Bomberman GB
  • Genre:
    • Puzzle
  • Platform:
    • Game Boy
  • Developer:
    • Hudson
  • Publishers:
    • JP Hudson
    • US UK Nintendo
  • Released:
    • JP 08/10/1995
    • US April 1998
    • UK 1998
Score: 75%

This review was published on 05/17/2015.

Bomberman GB is a video game developed by Hudson Soft for the original Game Boy. It was released in Japan on August 10, 1995, North America in April 1998, and Europe sometime in 1998. The game was published by Hudson Soft in Japan and Nintendo in North America and Europe. This is actually the sequel to Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman! There's some confusion involving the title of Bomberman GB, however. In Japan, this game is known as Bomberman GB 2. The reason for that is because Wario Blast was originally called Bomberman GB in Japan and didn't feature Wario at all. When it came time to release Bomberman GB 2 in the West, they decided to drop the two in the title to avoid confusion. Of course, their attempt to avoid confusion only made things more confusing. For the duration of this review, I will be exclusively referring to the game by its Western title of Bomberman GB. Why? Well, because I feel like it. In any case, Bomberman GB is a lot better than Wario Blast, though it's still no match for most of the Bomberman games released to consoles at the time.

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A Bomberman dressed up as Indiana Jones, known in some places as Indy Bomber, is searching for an ancient artifact. The artifact is a legendary treasure called the Ring of Wishes, which may or may not grant wishes. My wishes are to have someone else do the dishes. Indy Bomber travels to a faraway jungle and discovers ancient ruins deep within its dark depths. Inside the ruins, he finds an ancient tablet with cryptic writings. Could this hold information about the elusive Ring of Wishes? Just as he's about to read the dusty tablet, Indy Bomber falls down through a floor trap! Now Indy Bomber has more pressing matters to attend to: his survival. The daring adventurer must escape the dank dungeon while still looking for the Ring of Wishes. Even when in mortal peril, Indy Bomber won't give up on his search for priceless possessions. If that's not determination, then I don't know what is.

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In this and many other Bomberman games, you move around in an overhead perspective and place bombs that shoot out flames in the four cardinal directions when they explode. The explosions can destroy soft blocks, kill or injure monsters, and kill Indy Bomber himself. For the most part, this game follows the same basic formula of the earlier Bomberman games, meaning the objective is to incinerate all baddies and enter the exit door within the time limit. However, there is a slight twist; prior to starting each world, you can choose between Mode A and Mode B. The different modes will give slightly different objectives depending on the world. For example, Mode A in the first world has you killing enemies under a tight time limit, whereas Mode B makes you kill the enemies in a specific order with a more relaxed time limit. In world two, you can either deal with invisible landmine-like hazards, or contend with enemies that regenerate until their lairs have been destroyed. The stage layouts also change to accommodate the different objectives. It doesn't matter which mode you pick, so you just go with whatever's easier for you. Basically, pick your poison. While this does mix things up a bit, the single player is still a relatively dull affair.

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Similar to the previous game, Wario Blast, there are two types of power-ups in Bomberman GB; temporary and permanent ones. Temporary power-ups include things like extra bombs that let you place multiple bombs simultaneously and extra flames that add more range to your explosions. You'll sometimes find these sorts of power-ups inside of soft blocks. The quantity of these power-ups that are currently in your possession is conveniently listed at the bottom of the screen and you lose them in between each world. On the other hand, the permanent power-ups are obtained after defeating many of the game's bosses, and these each give Indy Bomber a new ability. The first one lets him use his whip to strike bombs away, the second lets him dash, the third allows him to tackle enemies, and so on. Eventually, Indy gets the ability to ride a motorbike, which allows him to jump over hard blocks and tank an extra hit before dying. These permanent power-ups are pretty cool, as they give an incentive to progress further and further into the game.

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Multiplayer has up to four players in an arena using their explosives to blast one another and the last one standing is the winner. The multiplayer is much better than it was in Wario Blast, as you now have multiple arenas to choose from. Each arena has different gimmicks taken from the single player mode, and players will be equipped with different abilities depending on the chosen stage. To make use of the four player support, you need three Game Link Cables, a Game Boy Four Player Adapter, four Game Boys, and four people. You could also use a Super Game Boy and Super Multitap to play the game with four players on a Super Nintendo Entertainment System, eschewing all of the cables and handhelds, but that would eliminate the portability factor. Either way, you need quite a lot of accessories to enjoy this game's multiplayer with four players. Even though the multiplayer in this game is drastically improved over Wario Blast's, it's not really worth gathering all of those accessories together for. You're better off playing one of the console variants of Bomberman for solid multiplayer.

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Bomberman GB is a nice step up from Wario Blast. The graphics and music are better and the multiplayer doesn't suck this time. The question becomes, however, whether the multiplayer is good enough to be worth the effort of getting all the additional equipment. The answer is no; there are far easier, far better ways to experience Bomberman's multiplayer, like going for any of the Bomberman games available on the Super Nintendo. If by some stroke of luck you just happen to have everything that's needed to play Bomberman GB with four players, then you're in for a treat. That, however, is highly unlikely.

Word Count: 1,044

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