Hello everybody! TheArcadeStriker here! Today I want to talk about a game that I knew since many years, and that it’s pretty cool yet interesting, and it’s from a mostly known series:
Years ago, when I first saw this game I was really hooked by the way the graphics looked, the amount of players it had and that it was a PC Bomberman game. Currently, a first look at the game would show the prerendered graphics usage from those years (if not unusual for a Bomberman game), the uniqueness of being a Windows game…and maybe some other few stuff. Because of the game’s age though, it had something that messed up the game colors unless you killed Explorer, but nowadays you can use a ddraw DLL that fixes the color issue without a lot of hassle (and of course it didn’t happen in systems like Windows 95).
The premise of the game is simple: Place bombs and run, trying to blast others; common Bomberman stuff. The game uses prerendered graphics that were impressive before but may have aged a bit, a techno-style soundtrack, and it has a bunch of voices played ingame by Charlie Adler and Billy West, that were voice actors in several cartoons.
But outside of that, it seems to be pretty much the same Bomberman like other versions, which means that there isn’t really a lot different than other games apart from the external feel, and it includes the standard: Different maps, teams, joystick support (though only 2 buttons and no remapping), lots of bombs, etc. With that said, the game seems to somehow have a bit more customization than other titles, with the presence of a rather unique feature: Schemes.
Schemes are pretty much the block placement, probability and distribution of items, that a map possess, as well as the “density” of soft blocks, the placement of players, and if a item appears in a Random item or not. You can select a scheme and it will apply regardless of the type of map you select (since there are several types of maps like the Super or Mega Bomberman games). You can use the Scheme editor to create your own schemes or edit existing ones; but for whatever reason it’s a “hidden” option (doesn’t appear in the menu) that you have to access by pressing “CTRL + E” six times in the main menu.
For example, you can create a scheme that only has soft blocks, with everyone having the Kick item by default, and only making the Bomb, Fire and Speed items appear solely in Random items (and solely have Random items). Yes, you can also make a map where only Skull items appear too (but you would have to be really evil to do that). As you can imagine, this pretty much would kind of allow the creation of “games” inside schemes, having a certain kind of rule to play with (and there are several included maps in the game that specify a certain amount of players needed or it’s limit).
For the matter of features that this game has, it’s the ONLY game next to Saturn Bomberman that allows for a total of TEN players in a single game, and unlike Saturn Bomberman, it’s not restriced in the selection of maps (and schemes) regardless of the amount of players, but also doesn’t ever have a extremely wide field should you play with 10 players, which means that the 10 players would be placed in the map that may be a bit small (and that is if you use the default scheme). Another exclusive thing from this game is the presence of a “Ebola” item (But this game was made in 1997 :P), which can be identified as a Skull with a red background and gives you THREE diseases…yeah.
The game also notably boasted LAN/Network Play through IPX Connection (and for some reason ONLY IPX Connection, but I guess it was functional at the time), allowing for several PCs to connect together and play Bomberman through a network. This feature probably was one of the main features of the game, as it was the first Bomberman game with network (and who wouldnt love some online Bomberman), but the IPX may have disfavoured it as time passed. Luckily, there is a program called IPXWrapper that emulates the IPX protocol and enabling you to play in network again.
Strangely though, there is no kind of single player content at all: There is no story/campaign mode in the game, meaning that if you don’t have anyone to play the game and you hate playing with bots, you’re short of luck. While a campaign mode actually was intended and something of it can be played, it’s really incomplete, pretty much only being something that spawns enemies (with unfinished sprites) in the map and that’s it, regardless of map, map scheme or player count; and even then, it’s never mentioned officially in any documentation of the game, so it’s safe to say that it’s not really of a campaign, nor it is supposed to be used.
Actually, for what the game did for the time, I like how it’s a game that can support 10 players in a single PC, along with networking, the graphics have that 90s feel in the air and felt cool to me, the sounds and music were popping enough, and the amount of voices present still get me amused to say the least. I also had lots of fun using the Scheme editor, including creating a “race” scheme which you had to play with the minimum time, having to run away from the generating walls and then having to punch away the other player’s bombs while the wall comes.
I have countless memories of this game, with the cool-looking Bombermen, the kickass music, and of course blasting some cousing I played with. The voice taunts were funny and plenty, with the quirky humour of the game showing with that and animations for when you are trapped (things like the poor guy starting to cry, waving goodbye, holding a sign, etc) and when you get killed (can get blasted the entire head, a leg, only have some eyeballs left, being a pile of ashes, etc), and of course experimenting with new maps is something that always gave me fun. Messing with 10 players also was pretty chaotic but a blast too.
- Features 11 maps and lots of schemes
- 10 player support
- Support joysticks (Also compatible with PPJoy)
- Team modes
- Network support
- Has a toggleable Bonus Game mode where the winner player starts with a item from a roulette
- Initial player speed is faster than most games (Not a actual feature but something to mention)
- +Good old Bomberman
- +Has support up to 10 players locally or through network (only 5 computers can connect)
- +Map layout, items, etc customization through Schemes
- +Great soundtrack
- +Controls are responsive, keyboard remapping & gamepad compatible
- +Network-capable through Hamachi, LAN or other methods
- *Voice taunts can either be funny or annoying depending of taste
- *Simiarly, the 3D graphics may either be seen as pretty nice, or really aged
- *Non-prerendered graphics are OK at best
- *May have “choppy” movement for some
- -No campaign mode
- -Online setup may be a little bit confusing for some
- -Voice taunts can’t be disabled
- -Gamepads can’t be remapped, only 2 buttons
This outing of Bomberman can have some small quirks that can throw off some, including the lack of a campaign, and it could be said that the game is mostly showing it’s age with most of it’s graphics, but with the customization options it got, the 10 player chaos that it can unleash, and that it’s still good-old Bomberman, you can’t really go wrong with this game.
I loved this game and I STILL love it. I got really fond memories of it, and in my opinion, it does look pretty well, got some kickass music, and of course screwing around with the amount of things you can do with the schemes, I must consider it as one of the games that made my childhood along with Bomberman NDS, Bomberman Generations and Bomberman Blast for the Wii; as well as being between my favorites of Bomberman 64, Super Bomberman & Mega Bomberman, Bomberman 2 NDS, and even being A BIT near Saturn Bomberman. If you can grab this game and got some good pals, you should really give a shot at this version of the game; it’s hilarious and good fun like any Bomberman (except Act Zero but that’s another thing). And if you can find someone to play this through network, it’s a real blast too.
If you do like the Atomic Bomberman music and want to hear it, you can take at this playlist with the entire soundtrack courtesy of GerkFM:
And of course, you may have heard about this game…profanity. Well, there is indeed a bunch of swear-filled lines in the game but (obviously) unused. Still, it’s funny the fact that those even exist for something like a Bomberman game, and it could be possible to restore or mod in said files to use them in the game.
…and one of those lines is even used in the game, but censored. (“Eat my dust and lick my *beep*). Not sure if there are more of them present like this, but whatever.
If you liked this post, be sure to stay around to check more future reviews and stuff I post, drop by a comment, and if you would like to play this game online with me, don’t be afraid to tell me or send a email, I would be glad to play. Until next time.