Bomberman Generations


Review by Greg Wilcox



Graphics: 7

Sound: 7

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 7

In a way, I feel sorry for Bomberman. Here's a guy who's great at parties, but he also has one of the more schizophrenic work histories in gaming. Throughout his career, Hudson has tried to reinvent him in assorted genres including puzzle, platform, strategy, adventure, and racing, but he's at his best bringing together folks who simply like to blow each other up. The latest game, Bomberman Generations, is a mostly stellar 3D adventure that longtime fans should find just as much fun as the younger players the game goes out of its way to target. BG features 6 huge levels to explore, snappy control, and a load of mini-games and secrets all wrapped up in some of the most colorful graphics on the Game Cube. Of course, the multi-player Battle stages are here and addictive as ever- perfect for settling old grudges, and starting a few new ones.

The main plot brings back Mujoe (who still dresses like an out of work wrestler), and he and his Hige Hige Bandits are out to swipe something called Bomb Elements, which will help them rule the universe (can i get a " Mu-ha-ha-haaaa!" here?). The Bandits blow up the spaceship carrying the Bomb Elements, which end up spread out over the 6 worlds Bomberman gets to bop around as he tries to retrieve them. There's a bit more, but it's all rendered nearly superfluous by the annoyingly cute Charaboms, making yet another appearance in an attempt to snag the Pokemon crowd.

That's right folks, you too can fetch and raise these little buggers to help you in you battle against the assorted baddies you'll come across in the game. The Charaboms act like the pickups in Battle Mode, but these guys stick with you and can be evolved as you play through the main game. Personally, I think it's a needless addition. For one, it breaks up the action in an otherwise cool game with tedious Charabom raising and a battle system borrowed straight from Pokemon and Monster Rancher. Not that there's anything wrong with these two games at all, but it seems as if in order to move units, an "E" rated Nintendo game has to cater to the "gotta grab 'em all" crowd in one form or another.

Oh, and forget about the option to leave the Charaboms where they lie. The thing is, you HAVE to go to all the trouble of finding, raising, feeding, and evolving them in order to complete certain tasks the game gives you, or to defeat certain bosses. So, you'll be a digital daddy or mommy whether you like it or not. Call me an old-fashioned nut, but half the strategy in the classic Bomberman game is picking up (or avoiding) whatever pops up on the playfield, not sifting through menus to pick out the correct character to complete a level. BG also uses every button on the Game Cube controller, which will throw younger players off in the main game, and anyone during the fast-paced multi-player battles. Of course, it also means an even playing field for the kids versus the Bomberman traditionalists out there, and once you get the controls down, the game is a joy to play.

And it looks great as well. BG sports some really clean cel-shaded polygon graphics for its characters, and well-rendered free roaming 3D environments that recall some previous games in the series. There's a rotatable camera system to make sure you can check out every inch of the level for secrets or hidden enemies looking to ruin your day. The character designs are all cute, with even some of the bosses being "awwww" worthy. Of course, that's until they start stomping you or bashing you with the scenery. There are some minor environmental puzzle elements here as well, but nothing too brain-busting that a bit of bomb action or dodging won't cure.

The Charaboms are one step away from a call from Nintendo's legal department. They all look like Pokemon that didn't make the cut for one reason or another, and the names are too close to be a coincidence. Stegodon, Pommy, Andlar, Dorako, and Kai-man are five of many you'll meet, and more will join up with you once you defeat them in battle. I'm sure if you have kids in the house they'll won't be fooled for a moment, unless they're really tired or down with a cold. The music and sound effects go for the cute/effective bit as well and succeed, and the intro and brief in-game movies will make you wonder why there hasn't been a Bomberman anime done in this style yet.

As usual, the frantically paced multiplayer game stages will draw the most attention for the older Bomberman fans, and it doesn't disappoint at all. Well, except for the fact that Sega's Saturn Bomberman and Bomberman Online for the Dreamcast supported more than 4 players at a time. But other than that (and those sickeningly cute Charaboms), there's nothing that should stop you from running out and picking Bomberman Generations up. Just drink a lot of water to wash down the sugar coating, and you'll do just fine.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:16 PM