Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bomberman '93

Hudson Soft

I don't like the original Bomberman at all. I despise its dull premise and its strange-looking hero, and I cringe whenever it appears on a "recommended Turbo games" list (which happens all too frequently). I expected little from its purportedly much-improved sequel, and indeed, '93 initially seemed just as lackluster as its predecessor, but with nicer-looking environments acting as battle boards.

But aesthetic advancement can also be perceived in the chip's high-quality soundtrack, and improvement isn't confined to the realm of the superficial. Teleporters scattered about many of the play areas make the elementary "set a bomb and blast up blocks and bums" action a bit trickier and more interesting; indeed, some of the later levels are actually quite difficult and rewarding. And the bosses here are much cooler than the big goofs in the first game. There are some particularly cunning foes to confront towards the end of the adventure.

I still don't find the basic Bomberman gameplay all that thrilling; and like its forebear, '93 has the irritating tendency to plop you down in unfair starting spots late in the quest. But the positives make a huge difference when it comes time to assess the card, and the flaws it shares with the original aren't quite as damaging to it as they are to its ascendant. This is a good, fun game, certainly my favorite of the PC Engine Bomberman titles.

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