Title : Bionic Commando
Publisher : Capcom
Genre : Platformer
Players : 1 Player
Release Date : 1988
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $7-$10
There are very few games in the NES library that I'll actually sit down and play through again today. My patience has waned over the years in putting up with most of the garbage that the NES library had to offer, but there were those gems that always called out to me when I scanned my finger across the labels of my NES collection.
Bionic Commando, was one such game. A treasure, in the cesspool that is the NES library.
There's a few things that make this game a historic icon. First off, it was one of the most difficult games I had ever played on the NES. But it wasn't the difficulty where the game was just brutal to you where you didn't stand a chance. No you had a chance, but you had to play smart. Each time you played, you were learning the best routes to take to complete the level and how to take down enemies without endangering your precious life.
Secondly, the game has a true classic story line of good versus evil. And I'm talking about pure evil. I'm talking about Nazis. I'm talking about ADOLF HITLER being the last boss in the game. How can anyone possibly resist the chance of taking down ADOLF HITLER by playing as a guy named LADD SPENCER with a BIONIC ARM? Just read all that again for me. Bionic Arms...Nazi's...Hitler....it's like a futuristic Indiana Jones styled adventure. Whips? BAH! Bionic arms are where it's at.
Third, it's made by Capcom. You know when you've got Capcom behind the helm you're typically guaranteed a good game. And boy, they did not disappoint. Without further adieu, I give you, BIONIC COMMANDO.
As stated previously, you take on the role of Ladd Spencer in a quest to find out the secret behind the Albatross experiment and rescue a fellow by the name of SUPER JOE. You may remember him from the original COMMANDO game back in 1985! Where do they come up with these names anyway? You've got a standard overhead map where you choose your levels a la SMB3, and you can basically play through them any which way you want.
Well, I lied. Sometimes you don't have a choice, but who cares at least it gives you some sense of freedom. So you direct your helicopter across the various locations, where one of two things can occur. You can engage the enemy trucks, or you can descend into the level.
During the enemy truck engagements, you're taken to an top down run 'n gun styled screen where you just need to shoot down the enemies. This is probably the ONE thing I didn't like about the game. I really didn't feel it was necessary to have this segment, but it did break up the gameplay into both standard platforming and some strange overhead shooters. It wasn't bad, I just wasn't feeling it. Not to say this detracts from the game at all. It doesn't. It's just not my cup of tea.
Probably because it just wastes my time for the part I enjoy more lol.
Alright now here comes my favorite part of the game. The 2D platforming. Now this platforming segment was taken to a whole new level. Tradition was thrown out the window and dozens of new elements were thrown into place. First and foremost you have the introduction of your bionic arm.
Now your main character can't jump. I know. If you haven't played this game, you are probably saying to yourself, "WTF? Can't jump? What kind of platforming BS is this?" Well, you don't need to jump when you have a freaking bionic arm to latch onto ledges and spin you around into oblivion! Alright, it's not that extreme, but it is pretty damn awesome. An arm that is used as a weapon and a way to get around the level. It was a whole new level of challenge.
You do get access to other weapons throughout the game, such as a traditional gun, bazookas, and some crazy three-way-spreader weapons. They remind me a bit of contra weapons, and boy do they pack a punch.
One of the cooler things about this game, is not every level was a "hostile" level. Some levels were meant purely for platforming and figuring out how to get new equipment hidden throughout the stage. The problem was, if you accidentally fire your weapon, you start to get attacked by hostiles. It's a risk - reward system that was always rewarding. There's no excuse. Kill those nazis and steal those weapons.
Not only that, but certain levels require you to get items from other levels in order to proceed. It gives the game more of an exploratory feel that forces you to go through each level from the top down. You need to look everywhere, and that was half the fun. Once you find the required items, you'll be able to move on through the level where you'll have to destroy an enemy power core to clear the stage, which is typically guarded by a Boss (which always kicked my arse)
This game has so much going for it, I could probably go on for ages. The gameplay is downright flawless, but is extremely difficult. This game isn't meant for the faint of heart, and only hardcore gamers or those with the patience of God have been able to beat this game with the lack of cheats.
In terms of the graphics and the sound, you've got top notch Capcom gold here. The music is epic, and the sound effects are fluid and sound pretty damn good for a game from 1988. Hell it sounds better than some games that came out years later that still reminded me of Atari blips.
If you haven't played this, you need to get your hands on it. There is no excuse not to own this game in your NES library. It's easily in my top games list for the NES, and just to prove how epic it is to you, I'll show you the boss-man himself. Evil incarnate. I know you're dying to see it. Here he is, in all his dastardly glory. Now go and take down that nazi bastard.
Just avoid the remake....
Final Score (out of 5) :
Until next time. Keep on gaming!