Despite all the accolades he’s received and influence he’s had over his course of time, life’s been tough for everyone’s favorite terrorist. Bomberman hasn’t been in a remarkable game since 9/11, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I mean, damn, did anyone see Bomberman: Act Zero? Holy ****! When I think about it, the games before then weren’t that great, either. I mean, how many of those grids can you blast through before you get sick of it? Maybe it’s because I was an only child, or maybe it’s because I wasn’t, but I didn’t get much of a chance to experience multiplayer Bomberman and maybe lost out on the populist reason why the game is so huge in our circles.
And that might explain the oddity that is Bomberman 64. There aren’t grids here. The bombs explode in some sort of crazy half-spherical manner. There’s whole worlds to explore. There’s music you can remember!
What the hell is going on here!?
And I tell you, people freaked at these concepts. You’d think someone opened the Ark of the Covenant. Because I wasn’t in those circles, I had no idea what they were complaining about. Yeah, Hudson decided to give in to the Mario 64 clones of those days, but it worked! By switching the focus from multiplayer to single player, it made an excellent companion to that 3D cornerstone and one of my favorite 64 games to date.
It’s hard to elaborate too much; everything just feels like it came together correctedly here. You get four worlds to start with initially until you unlock a fifth, each with an intro level, a mini-boss level, another level, and a boss level, in that order. Hudson spared no creativity in its programming.
Each level is fleshed out and has some kind of trick to it. One level has you following mine carts, another gives you a busy highway to get around, while another still makes you work through it UPSIDE DOWN, with the camera inverted. In addition to that, you get new skills, too, like throwing your bomb, “pumping” it to make it bigger, and kicking it across the floor, thus eliminating unnecessary items from the lampposts and crates you blow up.
The graphics are nothing to scream about. You’d have a better polygon count if you reconstructed these levels with Legos, but they are pleasant enough and add a much needed sense of charm to the Bomberman world. The music is also really good—it brings back those classic days of the SNES and gives you a score that is catchy and more than you deserve without getting too pretentious.
Where this game really loses, and the obvious factor that turned off so many people, is its multiplayer. With so many large worlds and creative ways to discover them, you’d think that would translate back to the fan favorite feature, but it does not. Instead, you get four little doodles scrambling around a claustrophobic arena running from their own bombs. Winning by default is pretty lame, but LOSING by default is even worse.
…I don’t think that made much sense….
There’s not much game really left to cover. A few other things could’ve been done to enhance Bomberman 64 further. Like adding a map for those inter-connecting single-player levels, and maybe giving you a better idea of how to fight those bosses. The boss fights are awesome, no question about it, but man you’d like to know which parts of those bosses you’re trying to hit.
Overall, Bomberman 64 is worth your time and money. Good to play on Sunday afternoons as the sun goes down. If you’ve got $5 lying around somewhere, go pick up an N64 and get this game. You should still have enough left over to get a Java Chiller from Sonic.
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