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Bionic Commando
Review By: Shane Sacobie
Developer:   Capcom
Publisher:   Capcom
# of Players:   1
Genre:   Action
ESRB:    Everyone

Bionic Commando is another great title from the developers of Street Fighter and Mega Man. While it hasn't received the attention that some of Capcom's major franchises, it's still a quality title.

Graphically, Bionic Commando is one of the best titles I've seen on Nintendo's portable. There is no blurring when the action heats up, and the enemies and weapons are quite varied. Explosions, though not by any means stellar, are good enough to suffice. Even if the main map isn't exactly impressive, it does manage to recapture the feel of the NES classic.

The soundtrack is once again among the best for GameBoy. Rather than just a bunch of random sounds that plague most GB games, the soundtrack actually serves a purpose and is pleasing to listen to (though that Game Over tune may get on your nerves, since you'll hear it more often than you'll care to remember). Explosions are again well done, if not overly exciting, as are weapon sound effects. Communication may sound a bit odd at first, but it also recaptures the spirit of the NES Bionic Commando.

Control is excellent, though there's a large learning curve, especially if you haven't played the original. Not being able to jump will definitely throw some gamers off, as not having that ability is a unique feature (or lack thereof) in this type of game, with the main point being using the bionic arm effectively. Rather than jumping over obstacles, you're forced to use your arm to swing over things, climb up them, or latch on to them. This is something that won't come easy, yet must be truly mastered in order to be able to achieve victory.

Unfortunately, this game does have its control flaws. Not being able to jump can be attributed to the uniqueness of the title and can't be considered a flaw, but not being able to move over while you're falling (except for your arm) will get on your nerves sooner or later. Also, the first weapons are pretty much useless in many areas and can present a problem, and it can be a pain being unable to equip more than one item and one piece of armor at any given time.

The password feature isn't something that'll cheer you up very fast either. It's kind of complicated, using pictures instead of numbers/letters, not to mention long. Making a mistake is easy to do, which can be overly frustrating since you'll get an error message and won't get a second chance to correct it. Instead, you'll have to go back to the main screen, re-enter the password screen, and hope you don't make a mistake the second time around. Prepare to waste at least some time doing this.

Bionic Commando is a whole new game, not just an updated vesion of the NES classic, though it does have several features of the NES title and presents a few of the same challenges (especially at the end). The idea is completely unique and is something that I'd like to see in more games. Having to rely on your extending wire arm to get from place to place is a welcome change from the standard action/platform jumpfest.

BC is a ton of fun. The refreshing concept combines with solid gameplay to make for a great amount of enjoyable playing time. Unfortunately, once you beat it, you might not want to play it again for a while, since you've solved all the puzzles. After a while, losing some of the ability to use the arm and needing to master it again can allow for a reason to play again, but it's not the same as the first time through.

Bionic Commando is a great title, and one that I'd definitely like to see in today's generation of consoles where flash often takes place over innovation.

Overall: 9.3

 



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