Mega Bomberman isn’t exactly the most lauded of Bombermans despite it’s laudable moniker. I mean, think about it. Being super is pretty sweet but being mega sounds altogether rather exciting. LOOK AT ME I AM MEGA. I mean… it beats being ZERO by… whatever multiple of zero there i- ohhhhhh. Wait. No. Maths. Anyway. If you’ve been living under a rock for these past few decades, you WILL have heard of Bomberman in one form or another. Even if you’re only like four years old – and if you are, you might want to turn away now in case your parents find you looking at this review because BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES you’re a naughty child and the internet has just been taken away from you…
Bomberman was at one point fairly ubiquitous – there was a version of the game on EVERY console pretty much.
Mega Drive and Super Nintendo? Of course.
The Neo Geo? Yup.
The N-Gage? Yup.
Even the 3D0? OH GOD NO. Who’d even touch that piece of shit?
KIDS, GO TO BED.
So what is it that makes Mega Bomberman so different from other games in the series?
That’s why it’s good.
Well… I say nothing but this is the first game that introduced mounts in the form of Rooeys/Louies… who sound like a really bad indie band without a record deal. More on them later as they are really one of the few major talking points in this game.
I mean… I’m 250 words into this review and already I’m struggling with what to say about this game and other Bomberman-style games that hasn’t already been said or that you don’t already know. I mean… really. What don’t you know about Bomberman? It is a quintessential party game of the highest order where some version allow you to play with up to 9 of your friends… providing you could find 10 Saturn controller that is. I mean… did you know 10 people with Sega Saturns?
I’m being mildly facetious there (true as it might be, DAMMIT WELLSY, STOP BEING MEAN ABOUT THE SATURN). For the Mega Drive, there were only four players taking to the battlefield, which might seem like a bit of a gip in comparison to other versions which could boast FIVE, it’s not too detrimental to the gameplay. It’s still fun. You can always pretend that there’s a fifth player involved by letting them lob cushions in your face or something. Adds a new dimension of fun to proceedings. Tell you what, Hudsonsoft, you can have that one for free. Put it on the boxart of your next game.
Mega Bomberman itself does sort of have a story. I mean… it’s basically BLOW UP EVERYTHING but under the guise of some sort of superfluous narrative in which the planet of SOMEWHERE has had its spirit sucked out or something and thus has split into five parts, each of which, amazingly, represents one area of the planet. IT HAS MAGICALLY HAPPENED BECAUSE MAGIC. BECAUSE PLOT. BECAUSE OF COURSE. As such, jungles, volcanoes, seascapes, vampire mansions and snowscapes all appear in entirely separate areas. No two enemies appear in other levels and no mechanic appears in other areas either.
But all you’re really doing is blowing everything up like a little pyrotechnic. You blow up floating rubber rings, snails, boxing bunnies, suicidal carrots, massive-lipped fishes, walking eyeballs, bumbling statues and ice skating girls who REALLY DON’T DESERVE IT.
And then there’s these things:
The fuck are these things?
He’s the CREEPIEST thing that ever wanted to hug you EVER. WELL. GUESS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BLOW THEM THE FUCK UP.
EVEN MORE OF THE FUCKING THINGS. ONLY SMALLER.
CRAWLING WITH THEM. FUCK. Imagine two of these getting blown up. IMAGINE EIGHT OF THESE FUCKING BLIGHTERS CRAWLING ALL OVER THE FUCKING LEVEL. FUCK. That’s why I despair of this level. That and the fireworks that set off bombs. And the rotating, flaming beacons of hatred that litter the level – AN ICE LEVEL THAT APPEARS TO BE FULL OF FIRE AND YET NOTHING MELTS. EXCEPT YOUR SOUL. APPARENTLY. I’M NOT SURE.
Thankfully, there’s a lot of different little tricks that keep you on your toes as your progress through the levels. The jungle levels appear to just rope you into the mechanics, introducing you to the basics without putting you in too much danger. I mean how much more danger can there be when you’re planting bombs around the level? Initially, there’s very little to truly hurt you unless you’re too slow or you put a bomb into a position that is basically trapping you in a cage of death. Yeah. Don’t do that.
Eventually, the enemies get a bit cleverer. Some submerge beneath the ground to keep safe. Some can set off bombs by shooting flames out. Plenty of enemies glide through blocks to try and kill you too. And then you have the creepy huggers trying to… hug you. I guess. *shivers*
And then there are the bosses. Actually, they’re an incredibly challenging and interesting set of bosses, each of which can kill you pretty easily, apart from this one which is easy like [JOKE REMOVED BECAUSE SEXISM IS NOT A JOKE ALSO I ACTUALLY COULDN’T THINK OF ANYONE WHO WAS EASY]. Seriously, this banana boss is particularly easy if you have bombs that are powerful enough. The most amusing part is that initially, you think the idea is to blow up the banana when in reality, it’s much easier to point bombs at the monkey controlling this giant-sized, possibly-mechanised, remotely-controlled banana. He doesn’t move unless you get too close and seeing as the banana does NOTHING anyway, it is basically bomb, hide, bomb, hide, bomb, hide, DEAD BOSS.
Or at the very least CONCUSSED BOSS.
Unsurprisingly, the story is fluff included to give the reason for planting bombs and blowing shit up a purpose. It is not exactly groundbreaking because it didn’t need to be. That wasn’t the point when the main crux of the game was having multiplayer fun with all of your friends/enemies in the battle mode. That’s what Bomberman is ALLLLLLLLLLLL about: KILLING YOUR FRIENDS WITH BOMBS UNTIL THEY SPEW OUT POWER-UPS.
And despite the fact there’s only four people on the field, it is essentially classic Bomberman. Power-ups remain the staple, the objective is the same and kicking a bomb out of the way and into an opponent to kill them is the most satisfying way to get rid of them. What’s slightly more unique about this version is the inclusion of the mounts as previously mentioned. Louies are very much something to try and seek out in both the main story mode and in battle mode too. They work as an extra life in that they die first when a bomb hits you, giving you a bit of a chance to stay in the game unless someone throws a bomb right into your face straight afterwards and you lose two lives in the space of a second. It’s doable. It sucks. But when your opponents are on the receiving end, it’s fucking rad as hell.
There are five Louies in total, each of which have a different power to help you. Green ones run in a straight line quickly across the field until they reach a wall or block in their way. Blue ones can kick bombs over other blocks so that they can blow up on the other side, keeping you out of harm’s way. Yellow ones, similarly, allow you to kick blocks down the field. If you kick a row of blocks, the one at the end dislodges and shifts across the screen, potentially blocking people in IF YOU’RE REALLY GOOD. Purple ones are the ones you do NOT want your opponents to get. They are the best ones. You can fucking JUMP with them. This gets you out of the reach of bomb blasts, allows you to jump over blocks and all sorts. They are gold. Well… they’re purple but you get the idea. They’re the ones you want to get.
And then there’s the pink ones.
The pink Louies.
Guess what these guys do.
They fucking dance.
I am not kidding.
They fucking dance. You hold down the B button and they wiggle their arses for you and do a little chicken neck dance. The first time you find this out, it’s both hysterical and miserable. It is the gaming equivalent of saying: “look, this doesn’t do anything but it’s cute, right?” and expecting everyone to be happy with it. On the positive side, it’s an extra life like the other Louies are. Otherwise, it fucking dances.
Bravo, Hudsonsoft. And you don’t take on my cushion idea. Tsk.
Mechanics in each stage add to the variety in the game but often the purest form of entertainment comes in the regular map, which is boring as all get out, but it’s the best way to settle differences without crying ‘cheat’ or having to use gimmicks to win. It separates the men from the boys, the wheat from the chaff, the diamonds from the coal and all that gubbins. Using the trapdoors is all very well and good but in those matches the rounds don’t last long when you drop down a trapdoor only for a bomb to blow up in your face on the other side of the gate. Some call it unfair. Some call it tactics. Some throw cushions at you for added effect.
See, here’s the thing. Story mode is guff. Battle mode is fucking bonkers, brilliant entertainment. However, looking back on this version of battle mode, it can feel very empty and uninspired. They totally managed to make future iterations more fun and more accessible by adding in certain things. The fact that you can’t take out power-ups, such as the Louies, is a bit disappointing, and the feeling of claustrophobia in slightly cramped locales can be a bit off-putting. There aren’t too many options all in all. You can choose between 2 to 4 players, you can have single combatants or tag teams, and you can choose from nine different characters including ROBO-BOMBER, OLD BOMBER, FAT BOMBER and TEENY WEENY BOMBER, none of which have any character traits unless they’re played by the computer. Otherwise, they’re all the same. Slightly missed opportunity for a bit of personality and/or statistics like speed and whatnot, I dunno. Maybe it wouldn’t have been fair to throw TOO much at the player that they can take advantage of. It gives every human-controlled character the same level-playing field.
Essentially, this is a very good version of the franchise which is only really missing that extra person to play against. The story mode is bobbins because it’s a solo version of blowing up blocks and not dying. I’m an expert in not dying. I’ve been doing it for long enough. I suppose I need to get my blowing-up-blocks licence at some point if I really want to be a MEGA BOMBERMAN OH MY GOD DID IT REALLY TAKE THAT LONG TO WIND UP TO THAT PUN I AM SO GOOD AT PUNNING.
Anyway, I’m off to fill some cushions with rocks.
DON’T TELL EVERYONE.