Title : B.O.B.
Publisher : Electronic Arts
Genre : Run 'n' Gun / Platform
Players : 1 Player
Release Date : 1993
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $10-$12
It was really entertaining to see what sort of mascots companies were coming up with back in the 90's. I mean, some of them were downright idiotic, while others, well I could have seen them getting places. I was a sucker for robots when I was a kid, and I still love 'em even know. Heck, my middle-grade book is about robots in video games, so why shouldn't I love em?
In comes B.O.B. (what a great name for a game eh?). I don't know what it stands for though. How can you give us a name for a game that's an acronym and not tell us what it stands for!? DAMN YOU!!!
When B.O.B came out, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Even if the story line made no sense. You're a robot, borrowing your dads car and crash landing on some alien infested asteroid space station thing. Yup, that's about it. You're a robot....who didn't listen to your dad. I think this game is trying to teach you a lesson. If you're a robot, don't drive cars and listen to your dad. Simple enough.
Take a look at that box art. Those are the whimsical, cartoony styles I loved, and not to mention he looked pretty bad ass, even if he did sort of look like a robotic, walking ant. He was like a cross between Mega Man, an insect, and Samus Aran. And who would have thought, but this rare little game would be actually a heck of a lot of fun. And you don't find that too often with run 'n' gun platformers on the 16-bit systems. There were a few greats, but some of them felt like they were made in ten minutes. I've already reviewed a few and I'm barely 15 games in.....
So is B.O.B one of the better ones? Let's find out.
As with most run 'n' gun platformers of the 16-bit generation, B.O.B. follows the generic formula done so many times before. You've got a traditional main attack button which is either a punch or a shoot depending on ammunition, a jump button, a special attack button (which Ii'll get too soon), and a special weapon cycle button. You spend the game completing various stages by collecting items, avoiding death-dealing obstacles, defeating enemies, and walloping bosses.
You can't get much simpler than that. So how does B.O.B stand apart from the rest of the pack? Well let's talk about the guns and special remote items you'll be able to use throughout this game. You'll discover various remote controlled items throughout the game that B.O.B can use to assist in his battles.
In terms of guns, you get a large selection of upgrades as you traverse the levels. You'll get spray shots, flame throwers, and missiles. By far the best upgrade you'll find though is the homing missile which is basically crack. It's easily the most overpowered weapon in this game, but at least they really limit your ammo. Ugh...ammo limitations...
On to the remote weapons, these are just special weapons that assist you in beating some levels and also give you a bit of a boost. Like the weapon upgrades, these are in limited supply so you need to use these sparingly and only when absolutely necessary. You've got shield boosts, trampolines (yeah, I know..a robot with trampolines), a helicopter hat...what is this guy, Inspector Gadget? among other tools that you'll find.
Like I said before, each of these weapons comes with a very limited ammo supply. If you abuse them, you may find yourself stuck on a level, especially since the remote items may need to be used to get past certain points. If you run out of gun ammo, you always have your punch, but you don't want to be stuck with that either because it usually means certain death against some enemies. As much as I hate conserving ammo in games, it works in this one, and at least provides a little bit of strategy elements. Then again....a run 'n' gun should just let you blast your arse off if you want. Ah well..
In some stages you'll also encounter some "pod" racing. You basically just have to speed your way through obstacles and enemies, and find your way to the exit. It doesn't sound too hard, but what makes things difficult is that all the levels are timed. YES, FOLKS! My favorite thing for platforming games. Timed levels. Why, why....WHY?!? The timing aspects just frustrate me to no end. I don't like being rushed, and getting clammy hands just because of a damn time limit. And these levels with the pod racing make it ten times worse.
Visually the game is a real eye please, with colorful graphics an superb character design. Sometimes however, the way the levels are designed could add to the frustration. You don't necessarily see things coming all the time, and you may find yourself just falling off into pit you didn't know was there because it was too close to the screen as it scrolled forward. It doesn't seem so bad, but in a game where you actually take fall damage (UGH), it gets to be a killer.
B.O.B is definitely an entertaining run 'n' gun platformer, with a lot of quirks. It's by no means one of the best out on the console, but it's nowhere near being one of the worst. As it stands, it pretty much sits comfortably in the middle. Good for a one time play through, but that's about it. Unless you like cute robots, then you can play it as much as you want.
Final Score (out of 5) :
Until next time, keep on gaming!