You dropped the bomb on me, baby!
A princess has escaped the evil Empire. She has stolen a disk containing information that the Empire sorely wants back. While escaping in a shuttle, the Empire catches up to her. She gives the disk to her faithful robot companion who uses the shuttle to escape to the nearby planet, searching for one who can help the princess. Sound familiar? It should, it was the plot for one of the highest grossing films of all time. It’s also the plot for Bomberman Hero, one of the worst platform games of all time.
The original Bomberman is perhaps the best multi-player game of all time. It’s the reason that many console systems have more than just two controllers. When the first polygonal Bomberman game came out for the N64, I thought they had ruined one of my favorite games. Little did I know that Bomberman Hero was in development. Who in the world would ever think that it would make a good platformer?
Sure, there was always the one-player adventure mode in every Bomberman game, but it was consistently the most boring part of the game. The fun part was going mano a mano with half a dozen of your friends. The winner would be showered with praise, the loser would be taunted and ridiculed till my throat got dry. Many a happy night was spent in front of a television screen, controlling that cutesy lost son of a Lego spaceman and blowing up my friends to Kingdom Come.
In Bomberman Hero, there is no multi-player – just a single player mode. On top of that, the single player mode is worse now than it ever was before. The 3D engine used is worse than the Super Mario 64 engine, the very first game for the N64. You are Bomberman, there’s no choice in the matter. Anti-Bomberman (aka the Black Bomberman) makes cameo appearances, but is treated much like Hadji in a Johnny Quest episode (i.e. saves the day while Johnny takes all the credit). Your only weapon is your basic bomb. The only power-ups are more bombs, and bigger bombs.
Every few levels, Bomberman finds the need to use one of his special vehicles. There’s a rocket skateboard, a jet pack, a propeller that attaches to his feet (for swimming), and a propeller that attaches to his head. One would think that these add-ons would cause some variation in gameplay, but all you do is throw bombs at the enemies from a different vantage point. On one world you do get to use a deranged Bunnysaur, but he’s pretty useless.
The levels are easy, period. You can run through most of them without getting hurt. Here’s a hint -everything dies if you throw a bomb at it. Sound fun?
The sound is absolutely pitiful. I know that the N64 isn’t able to do CD quality music without costing an arm and a leg, but the beeps that count for music in this game belong on the Intellivision.
All in all, Bomberman Hero is a vast disappointment. The N64 has come out with some great platform games recently, like Banjo-Kazooie, that make Bomberman Hero look like garbage. If you always loved Bomberman and have $60 to spend, don’t buy this game. Instead, buy a Saturn (they’re real dirt cheap now), a multi-tap, and a copy of Saturn Bomberman. You could even go buy Bomberman 64. But whatever you do, just don’t buy this game.