Mega Bomberman
  • Genre:
    • Puzzle
  • Developers:
    • Hudson (PCE)
    • Westone (GEN)
  • Publishers:
    • Hudson (PCE)
    • Sega (GEN)
  • Released:
    PCE
    • JP 12/10/1993
    GEN
    • US UK October 1994
    • Brazil May 1995
Score: 80%

This review was published on 05/02/2015.

Mega Bomberman is a video game published by Sega and developed by Westone for the Sega Genesis. It was released in North America and Europe in October 1994, Brazil in May 1995, and South Korea on September 12, 1995. The "Mega" in its title is a reference to the name of the Genesis in Europe and Japan; the Sega Mega Drive. This game is the sequel to Bomberman '93 for the TurboGrafx-16 and was originally developed and published by Hudson Soft for the PC Engine in Japan on December 10, 1993, under the title of Bomberman '94. Basically, Mega Bomberman is a port of Bomberman '94. Hudson initially asked another developer named Factor 5 to make Mega Bomberman a unique game for the Genesis, but later changed their minds and had Westone do a port of Bomberman '94 instead. Even though the Genesis is supposed to have superior hardware to the PC Engine, Mega Bomberman has inferior graphics and frame rate to Bomberman '94. Additionally, Bomberman '94 could support up to five players, but Mega Bomberman can only go up to four. Some of the music was also changed between the two versions. Despite the downgrades, Mega Bomberman is still a good game, and the best multiplayer game on the Genesis and Mega Drive.

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Somewhere in the universe is a planet that goes by the name of Planet Bomber. Trust me; I know a thing or two about outer space. Things were peaceful on the thriving Planet Bomber for an indeterminate amount of time, but that all came to a screeching halt on one ill fated day. Some dude named Bagulaa showed up and started thrashing the place with his robotic army. As Sonic would say, that's no good. The chaos caused the previously calm planet to split into five separate pieces, kind of like a planetary pizza. In order to restore Planet Bomber back to its former self, someone has to repair all of the mystical Spirit Pictures. The Spirit Pictures are stone tablets, each representing a different spirit, and they have been broken into fragments that need to be reassembled to reassemble the planet itself. Such perilous times call for a hero, and that hero is none other than the White Bomberman, also known as the White Bomber, or simply Bomberman. Help Bomberman help his people.

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Bomberman is the name of the fellow you control and his actions are seen from an overhead perspective. As his name implies, he is a man and he likes to bomb things. The fellow can leisurely walk in four directions and put down bombs under his small feet. Whatever you do, don't pick up what he's putting down, because they'll explode after a tiny bit. When a bomb explodes, its blast will travel in a cross shaped pattern, which baffles scientists in our world, but is perfectly normal in Bomberman's world. The explosions of Bomberman's bombs can destroy certain blocks, harm enemies, and even kill Bomberman himself. Normally, Bomberman dies in a single hit, so he needs to be really careful to avoid his own bomb blasts. Timing and strategy are essential when playing Bomberman, hence why the game is usually labeled as a puzzler. Besides the inherent frustration of blowing yourself up with your own bombs, the game has tight controls and the mechanics are sound; two required ingredients for a delicious Bomberman cake.

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This game packs some powerful power-ups. All power-ups are secretly stashed away in random blocks that can be broken into with bombs. The basic power-ups alter Bomberman's core attributes, like allowing him to lay down more bombs, extending the distance of his bomb explosions, or giving him a speed boost. Fancier power-ups will give Bomberman additional abilities, such as the ability to kick bombs, the ability to instantly create a huge line of bombs, and the ability to detonate bombs when he feels like it. Sometimes, Bomberman will discover an egg after destroying a block, and out of it will hatch a kangaroo-like creature named Louie. This is the first Bomberman game to feature Louie, and Bomberman can ride him around, similar to Yoshi from Super Mario World. Like the heart power-up, Louie will allow Bomberman to take an extra hit, in addition to providing one other special ability that depends on Louie's color and is generally activated by pressing the B button. For example, green lets Louie run really fast, purple lets him jump over blocks, yellow lets him kick destructible blocks around, blue lets him kick bombs over blocks, and pink makes him dance. Figuring out the function of each color is slightly unintuitive, but Louie is still a cool addition.

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There are six worlds to explore, all with unique graphical themes, and each world has around three or four stages and one boss. The PC Engine version lets you play the stages within a world in any order you want, but the Genesis version forces you to follow a predetermined order. The goal of most stages is to obtain the Spirit Picture fragment by disabling the shield guarding it, which involves blowing up all of the nearby shield generator rods. There are different amounts of generator rods in each stage and they're typically easy to find. Some stages are divided into multiple parts separated by doors and generator rods must be destroyed to open the door that leads into the next part. After acquiring a fragment, all the remaining destructible blocks become coins and you can gather them within the time limit for extra points. It's also possible to revisit stages to farm power-ups. Unlike previous games, you no longer are obligated to kill all enemies to make progress. However, some enemies do carry generator rods with them, and these enemies must be exterminated to advance. Coupled with that change, stage design is more complex this time, featuring more varied layouts and gimmicks like mine carts. Unfortunately, the later stages in the Genesis version contain plenty of slowdown. Mega Bomberman's single player is an improvement over previous games, but it's still not something that will blow your mind.

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Mega multiplayer mayhem madness is present in Mega Bomberman. To play four or five players, you'll either need the Turbo Tap accessory for the PC Engine version, or the Team Player adaptor for the Genesis version. Each player controls a different Bomberman in an arena comprised of a single screen and they must terminate each other with bombs within the time limit. The conditions for victory depend on which multiplayer mode you selected beforehand. The regular one is a free-for-all that can only have one winner and that winner is the last one standing. In the other multiplayer mode, you're able to form two teams, and the surviving team wins. Different arenas can be selected and some of them have environmental objects to interact with, like trapdoors that take you to other locations. While the color of each player is set in stone, the players can select how their Bomberman will look. There are a couple of options, like a girl bomber, a tiny bomber, an old man, a fat fellow, a policeman, a miner, and some others. The customization options are amusing and they help you identify your character during matches. Aside from the lag of the Genesis version, the multiplayer is excellent.

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With worse graphics, worse music, tons of slowdown, and one less player in multiplayer, Mega Bomberman is vastly inferior to Bomberman '94. This is the only actual Bomberman game on the Genesis, however, so that makes it the best one on the console by default. Ideally, you should play the PC Engine version if you want to experience this game at its finest, but the Genesis version isn't half bad. Mega Bomberman may be a step down from Bomberman '94, but it's still a step up for the Sega Genesis.

Word Count: 1,323

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