I freaking love Puzzle Bobble/Bust-a-Move. If you don't know what game I'm talking about...Snood. Snood is the bastard freeware turned commercial ripoff of Puzzle Bobble...that for some stupid reason, is more recognizable among the American gaming crowd than the OG.
Puzzle Bobble is sweet for a number of reasons. Firstly, its awesome multiplayer. The back and forth battles of Puzzle Bobble are so freaking intense I don't even know how to properly explain it. The way the board drops on you or your opponent depending on how well you're doing is just so crazy, you don't even know.
The single player experience is also a fun time. You've got a puzzle mode where you only get a certain number of shots before the board collapses, and an Outrun "choose your own path" style battle mode where you fight different AI opponents. And of course there's the standard endless mode. A game worth having even if you didn't have any friends.
Long Journey: Reach the end of the Single Player Journey Mode
The Road Less Traveled: Reach the end of every possible route in Single Player Journey Mode
Puzzled: Beat Puzzle Mode
Hooray: Get a High Score in Endless Mode
This is Fun: Finish the Vs mode
This is Hard: Finish the Vs mode on Hard
Victory: Get 1 ranked win
Expert Player: Get 100 ranked wins
Smarty Pants: Finish 10 puzzles in the least amount of shots possible
Genius: Finish all puzzles in the least amount of shots possible
Edge of Your Seat: Come back from having only one unit of space left on the playing field
Rainbow: Popped every color of bubble
The only thing I hate about Puzzle Bobble is its myriad releases. Puzzle Bobble 2 is the pinnacle of the franchise, and any entry past that sucks for one reason or another. The major problem with future releases is the addition of multiple multiplayer characters, each with his or her (or its) own unique advantages and disadvantages. On paper, this sounds cool...and works in other games; Super Puzzle Fighter comes to mind. However, it just doesn't work in Puzzle Bobble. There are certain characters that are just better than others, creating a tier list that isn't necessary in a game like Puzzle Bobble. The only cool thing about it is that players that suck can pick them against players of higher skill...a reverse handicap mode of sorts...of course this is only fun when both players agree on their choices, and it has no place on Xbox Live.
Now if you're up on your ESRB listings, you might be wondering why I even bothered writing this up. "Ultra Bust a Move" is listed as a downloadable Xbox release...the problem with this is that it could be an Xbox Original...although that wouldn't require a new ESRB listing...but I for one don't really trust the ESRB's listings enough to put a lot of faith in this being an honest to goodness XBLA release. Also, part of the charm of Puzzle Bobble is it's Neo Geo style character sprites...Ultra Bust a Move is full 3D and ugly as sin...I'm sometimes accused of wearing my nostalgia goggles too often, but most gamers would agree that Puzzle Bobble is a game that should stay sprite based.
UPDATE: So a newish version of Puzzle Bobble is on XBLA now. It's solid...but not as good as Puzzle Bobble 2.
Besides, Neo Geo sprites are gorgeous!