tree, anyway.

In-game Intended
No real-time dynamic lighting, 0/10 would not buy I don't know if my computer can handle these graphics

The platforms have special tiles for curved shadows, but they were never placed in any of the rounds. All shadows are simple rectangles in the final game.

Magical Island
Big Rock Candy Mountain was a recruitment song for black death hobo pirates
Worlds 8 and 9 didn't seem to receive the same amount of polish as the others. In the first round alone, eight different blocks are unused.

What do you have against windows?
The second round has two unused windows and tied log blocks that would have added visual variety to the area.

This looks like rock candy too. Delicious
The third round was hit particularly badly. All but two tiles at the very start are just solid squares that are sometimes repeated three or four times. Rounded-off corner and end pieces exist, so it was clearly supposed to look better. And check it out, more unused window blocks.

These are called ionic columns. There, you possibly learned something WELCOME! ENTRANCE TO HELL
Grecian columns only appear in the background and on the sides of the fourth round. The foreground columns never hold up anything, they just stretch into eternity. The entryway on the right is partially used in the boss room, though there's a platform above it that cuts off the topmost tiles.

I don't know what this architecture style is called
This tileset isn't used in any capacity and only consists of a few blocks. It uses the same palette as the first and second round's tilesets.

Darius Island
Red light green light (Red light green light)
Of the eleven blocks found in the first round's tileset, only three blocks ended up being used. The red and green blocks could have been animated... maybe.

Deadlines are a thing
This is even worse! Only two blocks of the third round's tileset are used, but they're both basically the same block, there are different-looking blocks right there! Augh.

Early Graphics

Early Final
Don't eat it, it's cardboard
Don't eat it, it's a hive
It might be okay to eat this
Actually don't, it's just a png on the internet

Insect Island's egg and hive objects were originally background elements. Their palettes had to be altered slightly when they were converted to sprites.

Early Final
The Crate Beauty Crate Expectations

The crate enemy from Combat Island went through a bit of ocular reshaping.

Early Final
The Crate War The Crate Depression

Only one frame of the crate enemy's destroyed graphics has the earlier design's straight-on eyes, and even those graphics were redrawn.

Early Final
Crate Balls of Fire The Crate Chicago Fire

The Dragon Island dragons' fireballs had their second frame of animation improved, now it actually looks animated!

Early Final
Crate Crate crate crate

The Invaders' lasers reverted back to their Bubble Bobble two-pixel thickness.

Early Final
Parchment update: I'm lovin' it It's slightly betterer

An early version of the letter in the bad ending is in the second GFX ROM. Unlike the final letter, which uses a tilemap, every single part of the early letter uses a unique tile. This is obviously unnecessary and makes the whole thing take up a significant amount of space, but they went ahead and did it anyway.

The only two differences are that "changed" was changed/turned to "turned", and a superfluous space before "surface" was deleted.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Unused Sounds

ID Sound Comments
This is a version of the Bubble Island theme with a six-and-a-half-second intro. The version that plays in the final game, sound 11, has no intro.
Packaged with the rest of the standard sound effects, perhaps this is an alternate "special item" collection sound.
Sound 25 is played twice: Once when the players get trapped by Dark Dragon's bubbles, and again when taken to a prison cell by said bubble after getting hit with it on their last life. Sound 26 should have been used in that second situation.
The extra life sound from Darius. It seems that on Darius Land the global extra life sound was supposed to be replaced with this.
This sounds like a harsher version of the "boss hit" sound effect (28).
Placed before the other two Doh's Island sounds by ID, this would have been used after stepping on a gold or silver block.
A siren that bears resemblance to the "Hurry up!" klaxons.
Seems like an alternate version of the sound heard as the Electric Fan boss dies (30).
A basic test of the game's audio engine.
(Source: Original TCRF research)


Out-of-Bounds Magical Island Area

In-Game Full
Chopped No, move the camera back down

The boss arena in Magical Island is larger than it appears in normal gameplay. The three topmost platforms aren't accessible at all, and the two platforms below those can't actually be jumped upon.

Power-Up Difficulty Feature
The power-ups in the game (which follow the pattern of Sneakers, Red Jug, Orange Jug, Red Jug, Yellow Star, Crystal Ball, Red Star, then a special power-up) are dropped from every third enemy in the game. There's unused code to change how often they drop based on the game's current difficulty level: One every two enemies defeated, one every three, one every five, or one every seven enemies. In the finished game, all four of the drop table pointers point to the once-per-three drop table.

Put this code in MAME's rbisland.xml cheat file to reactivate this dropped feature:

  <cheat desc="Drop Rates Change With Difficulty">
    <script state="run">
    <script state="off">
(Source: Original TCRF research)

Revisional Differences

There are two differences between the sets labeled "New" and "Old" in MAME's nomenclature, both of which are related to the secret rooms.

  • The 50,000,000-point bonus for visiting all secret rooms isn't achievable in the old version, since the counter that gets incremented each time the player visits a secret room hadn't been coded yet.
  • It's possible to go above the secret rooms by walking on rainbows in the old version. Going past the screen will scroll the screen up to the next bonus area and make the game think that the player is fighting a boss.
(Source: Mike Coates (rainbow.c MAME driver))

Rainbow Islands Extra

Oops, we accidentally made one more version than we needed!
Rainbow Islands - Extra Version (named after a rebalanced revision of Darius) is a modified board of Rainbow Islands that was only released in Japan and was made due to, as mentioned in an interview, dissatisfaction from the developers in regards to the original game's difficulty balance. Extra is designed to be significantly more difficult than the original.

  • Each world's enemy set (save for Bubble Island) has been changed. However, the world map previews remain the same, making them rather misleading. The enemy sets are:
Island Enemy Set
Insect Island Darius Island
Combat Island Magical Island
Monster Island Dragon Island
Toy Island Doh's Island
Doh's Island Insect Island
Robot Island Monster Island
Dragon Island Toy Island
Magical Island Robot Island
Darius Island Combat Island
Original Extra
Seems cheerful enough Black like your SOUL
  • Every round was given a new palette. Some of the bonus items that are part of each stage's layout were changed as well; the most significant change is that almost all of the Star items past Insect Island have been removed.


Enter all 10 hidden rooms and earn 5 million points
if you've continued, or 10 million if you haven't.
It's a much better deal to go without taking
Power-Up Equipment (1-9)! You'll earn 1 million
points in each hidden room (1-9), but if you don't
take anything from 1 through 9, you'll earn
50 million points! Clear stage 40 without using
commands or Power-Up Equipment for a bonus of
3 million points! Head for 100 million!


The hidden commands have all been changed! There are a
total of 13! The hidden room commands display only the 
first letter and one one other letter, with the rest
blanked out. The "one other letter" differs depending
on the location, but is related to the color of
something. Break Hint F's code!


Power-Up Equipment appears based on the color of
something. If you understand this, you'll have
even more fun fighting with strategy!
Let's crack the code!!

(Translations: N. Onymous)
  • Three new hints, Hints D-F, were added to the game. These hints detail the changes made to the original game's mechanics.

What could have bubble been

The legendary B.B-3 story!!
Super Skull Monster has died.
However, a spirit has escaped from his body.
It split into 3 pieces, and later became
the Three Skull Brothers!!
The story will continue
one day 100 years later,
when Bubby and Bobby's descendants
once again begin the journey
to the fateful battle.
  • There's an extra message in the good ending after the player enters their name into the high score table. It's a plot synopsis of what should have been "Bubble Bobble 3", but both Parasol Stars (which is subtitled Bubble Bobble III) and Bubble Symphony (which features the concept of Bub and Bob's descendants) ended up having completely different stories, this plot was instead used for the NES Bubble Bobble Part 2.
(Translation: Joe)


  • The Rainbow Special item, which can only spawn after using 33 credits in the original game, now appears every 800 credits in this version.
    • Not only that, but it doesn't actually do anything in Extra because its routine has been completely dummied out!
  • The Bronze, Silver, and Gold Scepters appear after collecting 6 of the appropriate crowns in Extra, compared to 6, 8, and 10 crowns respectively in the original game.
  • The requirement for the Red Tiara was changed from 20 enemies killed by the guardian fairy to 50 enemies.
  • The requirement for the Green Tiara was changed from 30 enemies killed by stars to 90 enemies.
  • The requirements for the three Ring items changed from collecting 3 Red Jugs/Orange Jugs/Sneakers to 12 of those items. This change makes the various Potion items appear much more often than in the original game.


Some of the enemy patterns in Rainbow Island Extra have changed, mostly in the early and later islands.

  • The only enemies in Insect Island that fire projectiles are the turrets, and those bullets no longer home in on the player.
  • The Fighter Plane enemies from Darius Island aren't present in Insect Island.
  • The Wizards in Combat Island do not shoot any projectiles.
  • The Caterpillars that were originally in Magical Island are completely absent from Extra.
  • All of the knights in Monster Island are Gold Knights. The regular Knight enemies don't make an appearance here.
  • The Water Gun enemies in Dragon Island can shoot two times in a row, compared to just once in the original game.
  • The robot heads in Magical Island home into the players non-stop, unlike the original version where they fly a little, make a brief pause, and continue chasing.
  • The number of bombs that the Crate enemies in Darius Island shoot was doubled from two to four.
  • The Cannon enemies in Darius Island can shoot up to three bombs at once, up from a single bomb in the original game.


All of the bosses had their difficulty levels rebalanced to match their new location in the game.

  • Electric Fan's ships no longer track the player, and the boss itself only has 10 HP, down from 22 HP in the original game.
  • The Red Devil's trident moves two-thirds as fast in Extra. He has just 13 HP, eleven less than the original game.
  • The Dragon boss has to come to a stop twice instead of once before he uses his flame breath. He has 18 HP, four less HP than normal.
  • Doh moves (!!!) back and forth while firing his deadly squares.


  • The Giant Spider has a new attack: Spider webs shoot out from its butt and fall from the sky.
  • The Giant Vampire shoots out eight bats at once, up from six in the original game.
  • The number of Clowns that the Giant Clown spawns doubled from four to eight. The boss itself moves twice as fast.
  • The Giant Robot has slightly faster rocket fists and fires six energy balls instead of four.
  • The Giant Plane has changed the most, and is significantly harder in Extra:
    • The plane itself moves twice as fast.
    • The Giant Plane shoots out seven bombs, one every five frames, then waits for 35 frames. In the original game, it dropped just one bomb every 48 frames.
    • The bombs fall down four times as fast.


  • The (final) Boss of Shadow can be killed in the original game with a single hit in either phase from the "sides rainbows" attack obtained from the Big Bubble item, making it possible to skip his second phase entirely. In Extra, these projectiles no longer collide with either form of the boss, making the 1,000,000-point bonus unobtainable and the Street Fighter I reference go unseen. It is also no longer possible to get into the secret room after killing the second phase of the boss.

Secret Rooms

Original Extra
Your sudden questionable game design ruined players' attempts at 100%, Taito! RainbowIslandsArcWorld5DoorExtra.png
  • The secret room door in World 5's boss area is the first door in the original game to suddenly (and somewhat frustratingly) change the placement pattern from the top to the bottom of the room. In Extra, the door was moved up, making it appropriate for the Giant Spider boss battle.
Original Extra
Players who accidentally entered it got their 100% run ruined AND their time wasted. Taito, who hurt you? RainbowIslandsArcWorld10DoorExtra.png
  • Just like World 5, World 10's secret room door was moved upward in Extra.

I'd like to survive but...points!

Leave without taking the Power-Up Equipment to earn 1000000 points!!
(Translation: N. Onymous)
  • Exiting a secret room without collecting the bonus item nets the player 1,000,000 points. If the player visits the first nine bonus rooms and doesn't collect a single bonus item, they'll get 50,000,000 points!
  • The point bonus for entering all secret rooms has decreased from 50,000,000 points to 10,000,000 points. If the player collected the Big Bubble item, it's reduced further to 5,000,000 points.
  • The passwords in the secret rooms are not fully visible. The first character is always revealed, but only one of the other seven characters is displayed. That character depends on the last diamond collected in a stage before the boss. So, theoretically, a player would have to visit a bonus room at least seven times to get the full password.
  • Additionally, all of the secret room passwords are different between versions:
B = Rainbow, J = Jump, S = Start
Cheat Rainbow Islands Rainbow Islands Extra
(Source: Mike Coates (rainbow.c MAME driver))
  • The passwords for Hints A-C aren't given in Extra, but they're identical to the original game.
  • For the first seven islands in Extra, the special items in each secret room are not determined by the stage number. Instead, the treasure depends on the color of the last diamond collected.

Additionally, two of the special items in the original game - the big wing book and warp doors - were replaced by new treasures.

Diamond Special Item
Red Continue Book
Orange Money Bag
A giant money bag worth 100,000 points falls at the start of each stage
Changes all items in the end-of-stage treasure chests into money bags
Yellow Big Key That is a big key
Briefly shows the entire password at the top of the screen
The graphics for this treasure are present in the original game, but the item is not.
Green Big Feather
Protection fairy is only around for ~8 seconds each stage, not permanently
Blue Big Orange Jug
Indigo Big Red Jug
Violet Big Sneakers
(Source: Original TCRF research)

Arcade Archives Re-release

Due to the fear of copyright infringement, the "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" motif in the main theme has been changed for the Arcade Archives re-release. It is, instead, based on the NES Version that was released in the US, but newly arranged for the YM2151 sound chip by Yukiharu Urita.

Original Arcade Archives NES (US)