Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bonk 3: Bonk's Big Adventure

~ BONK 3 ~
Hudson Soft / Red

I gather that I defy consensus with my views on what the strongest points of each Turbo Bonk episode are. Adventure ranks as my favorite of the bunch, as it offers the tightest controls (which allow for smooth spin attacks), brilliant tunes in their marvelous original forms, a memorable and charismatic band of bosses, and the most nostalgic value. I consider Revenge a decent followup that flaunts superior graphics and stage designs.

And then there's Bonk III. It delivers large and diminutive Bonk forms, which are amusing for about thirty seconds before seeming silly and gimmicky, if not utterly pointless.

B3 keeps the poor controls from Revenge and serves up lackluster visuals and uninspired stage constructions, with only a few zones that qualify as nice looking or fun to explore.

And it's pretty boring. The levels are large, but I'm not the type who can delight in stumbling about vast, mostly empty spaces with little to come across but fruit, meat, candy, and the occasional bonus area.

I like to have invigorating action to keep me occupied while I do my item hunting, and Bonk III provides very little of that.

The music doesn't help. The first Bonk isn't difficult at all, but it feels exciting thanks in large part to a very lively soundtrack. Bonk III's music is very laid back and "contributes" to the game's somniferous atmosphere. And while Adventure stars some unforgettable bosses, the end-level bums here are stupid looking and stupidly easy to beat.

Playing this game as a cap to experiences with the PCE Bonk titles is like watching a television show that has stuck around a season too long: B3 looks, sounds, and feels like its day has passed. My brother Duomitri had warned me that this episode marked the point in the series at which "the magic was almost gone." I'd say the magic is nowhere to be found.

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