Thursday, March 2, 2017

Bomberman: Dropping "B"s Since '83

Tomorrow Nintendo's Switch releases and one of the few launch titles is Super Bomberman R. Konami is working with Osaka-based HexaDrive on the new game and they've done some good work, mostly as a co-developer or on ports. Hudson Soft, the developer of many of the previous Bomberman games, was absorbed into Konami in 2012 so they don't technically exist any longer.

The first console Bomberman game released in 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System in Japan and I had thought that was the first game but I found that there are two games before that. In 1983 a game was released for home computers featuring the Bomberman character, though the game itself is titled Bakudan Otoko in Japan and Eric and the Floaters in Europe. There is also a Japan-only game released in 1984 for the MSX computer called 3-D Bomberman.

For this blog post I've got scans for the TurboGrafx-16's Bomberman (1990) and Bomberman '93 (1992), and Super Bomberman (1993) for the Super NES. First up are reviews of Bomberman from GamePro and Game Player's magazines. This GamePro doesn't have numerical scores to go with their images so I will do some translating: the ecstatic orange image is a four and the more mellow guy over green is a three (5-point scale). Game Player's didn't score their reviews and while there is nothing wrong with that, this review in particular is more or less stating facts rather than opinions so it reads more similar to a preview. They used some low quality, newspaper-like paper in their magazine too which is why it looks yellowish in the scan.

GamePro - March 1991
Game Player's Vol. 3, No. 4

Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) scored Bomberman '93 three eights and a nine, enough to earn a gold award and game of the month. All four reviewers commented on how it's best when playing the game with others which is the main draw for all of the Bomberman games. Bomberman '93 didn't have much competition that issue to earn game of the month as the only other gold award winner was Super Turrican (SNES).

Electronic Gaming Monthly #45

Also courtesy of EGM are a preview and review of Super Bomberman. This release scored four nines resulting in a platinum award and game of the month. To earn game of the month it topped gold award winners Plok! (SNES), NHL '94 (Genesis), and Final Fantasy Legend III (Game Boy). Of course, the reviewers all love the multiplayer mode of Super Bomberman but the single-player mode varies between them, with three of their differing opinions being "above average," "kinda cool," and "great."

Electronic Gaming Monthly #49
Electronic Gaming Monthly #51

Bomberman is a series I have some experience with as I have a distinct memory playing one on the TurboGrafx-16 and I know I've played at least one or two others but I don't know exactly which versions they were! The TurboGrafx game stands out because it was at the EGM & Hero Illustrated (comic book magazine) mall tour in 1993. The version of the tour the nearest mall to myself got was on the small side, likely just an extra piece from the New York set up. I played a bunch of Sega games at the event but Bomberman was the highlight as it was part of a competition to win a TurboGrafx-16 console. It was my first time playing and while I didn't win the competition, or even get out of the first round (last to be eliminated in the first round!), I still had a lot of fun. Let's hope Super Bomberman R continues the series' addictive multiplayer and maybe even pull off an entertaining single-player mode. 

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