Reviewed by Caleb Wallace
Ever since the original title "Bomberman" debuted on the NES, gamers
around the globe sat in front of their TV screens, cursing the miniature
demolitions expert for blowing himself up. 2 systems (and a couple of
repaired controllers) later, Hudson Soft managed to redefine the level
of complexity and skill involved when playing Bomberman. For veteran
gamers who liked the original carts, this game is a blast, but the best
part is that, despite being essentially a puzzle game, you needn't be a
fan of the genre to enjoy this one. While the challenges in this cart
are definitely much greater than those of its predecessors, it's still a
fun game to play, even if you do seem to bomb yourself at least 30
times a day... and the multi-player mode is great for blowing your
An N64 standard, I haven't seen anything new or spectacular, but
the graphics are solid. You should be used to the repeating textures
by now, so it's nothing really new. The water, as with most N64 carts,
looks good, although the bombs and powerups are 2d (like the trees &
fences in Super Mario 64). The game has a cartoon feel, and the sprites
reflect this - most look like they could be in a Saturday morning slot.
The explosions, particularly those of a pumped up bomb with a power
increase, look really cool, even if they burn you to a crisp.
Graphics get a 7 out of 10.
Music and sound
To me, a game's background music should not be that noticeable - it
should be able to create the desired mood/effect, without
standing out. While playing Bomberman 64, I didn't really notice the
music at all until I went back again to hear it. It did not, however,
create any kind of mood for me at all. It's not that the music was
bad, but it isn't very impressive either. The sound effects did not
fare much better I'm afraid. While the cart, overall, has decent
sound effects, the very repetitive ding of power-ups, groan of
lifting bombs, and the ever-present explosions can become quite
annoying. However, I couldn't think of another version of any effects
that would better gameplay, so I neglected to hold it against Hudson
Soft. In a game like this, where many actions can be repetitive (as
mentioned in the gameplay paragraph), it is not easy to find sounds
that don't seem to attack your ears after a while.
Music and Sound get a 6 out of 10.
Despite it's moderate flaws in sound, and lack of special graphics, the
game is, overall, a fun cart to play. Where else can you run around
and blow the crap out of everything in site and not get in trouble?
While someone mentioned to me that it was just like Blast Corps,
the lack of a time limit (that dumb missile truck or whatever) lets
you explore the levels in their entirety, and have some fun bombing
the trees, boxes and enemies. There are sub-bosses (a series of
anti-Bomberman attackers that look like robots) in each level, along
with a larger boss at the end, making for a little variety. Every level
has a different puzzle to solve, and while the game supposedly gives
you 3 credits, you can just hit reset and have the 3 credits again,
without losing your place in the level (a bug?). The multi-player
mode, as with most N64 games, is even more fun than playing alone.
The arenas aren't overly large, but they aren't that confined either,
and if you take too long to kill your friends, the game provides
meteors, sinking floors, and other nerve-racking obstacles to hurry
you along. (There are 4 bonus arenas! Wanna get them? Here's how: At
the start screen (where you pick between adventure, battle, customize
and options) press the start button rapidly (as if you were playing a
track-n-field game) until you hear a confirmation ding. Go to the
battle mode and kill your friend in 4 new arenas!) Not only is there
multiplayer, but you can also customize your Bomberman, with cool
new clothes! The only catch is - you have to find them throughout
the stages. Accessories include knight's armor (you get that one
for free), a cat suit, a dragon-warrior type outfit, and a few others.
(I haven't found them yet :P) And you can mix-&-match. Bombermen
are very fashion-conscious, but they won't wear different clothes
on the job, so his new threads only show up in battle mode. These
outfits alone have kept me up until all hours of the night searching.
Overall Gameplay gets an 8 out of 10.
I've spent quite some time complaining to my friends about the camera
angles in this game. Because of large buildings, underpasses, or tall
walls, you often lose sight of Bomberman, and can easily blow
yourself up by mistake. In a couple of places, the game switches to a
total overhead view by default, instead of the usual 45 deg. view
(almost like that of Super Mario RPG), and I questioned as to why
they didn't do that more often. There were many times where I
found myself stuck behind walls or buildings, and all I could do
was walk blindly and hope I didn't plunge into the deadly water
(why can't Bomberman swim anyway?) or run headlong into an
enemy. The game also experiences an annoying drop in the frame
rate when you pull the camera out and are looking at any even
remotely large portion of the level - I'm only guessing as to why,
but in a stage, there are doors and stairs that, upon walking
through/on, the game stops, and the camera moves to another
"room", even though it might be connected by a simple walkway,
and thus the game may be keeping that entire area in memory at
once, remembering enemy locations and their movements even
while they are off-screen. It's just a guess, but it's the only
explanation I could find for the slow-down.
While Hudson Soft may have fallen short in some other categories,
the replay value of Bomberman is good, because (a) there are 3 big
parts to each stage - 1. simply solving the puzzle to get past
2. collecting all the gold cards (some prize? special powerup for
getting them all?) and 3. beating the stage within the par time.
Because of this alone, you could play this cart for quite some
time before you had totally beaten it. (b) the multi-player mode
is a real blast (excuse the pun), especially when you collect extra
clothes from the stages for Bomberman!
Replay value gets a 7 out of 10.
I rented my copy of the game several times before buying it, and I'm
very satisfied with my purchase. This game is great for parties - the
only problem is getting your hands on a controller. In short, if I had to
buy the game over again, I would. In my opinion, it's a really nice
addition to any collection.
Game value gets an 8 out of 10.
A nice facet of this cart is it's easy-to-master control. The only
difficult task is picking up bombs, and you can avoid that by creating
them in your hands to begin with (hold B, then press A). Pumping up
bombs doesn't take speedy hands, you can pump them up as slow as
you like, and I haven't had any explode in my hands yet, so as far as
I can tell, they won't blow up while you're holding them. This is one
game where you SHOULD read the manual, however - I didn't, and I
was about ready take the game back to the video store early and
get a different cart when my friend suggested I read it. Moving
Bomberman is much like playing Super Mario 64 (but Bomberman can't jump),
so if you can control Mario, you should do fine here.
Control gets an 8 out of 10.
For once, Hudson Soft managed to pull a nice game out of their
developers. Usually, anything with their little bumblebee logo
could be found in the bargain bin, and in great quantities. Will
there be as many versions of Bomberman for N64 as there were
for NES? Probably not, but there may at least be a second edition,
to fix a few of the shortcomings - the camera angles and sound
effects. The game's cute graphics and fairly easy-to-learn gameplay
are attractions for new gamers, while the complex puzzles and extra
goals within levels draw veterans.
Overall, the game gets a 7.2 out of 10.