Buster Bros, originally released in Japan as Pomping World and known in most other markets as Pang, is a 1989 action game released by Mitchell Corporation for arcades in 1989. It was the tenth game released for Capcom’s CP System arcade hardware.
The basic gameplay is identical to a much earlier 1983 Japanese MSX computer game called Cannon Ball (also released in 1983 on the ZX Spectrum as Bubble Buster). Cannon Ball was made by Japanese publishers Hudson Soft, and it was licensed by Mitchell Corporation six years later to make Pang.
In Buster Bros, players must finish a round-the-world quest to destroy bouncing balloons that are terrorising several of Earth’s landmarks and cities. The fight to save the Earth begins on Mount Fuji, Japan, where the players must pass all three stages before moving on to the next location.
Conversions, all titled Pang, were released across Europe by Ocean Software in 1990 for the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Amiga, and Atari ST.
Buster Bros Gameplay
There are 50 stages at 17 locations: Mount Fuji, Mount Keirin, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Angkor Wat, Ayers Rock, the Taj Mahal, Leningrad, Paris, London, Barcelona, Athens, Egypt, Mount Kilimanjaro, New York, Mayan ruins, Antarctica, and finally Easter Island.
Each location has a unique background that shows the area’s most famous landmarks. The stages contain a different layout of blocks, some that disappear after being shot, others that do not, and still others that are hidden and can reveal bonuses.
The stages start with differing numbers and sizes of balloons in Buster Bros. The largest balloon divides for the first three times it is popped; after the fourth and smallest balloon is popped it vanishes. Each player starts with a single harpoon. When a balloon is popped, special weapons may drop down.
The other weapons include:
- Double Wire, a twin harpoon that allows two shots at once.
- Power Wire, a grappling hook that stays attached to the ceiling or block for a short period of time. This time can be decreased by rapidly pressing the fire button.
- Vulcan Missile, a high-caliber gun that works much like a machine gun allowing rapid shots.
There is no ammunition limit to any weapon. The names of the weapons differ between the monitor bezel (given above) and the game’s attract mode. Other bonuses include:
- A force field that protects the player from one hit by a ball or enemy.
- An hourglass that slows the balls down.
- A clock which stops the balls for a short time.
- Dynamite that pops all of the balloons down to their smallest size simultaneously.
The game was the start of a long series of games:
- Pomping World aka. Pang, Buster Bros. (1989)
- Super Pang aka. Super Buster Bros. (1990)
- Pang 3 aka. Buster Buddies (1995)
- Mighty! Pang (2000)
- Pang Mobile (2009)
- Pang: Magical Michael (2010)