Monday, May 5, 2014

Nerdicus NES Review #93 : Bomberman

Title : Bomberman

Publisher : Hudson Soft

Genre : Arcade / Puzzle Maze / Strategy

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1987

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $5-$7

When I was younger, and my parents came home with a new game (mind you, my parents played video games almost just as much as I did, though not anymore), I didn't know what to expect. Most of the times whatever they picked up was a miss with me. I mean, I was a kid who had no interest in playing Nintendo Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune. 

Ahem, I lie. I played those games a lot.

Lo and behold I was surprised when my parents came home with Bomberman one day. When I saw the box art, I immediately thought to myself "Oh crap, this is going to be a kick arse shoot em up with aliens and bombs!" I mean, seriously. Look at that box art! Bomberman looks incredible. He's like a cross between Samus and some sort of Star Wars stormtrooper.

I almost crapped bricks when I first popped this game into the system. Puzzle game? SERIOUSLY? With awesome box art like that, you're giving me a puzzle game? But guess what? To this day, it remains one of the best puzzle games I've ever played. Simple and extremely satisfying, albeit a tad repetitious. Too bad it's gone downhill lately with the most recent releases, but this was it folks. 

The ORIGINAL Bomberman.

The story behind Bomberman is that you are a robot who has a dream to become human. Pretty much the Pinocchio story, except this Pinocchio builds freaking bombs. That's right, you work for a bomb manufacturer in the center of the Earth. I'm not sure how safe it is, but let's roll with it anyway. So as you try to break out of this "bomb factory", you're of course trying to be stopped by enemies who don't want you to have the luxury of being human.

Imagine being trapped to make bombs for all eternity? Seriously, I would just use the bombs to get out. OH WAIT...that's what Bomberman does. Smart move, Bomberman. Smart move.

As Bomberman, you need to get through approx. 50 levels of mazes that are filled with bricks blocking your path. You'll need to place your bombs strategically around the maze, so that you blow up as many bricks as possible in order to reveal the staircases to the next level.

As you would expect, there are a slew of enemies bouncing around the maze trying to stop you. Most times they just end up running into you due to their seemingly random AI pathing, 
so you'll want to place bombs where you THINK they're going to move. 

These little buggers are smart. I mean, they can literally sense the bombs. I wasn't sure if I was seeing things, but unless I trapped the bastards they'd avoid any placement of my bombs and then charge my arse when they were cleared. You'll sense some patterns after some time, so it's not too hard to figure out. It just gets a tad bit annoying when there are more enemies than bricks on the screen.

You do unlock certain items in each level that assist you with your blasting task. Items that let you place more bombs, as well as items that increase the range of your explosion or the strength of your explosion. It's critical to get these items as soon as possible, as they'll really help you speed by each level.

And you'll need that speed, because like most puzzle games this has a timed element to it. You only really have around 2-3 mins to beat each level, which isn't a lot of time. This is where you start screwing up. When you start rushing around, you'll either trap yourself in your own bombs, or you'll just get crowded by enemies. Don't be fooled by the clock, you have more than enough time if you pace yourself correctly.

For the first Bomberman game, it was lacking a bit in the game play department. The game gets rather repetitive and boring after the first ten levels or so, and visually there's no change in all 50 levels. All you're encountered with are a different number of blocks, and a different number of enemies. That's it.

While some of the later Bomberman games are a tad tiresome as well, they had the multi-player element which is where Bomberman REALLY comes to life. This game to me, was more about setting the stage for the Bomberman world, as the game was developed upon more and more with each subsequent sequel.

It's one of those games that you should certainly try out, and most definitely add to your collection as a prime example of a birth of a series. In terms of the nostalgia factor, it brings back some great memories, but I'd much rather sit down with a group of friends and blow each other up.

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until next time. Keep on gaming!



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