Super Bomberman
  • Genre:
    • Puzzle
  • Platform:
    • SNES
  • Developer:
    • Produce
  • Publisher:
    • Hudson
  • Released:
    • JP 04/28/1993
    • US 05/10/1993
    • UK 11/20/1993
Score: 80%

This review was published on 04/27/2015.

Super Bomberman is a video game published by Hudson Soft and developed by Produce for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was released in Japan on April 28, 1993, North America on May 10, 1993, and Europe on November 20, 1993. This is the first Bomberman game to be released on the SNES and also the console's first game to support up to four players. The SNES only has two controller ports, though, so an accessory known as the Super Multitap is needed in order to make use of the game's four player functionality. Luckily, Super Bomberman originally came bundled with the accessory in question. The Super Multitap connects into one of the controller ports and has four ports of its own. This means it's actually possible to connect five controllers in all, but sadly, Super Bomberman doesn't support more than four players. Regardless, this was still fairly groundbreaking for the time, though the SNES was far from the first console to have such a thing. Either way, Super Bomberman is one of the best local multiplayer games on the system, and is really only surpassed by its countless sequels.

Image

The titular Bomberman resides in a town so peaceful that it was dubbed Peace Town. To the extreme north of Bomberman's hometown is a metropolis of modernity called Diamond City. In this glamorous city lived a man with a fondness for puns named Carat Diamond. Together with his scientist buddy, Dr. Mook, Carat is hosting a massive robot tournament in which robots designed for combat will do combat with each other. Mister Carat is just a tad bit evil, however, so he wants to steal Bomberman to make use of his advanced combat capabilities in the tournament. Carat then creates a fake Bomberman and sends him to Peace Town in hopes of kidnapping the real thing. You could say he wants a piece of Peace Town. Black Bomberman becomes aware of Carat's dastardly plot and sets out to face the fake Bomberman, alone. Unfortunately, Black Bomberman is defeated and his castle even gets captured. Having been soundly trounced, Black Bomberman seeks refuge with White Bomberman and notifies him of the dire situation. The two differently colored Bombermen then join forces to take down the dreaded Carat Diamond. If only mankind could learn from the example set by White and Black Bomberman, working together despite the color of their suits.

Image

As is the standard for most Bomberman games, Super Bomberman plays in an overhead perspective. Bomberman can walk in four directions and place bombs directly beneath his feet like some kind of madman. Placed bombs will explode in a cross shaped pattern after a short while, giving new meaning to those Crossfire commercials from the 1990s. This unlimited destructive ability comes at a cost, however, because Bomberman can be killed by his own bomb blasts, especially since the explosion of a single bomb immediately sets off any other bombs it touches. That's where the strategy comes into play, as you need to set the bombs strategically so as to destroy things without destroying yourself. The game controls well, but there is a slight problem; the sound of Bomberman's footsteps. Many Bomberman games make footsteps audible, but this one is particularly annoying. It's a loud, incessant beeping noise that will forever haunt your dreams, causing you to wake up in the middle of the night in fear of incoming mad bombers. Multiplayer makes it worse, because each individual Bomberman has noisy steps, forming a cacophony of annoyance. Bomberman really needs to invest in some new shoes.

Image

You can't have a Bomberman game without power-ups. Power-ups resemble square icons with pictures depicting their effects and they're occasionally found inside of combustible blocks. Three of the main power-ups are bombs, flames, and skates. Bomb power-ups increase the amount of bombs Bomberman can drop, flame power-ups extend the length of Bomberman's bodacious blasts, and the skates make Bomberman walk faster. These three power-ups can be picked up multiple times to further enhance their effects, but they do have limits. Other radical power-ups include a heart that grants Bomberman an extra hit before he dies, and a red bomb that makes his bomb blasts penetrate through multiple destructible blocks at a time. There are also power-ups that give Bomberman added abilities, like one that allows him to kick his bombs towards potential adversaries, or punching gloves that let him punch bombs over objects. Some power-ups do cancel each other out, though, such as how the walk-through-bombs power-up cancels the kick ability. The best one is always the detonator, though, since it gives Bomberman the ability to detonate his bombs at will. Many other power-ups exist in Super Bomberman and they're all good at providing their juicy goodness.

Image

Single player follows the classic Bomberman structure: you're in a grid-like stage with a bunch of blocks and your objective is to kill all enemies and then find the exit, which is hidden inside one of the destructible blocks. Naturally, all of this must be done within a short time limit. Blasting the exit spawns more enemies, so you can't blow stuff up willy-nilly. Short passwords are used to retain progress, as usual. Unlike some of the other Bomberman games, all single player stages only take up a single screen, with no scrolling whatsoever. While that may seem like a negative, it makes discovering the exits much faster and therefore improves the pacing of the game. Still, the stages do get boring after a while, as there's not much in the way of variety. The game tries to shake things up a bit by having world five consist of a tournament battle against other Bombermen, but that's not much different than playing the multiplayer with bots. The single player's only saving grace is that it supports co-op multiplayer, allowing two people to progress through all the stages together. This is a unique feature not in too many of the other Bomberman games and it makes things substantially more enjoyable. Be warned that the two players can still kill each other, although that could potentially add to the fun...

Image

There are six worlds and each one has seven normal stages, plus a boss stage. Boss fights still take place in the same grid-like areas of the regular stages, but there are far fewer blocks to restrict your movement. The bosses will generally float around the arena lazily and shoot projectiles at you. To defeat them, you hit them with your bomb blasts. I mean, what else would you expect out of a Bomberman game? If you don't have the detonator, then boss fights will progress very slowly, since you'll have to patiently wait for your bombs to explode just as the boss walks near it. Thankfully, due to how large and slow the bosses are, this isn't too difficult to do. Of course, the detonator breaks most of the bosses, resulting in fights that are stupidly easy. The exception is the final boss, which also happens to suck. In the final fight, you're forced to wait until a certain required power-up appears before you're even able to harm the last boss, and the dodgy collision detection doesn't help. Having bosses is better than not having them, though. Because of how repetitive the regular stages tend to be, bosses provide a welcome change of pace, even if they aren't that interesting.

Image

Competitive multiplayer is an essential component to any good Bomberman game and Super Bomberman has one of the best around. Every player controls a Bomberman of a different color and the goal is to blow each other to smithereens within the allotted time. If too much time is taken, indestructible blocks will start appearing at the edges of the arena, killing anyone in their way and also making the arena smaller. The last surviving Bomberman wins. You can set the number of players, whether they'll be controlled by humans or computers, the computer AI level if there are any, and the number of matches. You can't change the amount of time matches take, however, which is unfortunate. There are twelve multiplayer exclusive stages with different starting positions and power-up availability. Some stages have special environmental attributes, like conveyer belts that move you around, springs that launch you into the air, pipe tunnels you can hide in, and more. The large variety of stages with different gimmicks prevent matches from becoming stale, as many of them alter the multiplayer dynamic quite significantly. In particular, there's a stage that has everyone moving at triple speed, resulting in some of the most frantic Bomberman matches ever. Super Bomberman's multiplayer is endless hours of fun.

Image

Super Bomberman is super good. The single player, while marginally better than some of the previous games, still suffers from repetitive stage design and boring bosses. Co-op does make single player more tolerable, but it doesn't fix its underlying problems. That's not what you should be playing the game for, though, because the multiplayer is where it's at. Put four friends in a room with a copy of Super Bomberman, an SNES, a Super Multitap and four controllers, and they will be guaranteed to remain there from dawn to dusk.

Word Count: 1,539

Tweet