Tag Archives: hudson soft

FGC #301 Adventure Island 3

Yay islands!Adventure Island 3 is a metaphor for the human condition.

The story of Adventure Island 3 is no epic tale. Master Higgins, a dude in a baseball cap and grass skirt, is chilling on a deserted island the size of a Dixie cup with his beloved Tina when a nefarious alien abducts the hapless maiden. Higgins boards the nearest plesiosaur, and paddles off to save the day. There is no trick or plot twist in this saga, all Higgins has to do to rescue Tina is venture across eight (adventure) islands, battle the occasional Mothra, and then conquer the aliens in an epic battle that involves fireballs and stone hammers. The aliens are not Dr. Wily in disguise, and no explanation is given for their preoccupation with poor Tina; they’re just monsters to be chased, and an excuse for Higgins to ride a dinosaur or six. Oh, and the adventure wraps up with Higgins and Tina back on their original weensy island (compliments of a pterodactyl), so it’s a zero-sum story from top to bottom.

But this is an ‘intenda game, so the story is perfunctory from the very start. What’s important is that good ol’ gameplay, and… Well, there’s not much to see here, either. This is a “NES platformer” at its most basic. Well, no, that would Adventure Island 1, wherein Master Higgins runs left to right and must at all time satiate his crippling fruit addiction. We’ve come a long way from those bygone days: now Master Higgins does the exact same thing, but sometimes he’s on a surfboard! Or a dinosaur! And, despite the fact that almost all stages only advance right and strictly forbid any backtracking, there are rare vertical levels that prove that Hudson does understand scrolling (and they don’t even involve Kid Icarus-esque scroll deaths). And the bosses are pretty neat, even if they’re about as fair as a thumb wrestling match against Eternia’s Fisto. Master Higgins can, at absolute best, suffer three hits (a bonus “heart” powerup plus a dinosaur buddy), and it’s very likely those damn boss monsters are going to barbecue the poor islander before he tosses the proper number of boomerangs. Boss patterns should not change mid-fight with a hero that has approximately zero HP!

This sucks!But all that cruft is neither here nor there. No, what’s important is what Adventure Island 3 represents. What’s important is that Adventure Island 3 is a failure.

Tell me if this sounds familiar: a damsel is distressed when she is kidnapped by a giant, ambiguously evil monster. Her man springs into action to rescue her, and must battle across eight distinct lands to save the day. Along the way, he runs, jumps, and even recruits a dinosaur to beat back the nefarious forces of angry clouds and a strangely high number of murderous reptiles. After losing a bunch of lives due to the tiniest contact with random monsters (and the occasional bottomless pit), the brave knight saves his princess. And maybe there was a bonus stage or warpzone somewhere along the way, too.

Yes, obviously, Adventure Island 3 follows the exact same plot and general gameplay as Super Mario Bros. In fact, Adventure Island 2, the first game to feature Master Higgins riding a dinosaur, was released a few months after Super Mario World, the first game to feature Mario riding a Yoshi (and Adventure Island 3 improved on AI2 by… adding one more dinosaur). On a purely superficial level, Massy Hig’s Adventure Islands are incredibly similar to Mario’s treks across the Mushroom Kingdom and Dinosaur Land. Give or take the ability to actually dismount your incredible thunder lizard, you could probably provide the exact same instruction manual for both games. Master Higgins is a cape feather away from being an accomplished plumber.

Spooky!But that’s where the tragedy occurs. On a shallow level, Master and Mario are the same. They run, they jump, and they collect one hundred doodads to earn an extra life. But actually play the games, and the differences become apparent. Mario has a precise kind of momentum, while Master Higgins has a tendency to slip around like a greased up potato man. It’s telling that Master Higgins has to be wary of inanimate rocks, while Mario at least has the decency to vault moving rocks. And that slipperiness pairs poorly with a number of “platforming challenges”. Want to leap across a series of mobile clouds? That’s kind of fun in the Mushroom Kingdom, but over in the Adventure Islands, Master Higgins is pretty likely to fall to his doom after about the second jump. Once you hit an ice stage, things are more slippery, but, honestly? It’s not the same kind of dramatic shift you’d see in Super Mario. Bros 3. Oh, there is supposed to be a dinosaur that cuts down on Slippin’ Higgy? Yeah, that dinosaur is a lie. In fact, all of the dinomounts are lies, as they amount to little more than the difference between Mario and Super Mario. The only dinosaur that isn’t a “fireball” or “slight movement” powerup is the new, green triceratops, and that’s because he offers the ability to roll into a spiky ball for exactly a second before immediately losing that powerup to terrible hit detection. Beyond that, I’m not even certain what the plesiosaur is supposed to do, as he’s just as useless as the frog suit on land, but only marginally better than regular swimming Higgins on the high seas. He doesn’t even get a lightning tail or something! You have to bring your own hammer!

And, when you get right down to it, describing this game, describing Adventure Island 3, is recounting exactly what being a human is. All the proper components are there! You’ve got running! You’ve got jumping! You’ve got a princess and a monster and eight worlds! This is exactly what Mario’s got! This is exactly what that successful guy has got… so why isn’t it working here? I can see Mario’s Facebook, I know we’re on the same level, so why is he so much better than me!? I could be happy! I should be happy! Why can’t Master Higgins be half as successful as a damned plumber!?

Dammit!That’s Adventure Island 3. All the pieces are there, everything that should work is there, but… it doesn’t. Master Higgins is doomed to wallow on his teeny tiny island, while Mario just found out his ex built an entire city for his benefit. Adventure Island 3 is every one of us looking at that green grass on the next lawn over, and wondering what went wrong. And is this where I’m supposed to say something optimistic? Well, I’d love to say it gets better, but have you seen Adventure Island: The Beginning? Yeesh.

I just played Adventure Island 3… don’t expect any hopefulness out of this human for a week.

FGC #301 Adventure Island 3

  • System: Nintendo Entertainment System. There’s also a Gameboy port that is surprisingly faithful.
  • Number of players: One Master Higgins. Maybe the secret to success is having a Luigi?
  • Port-o-Call: The Gameboy version actually allows you to replay completed stages. I have no earthly idea why anyone would want to do such a thing, but at least it’s an option.
  • Favorite Dinosaur: I guess the blue dinosaur with the powered tail. He’s pretty much exactly the same as the red dinosaur with the fireball that is completely resistant to lava, but… he’s blue? He’s the underdog in a game starring an underdog.
  • Favorite Boss: Despite the inexplicable presence of Mothra, I’m going to pick the Salamander. He’s just like every other boss in this game (float and/or teleport around and lob fireballs), but he is at least on fire. And when he goes blue-flames, it at least looks cool.
  • Blind SallyIncidentally: This was supposed to be FGC #300, but I couldn’t find the rom while on the stream. Turns out it was there in the list, just under “Hudson’s Adventure Island 3” as opposed to in the I section where I expected to find such a thing. Oh well.
  • Did you know? If you see a flower, then that means a wolf is going to attack Master Higgins from behind. I still remember this tip from Nintendo Power.
  • Would I play again: Adventure Island 3 has struck me with an ennui that I can barely describe. So, uh, no.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Robocop vs. Terminator for the SNES! Now that’s what I’m talking about! Some good ol’ fashioned cyborg on android violence. Please look forward to it!

FGC #245 Super Bomberman 2

Plasma changed color?The last time we saw a console Bomberman experience was seven years ago, back in happier times when the president wasn’t orange/bonkers and Super Mario Galaxy 2 had just been released. The last time Bomberman seemed nationally relevant was four years earlier than that, when Bomberman: Act Zero made us all laugh ourselves stupid at a realistic re-envisioning of a character that is best recognized with a purple deeley-bopper. And even before all that, twenty whole years ago, Bomberman 64 was the last time Bomberman was spoken of in the same tones as Mario and Zelda. Or… well… at least he got mentioned in Nintendo Power. That’s kind of the same thing. And, if you go back even further than that, to the far off epoch of 1994, you’ll find Super Bomberman 2, a game starring the titular Bomberman opposite The Dastardly Bombers, a group of nogoodniks that only ever appeared in one North American console Bomberman game.

So imagine my surprise when they were announced as the headlining antagonists of Super Bomberman R, a 2017 Nintendo Switch launch release.

So, since it’s been 23 years since Super Bomberman 2, I broke out the ol’ Know Your Bombers trading cards to help everyone get caught up in time for Super Bomberman R.

COLLECT 'EM ALL

FGC #245 Super Bomberman 2

  • System: Super Nintendo. It’s super!
  • BLOPNumber of players: Four! The original Super Bomberman came with the super multitap, and I’m betting pretty much everyone that snagged Super Bomberman also went for Super Bomberman 2. Well, except the six guys that just wanted that multitap for Secret of Mana.
  • Favorite Bomber Color: This was the first Bomberman (that I played) where you could freely choose your bomber’s color (as opposed to being stuck with white/black/red/blue forever). Green is a fine choice, but I have a tendency to go for Purple Bomberman. He’s so… regal.
  • Poor decisions: There are two additional stages in battle mode that are hidden by a secret code. They’re… not that exciting? They’re fun, and they’re “classic” stages, but I can’t find any rhyme or reason for why they’re hidden. It isn’t even a “beat the game to unlock” situation, they’re just… secret stages for the sake of being secret. What’s your angle here, Bomberman?
  • Did you know? Legend tells of Milon skulking around the password screen. Actually, there are four Milons to be found. That’s four more Milons than should ever be allowed on the Super Nintendo.
  • Would I play again: Here’s hoping Super Bomberman R supplicates any and all desires to return to this classic. Then again, if jelly bombs aren’t included…

What’s next? We’re going to look at the launchiest launch game of all time. No, not Mario. Let’s try something with a few more sports. Please look forward to it!

PUNT

FGC #126 Super Adventure Island 2

Can you dig it?The Theory of Evolution has been contested practically from its inception, back when Charles Darwin hopped back on the HMS Beagle and a deckhand started reading his notes and shouting, “Nuh uh!” Since then, Evolution has been a very divisive topic. This is to be expected, as a healthy portion of the population seems to believe that the mere existence of evolution somehow precludes the existence of a caring deity/universe. As such, Evolution’s opponents have composed a litany of “problems” with the theory over the last century, seeking to disprove a scientific theory with “scientific” facts that are primarily grounded in subjective reasoning. Yes, there are problems with the Theory of Evolution, but asserting that no one has actually seen a chimp give birth to a human isn’t going to slay the big bad Science Dragon.

A similar assertion is that Evolution doesn’t make enough “sense”. This anti-theory goes something like, “why don’t we still have tails, they’d be useful!” or “what’s the deal with the pinky finger? Male nipples? Appendix? We don’t need any of that!” In short, if Evolution is responsible for transforming monkeys into big, bad humans, why didn’t it make us, ya know, better? We’re apex predators, and why isn’t that more literal? We should have crazy head spikes and murder claws and laserbeam eyes! Evolution isn’t real, because if it was, we’d have more dangerbeasts running around.

And to that I offer the counterexample of Super Adventure Island 2.

Adventure Island, the original “Adventure Island 1”, is the story of Master Higgins, a half-naked man on a quest across islands to rescue a princess (Tina, her sister, came later). Adventure Island is, basically, the prototypical “endless runner” game. Higgins must keep moving forward and gulping randomly appearing fruit, because, should he ever go hungry, he will die immediately. I think it’s some kind of psychological disorder. Whatever the reason, Higgins must devour all, and will only find assistance in the form of primitive axes Not the other thing(okay) or skateboards (what?), while everything else on the island exists only to one-hit-kill our tropical hero. It’s a hard life.

It’s also Wonder Boy’s life.

Wonder Boy was a Sega Arcade title, and, when Hudson Soft was tasked with porting the game to home consoles, they dropped the titular Wonder Boy, and inserted their own company mascot, Takahashi Meijin aka Master Higgins, into the starring role. This means that, ultimately, Wonder Boy and Adventure Island had the exact same starting point, give or take a baseball cap.

Wonder Boy changed immediately. Wonder Boy 2 aka Wonder Boy in Monster Land became much more of an “adventure” type game. Wonder Boy collected and spent gold, spoke to “helpful” medieval villagers, and even gained a life gauge to weather all those monster hits. While there was a regressive Monster Lair quest in there, by and large, Wonder Boy continued on this adventure trajectory straight on through to Monster World IV, which dropped Wonder Boy entirely for a Wonder Girl, but still maintained the delightful adventure trappings of the franchise.

Adventure Island, meanwhile, iterated only on the established “endless runner” gameplay. In fact, while each Adventure Island sequel did add new innovations, it seemed like each game also dropped a useful skill. Adventure Island 2 introduced an inventory system and the ability to ride dinosaur pals (before Yoshi ever bust out of his shell), but also lost the ability to upgrade powerups and stage checkpoints. Adventure Island 3 added a duck command (eat it, Mega Man), but forsook backtracking and mobile bosses. And SNES launch(ish) title Super Adventure Island picked up gorgeous graphics but eschewed any and all dinosaur pals. Alright, Hop scotchmaybe the games weren’t released in that order, but close enough…

Adventure Island 4 (for the NES) was a departure from the runner basics of the previous titles. It… also never got out of Japan. I’ve never played it. I should look it up some time. I hear there’s an Eggplant Wizard in there.

Super Adventure Island 2 is theoretically (I can’t play every video game!) a continuation of Adventure Island 4’s innovations. SAI2 is an adventure game. Master Higgins drops the grass skirt for a full set of armor, trades his hammer for a sword and magic wand, and rafts around various “adventure islands” in pursuit of treasure and items. Every “stage” has straightforward objectives like “fight the boss”, but also hidden treasures gated behind abilities you’ll earn on other islands. There’s an overworld and a menu screen. There aren’t many “villagers” to speak to, but you can return to talk to the king for tips on betrothed rescuing/wife swapping. There’s an inn that restores health and magic. And if you don’t spend half your time skulking around the map looking for heart containers, you’re gonna have a bad time.

Adventure Island is again, after a few years of divergence, a Monster World game.

And, frankly, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had with Master Higgins. Everything that was Adventure Island got tossed in the garbage (Higgins has amnesia, so he doesn’t even remember his strange fruit compulsion), and, in its place was basically The Legend of Zelda: The Adventure of Link 2. Even that Higgins on a raft sprite Dang turtlelooks pretty damn familiar. Considering The Adventure of Link never saw a proper sequel, it was a blast to find similar gameplay on the “revolutionary” Super Nintendo. Pretty graphics, engrossing exploratory gameplay? What’s not to like?

And I’ve been asking that for years, because what do Super Adventure Island 2, Monster World 4, and The Adventure of Link all have in common? They’re evolutionary dead ends.

Wonder Boy/Monster World was just plain never seen again. “Zelda” obviously saw sequels for the rest of time, but none of them seemed particularly beholden to The Adventure of Link’s gameplay. And as for Master Higgins? Well, Adventure Island made it past the SNES in the form of the WiiWare title Adventure Island: The Beginning. It… wasn’t any good. What’s more, it was a return to the “original” Adventure Island gameplay, and completely dropped any and all adventure elements to accommodate Higgins’s enormous appetite. Sorry, folks, 2-D Adventure games just don’t work.

Video game producers are not making games for the hell of it. Obviously, every video game designer, from the staff at Nintendo to that one lonely guy coding Centaur Panty Fighter 2, wants to see their game succeed, and, during production, believes that the game being produced will be accepted. In short, there are dedicated, intelligent designers responsible for Wonder Boy and Adventure Island that both came to the same point of creating 16-bit, 2-D adventure games. And they both completely failed, taking the franchises with them.

Take a look at observable, historical evolution, and you’ll see that it’s a process, and even when it has the best of intentions, well… sometimes it doesn’t quite work. Evolution is Evolution, and part of evolution is failure. Adventure Island might just be Mauritius.

FGC #126 Super Adventure Island 2

  • System: Super Nintendo, though also available on the Wii Virtual Console. Not the WiiU Virtual Console, though…
  • Number of Players: Sorry, no co-op adventuring for you. Just one player.
  • Seriously?The Adventure of Master Higgins: Seriously, this game is biting on Zelda 2 so hard. You could argue LOZ:TAOL didn’t invent the rhythm of “go to dungeon, beat boss, find some random knickknack in subdungeon to access next dungeon, repeat forever”, but when you’ve got a game that also teaches a hero “random magic”, “upslash”, and “downslash”, then similarities start to become apparent.
  • Favorite Island: The “ice stage”, Hiya-Hiya Isle, is a tower containing a “puzzle” that involves tossing an ice block off the top so it can destroy an ice barrier in the basement. I think that’s neat. The stage’s layout vaguely reminds me of Ducktales’ Moon Stage, too, and that’s always a good thing. Also, the boss of the level is a Wooly Mammoth still frozen in ice. Master Higgins… can’t you just walk around that dude?
  • Did you know? There was an anime based on Adventure Island… sorta. It featured the little fairy creature that occasionally helps Master Higgins during his adventures, and she was responsible for banding together a group of random children to rescue a kidnapped Master Higgins and Tina. Bomberman was in one episode. It ran for 51 episodes and a movie. Clerks the Animated Series aired two episodes.
  • Would I play again: Yes. I like this game. Back when I was cashing in points on Club Nintendo, one of my last “purchases” was this very game. Granted, it’s because I had already purchased pretty much everything else offered, but I think I chose this one over downloading a random Castlevania game I also already owned.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Ichy and Scratchy the Game for SNES! Another SNES game, this time of… decreased quality. Please look forward to it, I think!

Turtle meat

FGC #079 Bomberman & Super Bomberman

KABLAMMOI’ve heard it said some sitcoms that are considered absolute classics would not have survived if they were released today. Cheers and Seinfeld spring immediately to mind, and the basic issue is that both shows had horrible initial ratings, and only ascended to the heavens after good word of mouth and critical praise had circulated for years. Nowadays, any show that performed that poorly on a major network would be terminated well before it had the time to grow to define language for a generation. Think of all the poor catchphrases killed before their time on modern television!

Personally, I don’t buy it, because the lifetime of a certain television show seems just as capricious and random as the lives of the humans that make them. Terriers was poorly rated and cancelled after about ten minutes, while Community never had more than twelve viewers, but somehow lasted through multiple seasons and networks. The axe was always hanging there, ready to chop Winger into nothingness, but it didn’t fall until the show finally (apparently) bankrupt an entire streaming platform. Whoops. I was really looking forward to the next season of Other Space, too.

All this isn’t to say that potentially world-changing shows aren’t cancelled before their time, because they certainly are, but in the same manner that we cannot experience a world where Hitler died in the womb, we have no idea what a world where Cheers debuted in 2015 would even look like. It’s easy to claim something like Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 could have been the next Seinfeld if given proper promotion and “a chance”, but we could also claim that we’d be experiencing world peace right now if only Friends hadn’t dominated the airwaves for so long. Ross and Rachel doomed us all.

And all this is preamble to the simple fact that had I owned Bomberman for the NES, I would have missed one of the best experiences on the SNES.

Bomberman is a Bomberman game: you’re the titular Bomberman in a Zelda-esque overhead world that requires a lot of destruction. There are blocks scattered about, and, while half those blocks are invincible, the other half will instantly vaporize in the face of your infinite supply of explosives. Blow up blocks, find powerups, and, It's a real blastwhen you’re ready, you can assault the army of monsters floating about. Your enemies, obviously, are a bit more mobile than the inanimate blocks, so you’ll have to use your wits and cunning to lure and snare your prey behind your pulsating payloads, and detonate at just the right moment to win the day. Immolate all the foes on a stage, and a door opens to the next stage, where you can do it all over again. But be careful! You’re just as vulnerable to your bomb blasts as anybody, and a novice player is likely to trap poor Bomberman on the wrong side of a bomb. Batman would not be proud.

Unfortunately, there’s about five levels of gameplay in a fifty level game, and, man, it gets old fast. There is no level variety, whether it be aesthetically or gameplay-wise, and, should you want to see Bomberman complete his quest, you’ll be trudging through level after level of mediocrity. I’m not one for disparaging a game for being too long (after all, everyone has different needs for entertainment: nowadays, I love a game that’s over within a Saturday afternoon, but when I was in junior high, I would have killed for one of those modern 120 hour JRPGS… because I only got a new game once every few months, compared to my contemporary gaming gluttony) but this is the Hanukkah of the NES: there was only enough game for ten levels, max, but they made it last for fifty! Mazel tov! Considering this game was on the same system as NOT FUNDonkey Kong, I don’t think anyone would have complained about the ol’ “infinite loop with faster monsters” trick. Fifty levels of staring at the exact same thing… geez, it’s a wonder Bomberman isn’t burned into more ancient television screens.

Now, as with any video game, there’s nothing saying you have to complete the game. It is a perfectly valid lifestyle choice to play a tenth of any given game, acknowledge that you’ve had fun with what’s there, but it’s getting repetitive, so time to move on, and call it a day. If you’re reading this, and can do that, great, I envy you, because me? I’m going to beat every last level, as I know no other way. Bomberman needs to escape his underground maze of homicidal balloons (or something), if I sit here doing nothing, knowing that the poor Bomberman is trapped down there, if I can do that, who am I? I’m Hitler, that’s who. I don’t want to be Hitler! I don’t even understand German!

So I can safely say that, had I owned or even played Bomberman as a child, I would have hated it, and remembered it as “fondly” as Friday the 13th or Beetlejuice (the NES game, to be clear, let us never disparage a Tim Burton movie). Granted, it’s not nearly as bad as those clunkers (and, yes, I’m aware there are people that probably enjoy both of those games, and I encourage you to report said people to the authorities), but its mind-numbing repetitiveness is something I would ever want to revisit, so I would have ignored any and all sequels advertising the Bomberman name.

Which would have been an absolute shame.

The NES will forever be one of my favorite systems, but it was also at its peak when I saw still young enough that the majority of my friends were the result of prearranged “play dates” (sidenote: I hate that phrase. I hate that phrase so much). As a result, I can’t say how many of my friends at the time were more or less putting up with watching me play Gradius while they waited to go out in the yard and play football (and here’s a shocker: I’m not a big fan of sports… or outside activities… or the sun). It wasn’t until around the rise of the Super Nintendo that I acquired friends that were friends not because they happened to live near me or our parents had Just trying to farm here, guyscomplimentary work schedules, but because we actually shared similar interests, like, say, video games. We were all playing video games because we genuinely enjoyed them, and, yes, it may have skewed our worldviews (the “minority kid” was the one that owned a Sega Genesis… that was how we learned tolerance), but we were having fun, and that’s an important thing to have in a childhood.

Given my childhood was framed by the SNES, you can probably guess a number of the games involved. Super Metroid was one player, but we all played it, and discussed the possible secrets and passages over many a recess (even though we eventually needed a guide to shatter that damn glass passage). Street Fighter 2 was burned into our brains (I think I still reflexively enter the mirror match code at the chime of the SNES Capcom logo), and Mortal Kombat (and more, MKII) was our contraband that we played whenever the parents weren’t watching (even if they were the only way we got the game in the first place). There were even a few licensed games spread around in there, like The Ren & Stimpy Show: Veediots, which, yeah, we were like ten, okay? Mistakes were made.

However, one game became the best “party game” before any of us even knew you could have a party outside of your birthday. Super Bomberman was pretty much a complete surprise for everybody: I asked for the game for Christmas almost exclusively for the Super Multitap, a bundled device that allowed for up to five players on the SNES… and, more importantly, a way to play the upcoming Secret of Mana with three players. Super Bomberman looked fun, though, and I did enjoy the bubblegum aesthetic of the main game, so I decided to give it a go with one of my friends. And we both So much betterhad an absolute blast, which led to an almost pathological need to get a “full” four player game going, and, from there, do that every damn day.

In truth, Super Bomberman probably only “lasted” for a year, but in kid time, it was eons. I even played through the one player mode a number of times, because I had to do something to hone my skills for the inevitable weekend bombing raids. It’s rather… confusing to play the game now, as the average versus match lasts approximately thirty seconds, and I remember doing that over and over again when I had three other preteens on my couch. And everybody said we had short attention spans…

And I know that, as much fun as Super Bomberman was and forever will be, I never would have touched it had I slogged through Bomberman a few years before. The difference between the two games is night and day, and while it would be simple to claim a similar transition occurred between Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros 3, Castlevania and Castlevania 3, or Mega Man and Mega Man… 2, I’d argue that the more apt comparison would be between the typewriter and the personal computer: they both have a keyboard, they both kinda do the same thing, but one grants you unlimited access to the whole of human knowledge, while the other requires whiteout.

Bomberman is the coal, Super Bomberman is the diamond, and I’m glad time (or Superman) applied enough pressure to make that glittering beauty. I’m just glad I never got the black stuff on my hands.

FGC #79 Bomberman & Super Bomberman

  • System: NES for Bomberman, SNES for Super Bomberman. NES Bomberman has also seen a number of rereleases on a parade of systems, including the N-Gage, which, I believe, technically, makes this the first N-Gage game I’ve touched. Way to represent a winning system, Bomberman.
  • Number of Players: One sad, sad Bomberman for Bomberman, but a dazzling assembly of four for Super Bomberman. It was the SNES game that defined four players, and I’m glad that number of controllers became standard with the following console generation.
  • Win/Loss Record: Just to be clear, I wasn’t the undisputed king of Super Bomberman, and I had my share of losses in versus mode to rival my victories. I’ve never been one to feel any need to “dominate” my friends, even if I am usually the host for such events. Video games taught me good sportsmanship… or at least not to wallow in my defeats.
  • The End of Bomberman: So the ending of Bomberman sees Bomberman graduate to… Lode Runner?
    Happy End?

    What the hell?

  • The Real End of Bomberman: I feel like the fall of 2-D spritework and “couch multiplayer” hit Bomberman the hardest. Ol’ Bomber White was so perfectly calibrated to one screen and players that had no problem seeing everybody else (but still cleverly boxed into little screen compartments to start every match) that the innovation of split screens and giant 3-D environments in multiplayer games was almost completely antithetical to the Bomberman experience… that foolishly decided to ape all the popular games. That is not their namesBomberman, we loved you just as you were, you never needed to change.
  • Artsplosion: I also feel like part of the appeal of Bomberman was how easy he was to draw. Okay, that might have been just me, but I know Bomberman hung out in the margins of my notes straight through to college. See also: Kirby, Thwomps.
  • Did you know? I only used the diamond metaphor earlier because it sounded classy, but apparently the evil final boss of Super Bomberman is named Carat Diamond, and his evil metropolis is Diamond City. I’m not sure if that information burrowed into my subconscious, or if it’s a random coincidence. Oh, and the other villain of the game is Dr. Mook. That sounds reeeeal threatening.
  • Would I play again: I tried to get some Super Bomberman LAN parties going a couple years ago… but it just wasn’t the same. I suppose we all grow up, and some games simply remain inextricably a part of childhood, never to return to their former prominence. But I’m not lamenting NES Bomberman at all, that game is terrible.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… to enjoy Christmas Break. FGC returns on January 11th with… Zool 2 for the Atari Jaguar? Really, ROB? Wow, not going to miss you for the next couple weeks.

In the meanwhile… Friday, aka Christmas (you might have heard of it), I’ll be tackling my favorite (video game related) Christmas Special. Then next week, I’ll be posting a special series on a group of games that have earned special titles… but to find out exactly what I’m talking about, you’ll have to check back on Monday. So, yes, Gogglebob.com will be updating for the holidays… we’re just letting that lazy robot take a few days off. Please look forward to it!

VICTORY!