Bomberman World
  • Genre:
    • Puzzle
  • Platform:
    • PlayStation
  • Developer:
    • Hudson
  • Publishers:
    • JP Hudson
    • UK Sony
    • US Atlus
  • Released:
    • JP 01/29/1998
    • UK August 1998
    • US 09/30/1998
Score: 70%

This review was published on 04/19/2016.

Bomberman World is a video game developed by Hudson Soft for the Sony PlayStation. This is the first Bomberman game ever released for the PlayStation. It was originally released in Japan on January 29, 1998, Europe in August 1998, and North America on September 30, 1998. The game was published by Hudson Soft in Japan, Sony in Europe, and Atlus in North America. There was a 1992 arcade game released in Japan named Bomber Man World, which was called New Atomic Punk: Global Quest in North America and DynaBlaster: Global Quest in Europe, but that has absolutely nothing to do with this. Anyhow, the PS1 Bomberman World is fairly classic Bomberman, playing a lot like many of the older titles from the 8-bit and 16-bit eras. However, it suffers from a couple of odd design choices that make it awkward and slightly annoying. That doesn't make it terrible, but it does prevent the game from being ideal.

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A long time ago, there were four evil entities known as the Dark Force Bombers who tried to plunge the world of Bomberman into eternal darkness. However, the ancient ancestors of the heroic Bombermen rose up to defeat the Dark Force Bombers, imprisoning them inside Blue Crystals. Many years later, Burglar, Bomberman's nemesis, returns from whence he came and frees the Dark Force Bombers by shattering the Blue Crystals. After giving them new powers, Burglar sends the Dark Force Bombers to conquer different planets across the galaxy. Bomberman notices this from aboard his spaceship and elects to chase after the sordid sorts. As is usually the case in the Bomberman universe, it's now up to Bomberman to stop the Dark Force Bombers, and by extension, Burglar. The story of this game is referenced by a prequel called Bomberman Wars, which was a Japanese exclusive title that was released for the Sega Saturn and PlayStation in 1998. In any event, many bombs explode in this game, and that's what truly counts.

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Turning the game on will treat you to a CG intro sequence that looks pretty low budget, even by the standards of back then. There are some other CG scenes and they're all equally unimpressive. Anyway, the actual game play is entirely in 2-D, sporting pre-rendered graphics similar to the Donkey Kong Country games on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, except these look artistically worse. Unlike many of the other 2-D Bomberman games, however, this one has an isometric perspective instead of an overhead one. This doesn't change anything from a game play standpoint, but it does make things more awkward, as it's harder to judge the relative position of objects. Certain things may be obscured by foreground objects, too. Bomberman also has audible voice clips, making a short statement whenever he picks up a power-up or when you select an option on a menu screen. This gets rather annoying after a while, and unfortunately, there's no way to turn it off. In other words, all of this game's technological advancements actually make it worse.

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You control a Bomberman in a grid-like environment and can lay bombs onto the ground at will. Those bombs then will, after a tiny bit, explode into cross shaped patterns that'll incinerate any combustibles in their path, like destructible blocks or enemies. Normally, you die in one hit, even by your own bombs. If a destructible block gets destroyed by a bomb's explosion, it may or may not reveal a power-up panel. Once collected, these power-up panels could potentially extend the range of your bomb blasts, increase the quantity of bombs you can put down at any one time, enhance your speed, give you the ability to kick and throw bombs, and more. This is all pretty consistent with traditional Bomberman, so you should be familiar with it if you've played the older games. Even if you haven't played a Bomberman game before, it's simple enough to understand in a short amount of time.

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Story mode chronicles Bomberman's quest to defeat the Dark Force Bombers. There are four worlds with four areas each, and each world takes place on a planet themed after a different element. The objective of each area is to collect all the crystals, the amount of which is listed at the top of the screen, and then head for the exit. Unlike many of the older classic Bomberman games, killing enemies isn't required and the exit isn't hidden beneath destructible blocks. This very fact allows you to simply dash through the areas in no time at all. However, the crystals are often placed deep into an area and surrounded by blocks and enemies, so you'll usually still have to blow up lots of stuff. Also, sometimes enemies will be carrying a crystal and you'll have to beat them to take it. You've also got access to an area select this time around, which allows you to replay old areas for whatever reason. The story mode's okay, but it's kind of boring.

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Awaiting Bomberman at the fourth area of each world is a boss. Similar to Super Bomberman 2 on the SNES, each boss battle is broken up into two parts. The first part is against one of the Dark Force Bombers, who'll walk around the area and lay bombs, much like Bomberman would, except they usually have a special ability or two. Upon defeat, the Dark Force Bomber will then retreat into a massive robot or monster, which is when the second phase of the battle begins. For these parts, Bomberman will be able to ride either a unique animal or robotic battle armor that'll give him special abilities, like being able to shoot multiple bombs out at once. He gets a different armor or animal for every big boss, but sadly, he loses it as soon as the fight is over. This is a cool idea that makes the boss battles more fun, but it's a little too underutilized.

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Challenge Game is another single player mode that's at your disposal. In this mode, your goal is to kill as many enemies as possible before time runs out. If you die, the mode will end prematurely. You can change the time limit from two to five minutes, and you also get to select what power-ups you start with. The stage you play on is exclusive to this mode, and if you make it to the end alive, you'll fight a boss. Successfully taking down the boss will get you mad points, though that'll also end the mode. Whether you succeeded or not, you'll be ranked depending on how many points you got, which serves no real purpose other than to inflate your ego. Considering there's only one stage available in this mode, there's not much of a reason to play it more than once.

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Using a PlayStation Multitap, you can play the multiplayer mode with up to five players. The concept is simple: a variable amount of Bombermen attempt to kill each other in tiny arenas consisting of a single screen and the last one standing is the supreme victor. It's possible to do battle royal or team matches, in addition to a bunch of other options you can mess around with. There is an assortment of different arenas to play on, each having its own unique elements, like seesaws. You can also play as different Bombermen that dress up as medieval themed warriors, such as knights, ninjas, monks, and bishops. This is a fairly decent multiplayer, or it would be if it weren't for the blasted isometric perspective. On some arenas, it's really hard to judge exactly where the players and bombs are, which will undoubtedly result in many frustrating deaths.

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This is a pretty typical classic Bomberman game, what with a boring story mode and a decent multiplayer. The only notable thing about the story mode is the phase of the boss fights where Bomberman rides robotic armors and furry critters, but that's not notable enough to save it. Basically, the game is carried by its multiplayer. The problem is that the whole game is hampered by the isometric perspective and the constant barrage of annoying voice clips. It's best to play a Bomberman game that doesn't have either of those things. If you want a classic Bomberman game with good multiplayer on the PS1, try Bomberman Party Edition.

Word Count: 1,396

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