Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bonk 3 CD

Hudson Soft / Red / TTI
Super CD-ROM

I wasn't particularly interested in Bonk III when it was originally released. I'd passed on Revenge because of the issues I have with its controls, and reports indicated that the third chapter had failed to bring back Adventure's smooth spin attacks. Also, from afar, B3 seemed to explore very little ground that hadn't already been covered by the debut episode and the first sequel. My tune eventually changed when I read that the CD rendition contains "Vs." mini-games involving wrestling and volleyball, side-stage activities the likes of which I never would've expected a Bonk title to offer. I was intrigued--and certain that I would eventually nab the disc without giving its card counterpart even a passing thought.

Well, I scratched that plan when it became clear that the TurboChip version would be the cheaper, easier buy. And upon tracking the chip down and giving it a play, I determined that the main game itself just wasn't for me. I had no love at all for its vast but largely empty and unrewarding levels, its gimmicky big and small Bonk forms, its goofy bosses, its not-much-fun bonus rounds, and its lounge-style pacing.

Of course, acquiring and playing the CD rendition meant I would have to deal with that crap all over again.

But hey, at least I finally got to try those mini-games I'd been interested in for years. This was a big deal for me, you understand. So, let's go to the mini-reviews and see how things turned out...


This is wrestling, in case you couldn't tell. "Wrestling" in Bonk's time apparently meant "head-butting each other until someone falls off a cliff." I wasn't expecting WCW/NWO Revenge here, but this just isn't much fun.

And this, of course, is volleyball. The slow back-and-forth action is Pong-esque in its monotony and (lack of) intensity. Points tend to go on for ages. I wasn't expecting Kings of the Beach here, but this is even less enjoyable than the wrestling stuff.

Not the saving graces I was hoping for.

BUT... Bonk III CD ultimately redeemed itself (in my eyes, at least) with its red book soundtrack. The HuCard's tunes (which everyone else seems to prefer) are so dull that they typically leave me drowsy as I struggle to stay with the already slow-paced proceedings. The CD's tracks, on the other hand, are very lively and assertive--raw and dirty and rockin' at times. They actually get me a little more interested in exploring my surroundings and make the action seem a bit more exciting, whereas the old card numbers cause me to race to each goal post simply to avoid the embarrassing fate of dozing off mid-level. That being said, these are not great compositions, and they certainly wouldn't have been worthy of spots on earlier Bonk soundtracks. But at least they constitute an asset in their remixed forms rather than a detriment.

While neither version of Bonk III is particularly wonderful, I do get quite a bit more enjoyment out of the CD. Unfortunately, as alluded to earlier, the CD happens to be the much more expensive rendition (and the card is no bargain-binner to begin with, so we're talking lots of cash here). And I must reiterate the oh-so-minor caveat that I really do seem to be the only human being who prefers the red book tunes.

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