Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bonk's Adventure

Hudson Soft / Atlus / Red

Although I'm not a fan of "mascot platformers" in general, I've always found Bonk's Adventure to be extremely enjoyable. It's a very likable and endearing game that features a charismatic and infectiously gleeful protagonist, a colorful enemy cast (the giant-dino bosses are particularly memorable), a cute ending, and neat visual elements. And I must mention that its soundtrack is one of the Turbo's finest.

I turn the game on from time to time expecting to play only a level or so--just enough to experience a good bit of nostalgia. I always end up immersed in the headbutt-administering caveman's amusing endeavors and wind up playing through the entire adventure. It's really nice when you revisit an old game and that sort of thing happens.

The eggshell-capped fellows are the low-ranking wretches of King Drool's army, but there's no question that they could slaughter any "Little Goomba"-type fodder-fool. One of the Bonk series's greatest strengths is its lineup of bad-guy dinosaurs, who are so much more fun to fight than Mario's mushrooms-and-turtles contingent or Sonic's "woodland robots."

The coolest villain of all is the awesome T. Ractorhead. Even Bonk seems happy to see him.

Most of the bosses are extremely vulnerable to noggin spin-slams. I'll still take 'em any day over the boring Bowser clan or Robotnik's stupid contraptions.

Kongo Zilla can fight pretty well, but he eventually softens up.

The best thing about the end-round battles is the dramatic tune that accompanies the combat; it ranks among the greatest boss tracks ever if you ask me. It can also be heard during the brief, action-packed, Triceratops-and-Pterodactyl-dominated fourth stage. Bonk doesn't seem to be coping with the intensity very well in this screen.

One thing he can handle well is swimming. The controls feel great whether you're underwater or under... whatever that orange stuff is.

Bonk is also a proficient climber. Being that these are prehistoric times, crazy ideas like using your hands and feet for climbing hadn't been invented yet, so clever Bonk uses his teeth.

There actually aren't all that many stretches that call for you to swim or climb. In fact, you can spin-jump your way right through many of the mostly linear levels. Even the more-restrictive zone constructions fail to meet the stage-design standards later set by Bonk's Revenge. But at least the action remains fast and fun here, while many similar titles slow everything down for the sake of including dull moving-platform sequences and the like.

BA isn't amazing graphically, but its backgrounds occasionally feature some very appealing visual embellishments, such as the enormous moon up in the sky in the screen on the left. And a number of levels are quite neat thematically; who needs "donut plains" and "marble zones" when we can explore dino innards?

Do make sure to explore each stage thoroughly, as you can stumble upon lots of secret entryways...

...most of which lead to bonus rounds or rooms full of goodies.

The best goody of all is meat. Upon nabbing a piece, Bonk blows his top and becomes super strong, eager to steamroll all who stand in his way.


1 comment :

Anonymous said...

I simply adore the original Bonk's Adventure. Like you said, it is the best in the series. It's one of my go to games when I need a quick pick-me-up and I'm looking to waste a little time. Such a fun game!

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