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Tumble Pop

Arcade Video game published 33 years ago by Data East Corp.

Listed in MAME

Tumble Pop screenshot

Tumble Pop © 1991 Data East Corporation.

Tumble Pop is a platform game for one or two players in which the aim is to clear each level of enemies by sucking them into - then ejecting them from - a portable vacuum-cleaner.

Holding down the fire button sucks the enemies into the cleaner, releasing the button causes them to be expelled back out. Ejected enemies act as projectiles that can damage and kill any other on-screen enemies that they collide with. All enemies must be killed before players can progress to the next stage.

Throughout the game, letters of the alphabet randomly appear in bubbles. These can be collected to eventually spell the word "TUMBLEPOP". Once this has been achieved players are transported to a time-limited bonus level, giving them the opportunity to earn bonus points and extra lives.

If players take too long to finish a stage, a Dracula-like enemy appears. If it touches a player before all enemies have been eliminated, a life is lost. This also applies to the Boss levels.

The game feature ten stages, with the first eight set in different parts of the World and the final two set in Outer Space. Each stage has its own themed enemies and level bosses and players can choose to start the game on any of the eight World-based stages. The levels and enemies are:
*Moscow: Set at the Moscow-state circus, enemies are clowns, invisible conjurers and fire spitters. The boss is a giant clown hanging from helium balloons who juggles bombs.
*Egypt: Set near the pyramids and Sphinx at Giza, enemies include fire spitters and mummies. The boss is a giant genie who spits fireballs.
*Paris: Set near the Arc de Triomphe, all of the enemies are robots. The boss is a large flying robot that sends out flying hands.
*New York City: Set near the Statue of Liberty and World Trade Center, the enemies are pumpkin-headed zombies and octopuses. The boss is a giant octopus.
*Rio de Janeiro: Set near the statue of Christ the Redeemer, enemies are fire monsters. The boss is a fire dragon.
*Antarctica: Populated by snowmen, snowmen armed with shovels and hairy yeti-like monsters. The boss is a giant snowman wearing a bucket on its head.
*Australia. Enemies are carnivorous plants, cavemen and mud men. The boss is a giant two-headed carnivorous plant.
*Japan: Set at Mount Fuji, enemies are yureis, kappas and skeletons. The boss is a giant pile of daruma dolls.
*Outer Space: Enemies are grey aliens and spacemen with blaster guns. The boss is a flying robot.
*The Moon: All bosses from the previous worlds must be fought again. The game's final boss is a cyborg mad scientist controlling a giant robot.

Goodies for Tumble Pop
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Game ID : MAP

Main CPU : Motorola 68000 (@ 14 Mhz)
Sound CPU : Hudson Soft HuC6280 (@ 4.0275 Mhz)
Sound Chips : Yamaha YM2151 (@ 3.58 Mhz), OKI6295 (@ 6.06 Khz)

Screen Orientation : Horizontal
Video Resolution : 319 x 240 Pixels
Screen Refresh : 58.00 Hz
Palette Colors : 1024

Players : 2
Control : 8-Way Joystick
Buttons : 2
=> Fire, Jump


Tumble Pop was released in November 1991.

Tumble Pop is the first of a trilogy of similar games produced by Data East, all with the same gameplay but at least with just few differences : a year after Tumble Pop, in 1992 Data East released "Diet Go Go", similar to Tumble Pop in the game mechanics, but the vacuum cleaner are discarded with special fruits released by the players for pump up the enemies; at this point the enemy will fly up to the screen, and the player spin him against the other enemies simply by touching him while he's flying. In 1994 is released '"Joe & Mac Returns", still similar to Tumble Pop, but the players must first dizzy the enemies with their canes, then capturing them and at least throw against the other enemies.

There are several references with other Data East games with the enemies of Tumble Pop :
* First of all, the fat Arabian-type guy spitting flames from his mouth is, naturally, a retrieval of the good old Karnov, even if it's not too identical to the original in the aesthetics (the eating-fire guy of Tumblepop doesn't have the thin mustache, and even the eyes are different). This enemy appears in the stage of Russia, Egypt and Brazil.
* In the Australia stage, the cavemen and carnivorous plants are the same as those appearing in Caveman Ninja. The end level boss is identical to the Giant Carnivorous Plant of the second stage, still on Caveman Ninja.
* The end level boss of Brazil stage (the fire dragon) is almost identical to the mid boss of the second stage of Chelnov - Atomic Runner (the Giant Dog with iron mask). Some of his patterns are also similar to another boss in Caveman Ninja.
* The 'pain scream' of some bosses was copied from the Dinosaurs growl of Caveman Ninja.
* In the Space stages, one enemy (the alien with white suit and helmet) is exactly identical to Chelnov. Even his fire attacks are identical to one of the power ups of the game Chelnov - Atomic Runner.

In the Brazil stage, in the first scheme there are five special letters hidden (See TIPS AND TRICKS section to learn more about the special letters) that joined together forms the name SENNA,: clearly an homage to the late Brazilian F1 world champion Ayrton Senna.

In 1994 an anonymous Korean software house, Dong Gue La Mi Ltd., made a hack version of this game, named "Pang Pang". This game is simply awful, with all the backgrounds of the original game changed to the backgrounds of Super Pang. Also, you can't catch the enemies with the vacuum cleaner, but you can catch them inside some bubbles, exactly like in Bubble Bobble. The main character of the game controlled by the player is a horrible rip-off of the hero of Tumble Pop.

The final boss and villain of the game, Mad Doctor, appears also in "Diet Go Go" and "Spin Masters", both still developed by Data East.

Pony Canyon / Scitron released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (Wolf Fang, Tumble Pop - PCCB-00084) on March 21, 1992.


Bootlegs don't use the HuC6280 @ 4.0275 Mhz :-)


To eliminate an enemy, the simple way is to catch him with the vacuum cleaner, and then throw him away before he gets out by himself and kills you. You can also throw an enemy against other one, and especially catch more enemies at a time, in order to create a real "avalanche" that will run over the others. The basic strategy for every scheme is to catch as many enemies as possible, and then throw them against the other enemies, so you can clean up the whole screen and accumulate many points.

Every enemy killed will still release an item that gives you bonus points (coins, gems, diamonds, etc.).

For catch an enemy, press the FIRE button and hold it while the enemy will be sucked inside the vacuum cleaner. However, there is a simple trick to catch them faster, press the fire button ONCE against the enemy, or press the fire button and then turn back to him fast; the enemy will get dizzy for a few seconds. Now, just press again the fire button to immediately suck him inside the vacuum cleaner. Now keep the fire button pressed as long as you don't want to drop him. REMEMBER: You can't hold enemies in your vacuum cleaner for more than 4-5 seconds.

The enemies generally walk around on the screen and jump to different platforms. Especially, there are some kinds of enemies that can turn themselves into a type of tornado before going up or down to the next platform; in this moment these enemies are invincible, you can't catch them and also the 'tornado form' will block eventually enemies that you've thrown against them.

When you fight a boss, you must defeat him by catching the weapons or enemies that he will drop and then throw these against him. If you catch more than three enemies, you'll give more damage to the boss.

In some levels, there are some types of jars, that will release constantly new enemies. The form of these jars changes with the stage's background, but despite this these are all identical to each other. You need to hit these jars throwing enemies against them for two or three times to destroy them. After being destroyed, the jars will release some gems. Sometimes there are two jars in the same level.

You can catch enemies even through walls. This is a great advantage to you, especially against those enemies that can shoot from far distances or when you're near too busy platforms.

There are several bonus items and power ups hidden all over the screen. At the beginning those are not visible; you must first catch some enemies and then throw them in the open space of the level, and especially near the corner where the power-ups are often frequent.
Dropping a single enemy is not effective to discover all the bonuses of a level: the best way is to catch three or more enemies and then throw them in an empty space, which makes them roll over the whole screen and then revealing the bonuses.

The power ups are generally placed in the various corners at the left or right of the screen, and occasionally in the central platforms of the screen. Keep this in mind if you are actually looking for a power up.

There are several power ups :
"Skate" : make the player's character movements faster.
"Star" : Give to the player a barrier that makes him invincible for some time and kill enemies by simple contact.
"Laser Pistol" : Turn your vacuum cleaner in a laser pistol, that kills all the enemies and jars instantly.
"Package ?" : This will recall a large vacuum cleaner above the screen that will clean up the whole screen of every enemy and bonus item: however, the points for the bonus and enemies are still added to the player's score, but you'll not take the benefit of the power ups.
"Tumblepop's Guy" : this is the classical 1UP item, which gives you an extra life. Only available in the bonus stage.

Special letters : these are special items that will appear on screen like the other bonus items. At the bottom of the screen there is the word TUMBLE POP written with the letters placed inside blue balls. You must collect the letters that make the word TUMBLE POP. Once you've completed it, you'll be teleported into a bonus stage where you can collect any type of money and gems and an extra life, before time runs out. If you made it to collect all the items, the time left will become bonus points. After the bonus stage is completed, you'll be teleported into the next level. There are some letters that don't belong to the word TUMBLE POP, which only count as extra points.

In the final stage, before you fight against the final boss (Mad Doctor), you'll fight against the previous bosses. This is the only time that you can find power ups in a boss fight.


japan Nintendo Game Boy (nov.20, 1992) "Tumble Pop [Model DMG-T6J]"
usa Nintendo Game Boy (mar.1993) "Tumble Pop [Model DMG-T6]"
Nintendo 3DS [Virtual Console] japan (apr.12, 2012) Game Boy version
Nintendo 3DS [Virtual Console] europe australia (june.7, 2012) Game Boy version
Nintendo 3DS [Virtual Console] usa (jul.19, 2012) Game Boy version


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