Buster Bros, also called Pang (パン Pan ) and Pomping World (ポンピング・ワールド Ponpingu Wārudo ), is a cooperative two-player arcade video game released in 1989 by Capcom. The Buster brothers must finish a round-the-world quest to destroy bouncing balloons that are terrorizing several of Earth’s landmarks and cities. The fight to save the Earth begins on Mt. Fuji, Japan where the brothers must pass all three stages before moving on to the next location.
Conversions for home systems were produced by Ocean Software in 1990 for the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Commodore Amiga, MS-DOS and Atari ST. It is the same as "Buster Bros" except for the opening title.
The basic gameplay in Buster Bros/Pang is identical to a much earlier 1983 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 possibly inspired Mitchell Corp. to make Buster Bros six years later.
There are 50 stages at 17 locations: Mt. Fuji, Mt. Keirin, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Angkor Wat, Ayers Rock, the Taj Mahal, Leningrad, Paris, London, Barcelona, Athens, Egypt, Kenya, New York, Maya ruins, Antarctica, and ending on 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. The 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:-
- A twin harpoon that will allow two shots at once.
- A grappling hook that will stay attached to the ceiling or block for a short period of time.
- A hi-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 from the monitor bezel (given above) and the game’s attract mode. Other bonuses include:-
- A force field
- An hourglass that slows the balls down
- A clock which stops the balls for a short time
- An extra life
- Dynamite that will pop all of the balloons down to their smallest size simultaneously.
At a certain point in the stage, a food item will drop down that is worth several thousand bonus points.
If a player touches a balloon of any size, the player dies and both players must start the stage again.
When both players touch a balloon at the same time, only Player 1 will lose a life but this is somewhat offset because when both players reach a bonus or weapon simultaneously only Player 1 will get it.
Players start with 3-5 lives depending on the dip switch setting. Extra lives are also given when certain point totals have been accumulated. The stage ends when all of the balloons are successfully cleared. The game ends after all stages have been completed and our heroic duo rides their jeep into the sunset on an Easter Island beach.
In some later versions, there are more than 17 locations.
The original, and the conversions, were all critically acclaimed, although minor complaints were made about the ZX Spectrum's multi-load system. The Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC+/GX4000 conversion was available on cartridge only.
The ZX Spectrum version was awarded 94% in the February 1991 issue of Your Sinclair and was placed at number 74 in the Your Sinclair official top 100. Amiga Power were even more enthusiastic, listing it as the 11th best game ever in their initial Top 100 list, published with Amiga Format in April 1991 as a preview of the magazine.
This game has several sequels:-
- Super Buster Bros (aka Super Pang 1990)
- Buster Buddies (aka Pang 3 1995)
- Mighty! Pang (2000).
- Buster Bros. Collection (collection).
- Pang: Magical Michael (Nintendo DS, 2010)
- Buster Bros. at Museum of the Game
- Pang at Museum of the Game
- Don Ceferino Hazaña (crossplatform free software remake)
- PiX Pang (another crossplatform free software remake)
- 'Pang' at MobyGames
- Pang at World of Spectrum