Friday, 11 December 2015

Bomberman Series - Part 12

Super Bomberman (1993)
By: Hudson Soft  Genre: Maze  Players: 1-4  Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Nintendo SNES  First Day Score: 138,700
Also Available For: Nothing

Growing up as a gamer here in the UK came with a few benefits but it also had its drawbacks. The MSX and NES weren't popular here and we didn't even get the PC Engine at all, so the first time many of us were able to sample the delights offered by Bomberman and his fine games was with this release on the SNES. It was initially launched just a few months after Bomberman '93 which was quite comfortably the best game of the series up to that point, but could the introduction of a new format continue its gradual evolution? I guess we'll see about that later but one thing it did do was introduce a new bad guy in 'the evil Carat Diamond and his cohort, scientist Dr. Mook' who want to steal Bomberman's advanced combat capabilities for use in their special Robot Tournament. Black Bomberman has apparently reformed his character and attempts to stop the diabolical plan but is captured while doing so. Somehow he escapes and warns White Bomberman just as wave upon wave of enemy robots begin their advance toward Peace Town, the home of both antenna-wagglers.

New bad guy or not though, I think it's safe to assume we're in familiar territory, and indeed, there is the choice of the usual 'Normal Game' for one or two players, or a 'Battle Game' for up to four players. The former has always been my fave, whether alone or with a friend, and the example here is a pretty good one. There are 48 stages in total, divided equally over six themed worlds, which means seven normal stages and one boss stage per world. The object is the same as usual too - find the exit hidden beneath a random soft block, and destroy all enemies on the stage to unlock it. Along the way you can collect various power-ups which are also hidden by blocks, and most of these will already be familiar to Bomberman veterans - bomb multipliers and range extender come first, and others include speed-up, bomb-kick, shield, remote bombs, block pass, etc. It's not a taxing concept and there's nothing here that makes it any more complicated than in previous instalments.

Indeed, aside from the mainly-new roster of enemies, it takes until the fifth world to find something that's markedly different here, and that appears to be the home of Carat Diamond's Robot Tournament. This consists of a series of one-on-one contests against scary evil robot Bombermen and basically plays like eight rounds of the Battle Mode. It certainly makes for an interesting diversion but it is also about the only original feature in the game. Most SNES fans probably weren't concerned about that in its day of course - it was most likely their first chance to enjoy the series at all - but looking at it now as part of the overall series, it seems like something of a regression. It actually plays more like the first PC Engine title, or even the second game on the NES. Both of these are tremendous games but Super Bomberman's immediate predecessor, Bomberman '93, upped the ante in terms of graphics and stage design and there is little sign of that splendour here.

The stages are all single-screened examples for one thing, and are not nearly as memorable as those feature/obstacle-laden examples found in the last game. Here they are literally just square arenas, and the graphics aren't as nice either, with less colourful stages and less appealing enemies. The audio is great though, particularly the music, and it's still a great game overall. The Normal Game should last a while, although perhaps not as long as it might have thanks to a password system, and it's still pretty easy when you get tooled up. It's great while it lasts though, and the Battle Game is never less than riotous if you can get some friends involved. Bomberman has always been one of the best multiplayer party games and the twelve arenas on offer here are varied enough to keep you coming back long after defeating Carat Diamond and his idiotic cronies. It's not the best game in the series so far then, perhaps you might even say it's a bit of a backwards step overall, but it's still Bomberman, it's still great fun, and comes highly recommended to SNES fans.

RKS Score: 8/10

Gameplay Video: here's a video of the whole game being played by one of the talented fellows at World of Longplays (check out their great channel here). Oh, and don't watch if you want to avoid spoilers!



  1. Hmmm, I honestly can't remember if I've played this one or not. At any rate, your comments about make me think it has to pale in comparison not only to Bomberman '93, but also Bomberman '94 and Saturn Bomberman. Love all three of those games, BTW!

  2. Hey Bryan :) I would say this instalment is slightly inferior to the holy trinity you mention but it's still great :)