Bomberman Party Edition
  • Genre:
    • Puzzle
  • Platform:
    • PlayStation
  • Developer:
    • Metro
  • Publishers:
    • JP Hudson
    • UK Virgin
    • US Vatical
  • Released:
    • JP 12/10/1998
    • UK July 1999
    • US 09/19/2000
Score: 75%

This review was published on 04/13/2016.

Bomberman Party Edition, known simply as Bomberman in Japan and Europe, is a video game developed by Metro for the Sony PlayStation. It was originally released in Japan on December 10, 1998, Europe in July 1999, and North America on September 19, 2000. There was a reissue of the game that came out in Europe on October 27, 2000, and Japan on July 5, 2001. The game was published by Hudson in Japan, Virgin Interactive in Europe, and Vatical Entertainment in North America. The reason why this game is simply called Bomberman in Japan and Europe is because it's a remake of the original Bomberman that was released on various 8-bit platforms in the 1980s. It's also got a marvelous multiplayer, which the original Bomberman lacked, but there's not much else here besides that. That's not to say that this is a bad game; it's just lacking in content.

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Upon booting things up, you'll get to see a nice CG intro that's indicative of the rest of the game. Don't worry; you can skip it by pressing start. Being that this is a remake, the graphics, music, and sound effects have been bumped up several notches from the original release. The graphics are still mostly 2-D, but they're technologically far superior to the 8-bit visuals of the original on the account of the PS1's 32-bit capabilities. However, the art style looks goofy, as the sprites for the Bombermen have ridiculously oversized heads. The visuals also have a pre-rendered look to them akin to the Donkey Kong Country trilogy, which seems a little unfitting for the cartoony Bomberman. Strange art style aside, everything does look fine, with decent colors and okay animations. The flashy special effects on explosions and stuff is particularly neat looking. Remakes should improve visuals and Bomberman Party Edition does just that.

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If you've played Bomberman before, then you know the drill: you control a small dude in a grid-like environment viewed from an overhead perspective, and you lay bombs down on the ground that explode in cross shaped patterns. Your bombastic explosions can incinerate enemies and destroy soft blocks, which could potentially reveal power-up icons that you can then collect to enhance your inner strength. Power-ups may extend the range of your explosives, increase the amount of bombs that can be out at one time, up your speed, grant the ability to detonate bombs at will, and so on. You do have to watch out for your own bomb blasts, though, lest you wish to commit suicide. This is all pretty standard fare if you've played a classic Bomberman game before. If you haven't, then it's really easy to learn due to the sheer simplicity of it all. That simplicity is the beauty of Bomberman.

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The main single player mode consists of you beating a bunch of enemies to open the exit to the next stage, which is hidden in a random soft block. Do this fifty times and you beat the game. You can either play the game in modern or retro mode. As its name implies, retro mode is a nearly exact recreation of the 8-bit original, complete with the proper sound effects. Modern mode, however, changes up the graphics, remixes the music, and adds some other stuff. Another nice addition to modern mode is how a different cutscene will play after every tenth stage, plus the environment will have a different motif in the following ten stages. You can also save your game to a memory card or use passwords, the former of which wasn't possible in the original. All of these improvements certainly make the single player more bearable than it originally was, but it's still on the repetitive side.

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If you have a PlayStation Multitap, you can play the multiplayer game with up to five players! Players either form teams or do free-for-all battles, and the last ones standing win. The multiplayer mode has far more power-ups available than the single player, like the bomb throwing ability, animals you can ride on, landmines, rubber bombs, and more. Depending on which difficulty mode you pick prior to starting a multiplayer match, you'll get a different amount of options, stages, and characters to choose from. It's an odd way of doing things, but the sheer amount of stuff that's on display here is staggering. Almost all the options and features from the previous Bomberman multiplayer modes are here, like the ever popular one that allows players to continue fighting even after they've died. You're also able to set handicaps and customize what power-ups appear. There are an absolute ton of stages, all with their own gimmicks, like seesaws and pipes. Some of the characters have unique abilities, too. Like most classic Bomberman titles, multiplayer is the main reason to play this game.

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There are some unique features to spice up the multiplayer in this game, such as being able to combine bombs. If two bombs collide together from being kicked, they'll combine to form a far more potent explosive known as a skull bomb. When these skull bombs blow up, they'll cause a massive explosion that travels in a circular radius, even penetrating right through soft blocks. If you somehow manage to combine two skull bombs together, you'll get a red skull bomb, which will have an even greater explosion radius. This phenomenon could potentially result in some serious chaos, especially if it happens unexpectedly. While this feature can make matches more interesting, the very specific circumstances required to create it make this a rather rare occurrence. It's pretty exciting when it does happen, though.

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This is kind of a barebones package, especially for a PS1 game. You'll get way more bang for your buck by going for most of the other Bomberman games, like Saturn Bomberman for the Sega Saturn. Even many of the 16-bit Bomberman games from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, and TurboGrafx-16 beat this one in raw value. The only reason to play this game is for the multiplayer, which admittedly, is quite good due to the wealth of options it has. In fact, it may very well be one of the best Bomberman multiplayer modes ever, up there with Super Bomberman 5 and Saturn Bomberman. Bomberman Party Edition could be worth it for the multiplayer mode alone, but that's essentially all it has.

Word Count: 1,064

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