Flashbulbs were/are often used in large reflectors. And they put out a deliciously large amount of light.
Electronic flashes are often designed to be as small as possible. That means smaller amounts of light pumped into smallish reflectors.
The size and the shape of the reflectors and the quantity of light emitted by the source makes a big difference on how the photos appear.
Flashbulbs in a large reflector
Sunpak makes, or made, the 120J flash, a bare bulb with large parabolic reflector, to emulate bulb-type flashes. Anyone I've talked to who has used one has loved the quality of the light from it, compared to regular strobes. Prices on used units have remained strong.
Some other companies made similar units.
I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.