The Way of the Bomb . . .
Embrace the Bomb and all it represents. Bathe in the river that is the Bomb. Prostrate yourself unto the Bomb. Beg it for forgiveness. Let the Bomb fill your soul and consume your essence. Only then, when you and the Bomb are one, can you truly be called Bomberman.
If you thought by simply buying a 32 bit machine, you'd never have to see that bomb crazy son of a Lego spaceman, think again. Saturn Bomberman brings back that lovable, so cute that you want to see him blown up, white suited bomber and his black suited compatriot (commonly referred to as the Anti-Bomberman). In this newest version of one of the best multiplayer games of all time, Hudson and Sega did an excellent job maintaining, well... the downright fun of Bomberman.
Graphics have never been the driving force behind the success of Bomberman, and the Saturn version isn't any different. The cartoony graphics look like something that could be produced on any of the 16 bit machines of years gone by. Saturn Bomberman does have one graphical difference than its predecessors. In battle mode, you can select a 'wide mode'. Not only does this allow a whopping ten players to play at the same time, but also it shrinks all the players down to minuscule sizes and make the playing board gigantic. With wide mode, give me and nine of my friends access to a big screen TV, and we'd be happy for hours, even days. (You might want to also feed us, unless you enjoy mass starvation.)
As I said before, Bomberman is one of, if not the, best multiplayer games ever made. Battle mode allows you to run around blowing your friends and loved ones to pieces. Place this in a college dorm room with six or ten controllers, and you'll find friends you never knew you had. Bomberman is the reason that the mutiplayer adapter exists. Heck, when it came out for the SNES, you could even buy it bundled with a four player adapter. That was a brilliant marketing ploy, and it surprised me that they didn't do the same thing with Saturn Bomberman. No other game has convinced me to buy a multiplayer adapter more than this one. Luckily, Sega makes a six player adapter (plug it into a controller port and get five controller ports.) With two of these, you can play with 10 people! Of course, no other game will ever require two six player adapters, but Saturn Bomberman just might be worth it.
Besides the ever popular Battle mode, there are two other ways you can play Saturn Bomberman, Normal or Master mode. In normal mode, it's up to Bomberman and Anti-Bomberman to save the world from the evil machinations of the wily Mr. Meanie. He has stolen the crystals that held the monster Crator and used his handy-dandy "monster controller" to use Crator in his nefarious plot. He's hidden the different crystals in different lands of the past. It's up to Bomberman to get the four crystals and destroy Crator and Mr. Meanie for good.
In Master mode, Bomberman must master the Way of the Bomb and climb to the top of the sacred shrine. Enemies on every floor block his ascent to nirvana. Can Bomberman make it? Only if his Kung-Fu is strong enough.
But wait! Saturn Bomberman is not just about laying bombs and having them kill your enemies, it's about the cool powerups that allow you to kill your enemies faster. There are Bead Bombs, Rubber Bombs (good for safe bombing), Line Bombs, Power Bombs, Penetrator Bombs, Remote Control Bombs, and Mines to play around with. Add to that powerups that increase the blast radius, your speed, the number of bombs you can lay, or your skills in bomb handling(eg. Kicking or throwing the bombs). You can also get help from your various dinosaur friends that you can find everywhere, even in the wild west. For all good, there must also be evil. Skull diseases are the bane of every bombers existence. Some of the worst are Shriveling Fire Disease, Bombaralysis, Premature Detonation, or the dreaded Bomberrhea. Many brave bombers have been lost to these plagues.
Unable to find people willing to play with you? You can also use the Netlink to play against people who don't even know you. One of the first Netlink games, it's an interesting addition to the game. For those who have the Netlink, you can test your skills against others and see who truly deserves the title, Bomberman.
What are the drawbacks? Well, they're more like complaints than drawbacks. For one, there aren't enough Battle mode levels. With only seven to choose from (eight if you include the wide version), you find that you need a little more variety. As I said before, the graphics look like they were on one of the 16 bit systems. While this doesn't detract from the gameplay, some gamers may be disappointed. But when you take into account what they did with Atomic Bomberman for the PC, I'm glad they decided not to mess with a good thing.
In an era where game companies are concentrating only on graphics, many designers forget the one thing that makes a game a classic . . . fun. Saturn Bomberman is one of the most fun and addictive games to come out in a long time. While it may not be the most visually impressive game, it will bring you hours of joy and happiness for your friends and loved ones. I warn you, however, don't be surprised if you find yourself investing in a few more controllers and a six player adapter, because Saturn Bomberman just might get you hooked.