Super Bomberman 2
  • Genre:
    • Puzzle
  • Platform:
    • SNES
  • Developer:
    • Produce
  • Publisher:
    • Hudson
  • Released:
    • JP 04/28/1994
    • US 12/12/1994
    • UK 02/23/1995
Score: 85%

This review was published on 05/05/2015.

Super Bomberman 2 is a video game published by Hudson Soft and developed by Produce for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It's the second game in the Super Bomberman series and was released in Japan on April 28, 1994, North America on December 12, 1994, and Europe on February 23, 1995. Super Bomberman, the game previous to this one, originally came packaged with an accessory called the Super Multitap. The Super Multitap allows for up to five controllers to be connected to the Super Nintendo, though Super Bomberman 2 only supports up to four players. By this point in time, there were already a couple of Bomberman games on the TurboGrafx-16 that could do five players, but Super Bomberman 2 has them beat in graphics, sound, and game play. In fact, this is one of the best Bomberman games ever made.

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Megalomaniacal aliens dead set on conquering the universe have sent a team of dastardly cyborgs to challenge Bomberman, bombastic hero of the free world. These cyborgs are known across the galaxies as the Five Bad Bombers, because they're bad, they love bombs, and there are five of them. It's a very descriptive title. The valiant Bomberman has an explosive battle with the cyborgs, but is ultimately beaten. After his untimely defeat, Bomberman is captured by the cyborgs and thrown into a prison cell aboard their spaceship. With the world's only hero out of the way, the aliens are now able to fulfill their nefarious schemes with not much in the way of opposition. There is still hope, however, as Bomberman manages to escape his prison cell and begins battling his way through the aliens' stronghold to destroy them from within. Here's some advice for any aspiring villains; don't imprison the hero inside your base, especially when that hero is able to create an endless supply of explosives out of nothing.

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As was the case for the previous game, Super Bomberman 2 goes with the traditional overhead perspective for its game play. Bomberman can walk around on his stubby little legs and drop bombs beneath his feet. In a second or two, bombs dropped by Bomberman will burst in an explosive blast that stretches out in four directions, much like a fiery crosshair. Without power-ups, the frail fellow dies in one hit from basically anything, including his own bomb explosions. It's because of this that you need to pay attention to where you're dropping bombs, or otherwise it'll end in your demise. An issue some of the older games had is that Bomberman's innate movement speed would be too slow. Thankfully, that's been remedied here, as Bomberman's initial walking speed is much faster than in previous games. Also, his footsteps are now silent, saving you the pain of having to hear the annoying sound of his every step. Both of these things are drastic improvements, especially the speed thing. Being able to move around a lot faster allows you to pull off more complex maneuvers and generally makes the game more enjoyable to play.

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In the fight against the cyborgs, Bomberman will need to augment his abilities with power-ups. Colorful panels with pictures showing the power-up they represent are sometimes discovered inside of breakable blocks, both in single player and in multiplayer. The effects of some power-ups stack, like the bomb increases the amount of bombs Bomberman can use, the flame lengthens his explosions, and the skates raise his movement speed. A convenient feature of this game is that you can see how many bomb and flame power-ups you currently have on the status menu at the top of the screen, though this is only for the single player mode. The other power-ups have more active effects. For example, the kick power-up allows Bomberman to kick his bombs around like a ball, and the glove lets him pick up and throw bombs over stuff. Kicked bombs will continue traveling along the ground until they hit something solid, and thrown bombs will bounce on top of objects until they touch the ground. There are also a set of power-ups that modify the bombs themselves, like spike bombs have blasts that pierce through destructible blocks, jelly bombs will bounce off walls when kicked, and the remote controlled bombs can be detonated manually. The massive quantity of power-ups results in a massive quantity of fun.

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Five worlds with eight stages each await you in this Bomberman adventure. The goal of each stage is to beat all the enemies, bomb all the switches, and then enter the door. Unlike many of the previous games, you no longer need to search for the exit inside of destructible blocks. Now, the exit door isn't randomly placed and is always easy to find. That definitely improves the game's pacing, since you won't be wasting time looking for the exit anymore. The graphics and music are quite good, both of which certainly help make the single player mode more presentable. Each world has a different visual and audio theme that makes it feel distinct. Further adding to that distinct feel are the gadgets and game play mechanics introduced on a world-by-world basis, like the magnets that attract bombs in world one, the bouncy trampolines that let you jump around in world three, or the enemies that get stronger or weaker depending on whether you turn the lights on or off in world five. Design wise, the stage layouts are all unique now, incorporating both smooth horizontal and vertical screen scrolling. Single player has never been Bomberman's strong point, but Super Bomberman 2 changes that trend by actually having a decent story mode.

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Bossy bosses will boss you around in this game. On the seventh stage of every world is a mini-boss fight against one of the Bad Bombers. This is similar to facing the computer one-on-one in the multiplayer mode, but the Bad Bombers do exhibit different AI and abilities than what's encountered in the multiplayer mode. Each Bad Bomber is themed after a different ability, kind of like the Robot Masters from the Mega Man series. For instance, Magnet Bomber resembles Magnet Man from Mega Man 3 and he has the power to magnetically move his bombs around the battlefield. Upon defeating a Bad Bomber, you will then move on to the eighth and final stage of the current world, where you fight the same Bad Bomber, but this time they're piloting a giant machine of some kind. These are the true boss fights of the world and are, therefore, substantially more difficult. The hulking machines will slowly move around the arena, using devastating attacks and absorbing a ton of punishment before breaking down. Any bombs they pass over will vanish without harming them, so only the bomb blasts damage them. They change color as they're damaged, eventually steaming up when near total destruction, which is a nice touch. The bosses are pretty fun, with the exception of the final one. On top of being ridiculously hard, the final boss is also unfair, because you need a power-up from a previous stage to beat it. If you don't have the required power-up, then there's no way to win. That's total baloney.

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One of the best multiplayer experiences in the world can be had in Super Bomberman 2. Players are deposited into a single screen arena of your choosing, each one with its own gimmicks, and everyone must duke it out with bombs. Matches can be played free-for-all or with teams and victory goes to either the last bomber standing or the last surviving team. If any of the players die during the match, they will drop whatever power-ups they had on them, which results in the remaining players rushing to gather the spoils. Players will also drop some power-ups if someone throws a bomb onto their heads, although that doesn't always result in death. Additionally, if the match has a set time limit, blocks will start materializing into the arena once time is running low, killing anything they intersect and shrinking the arena's size. All these things result in some decidedly frantic battles. Prior to playing, you have a ton of options you can tinker with, like changing the number of matches, number of players, which players are computers or humans, the computer's difficulty level, and the time limit. The multitude of options ensures that matches will never get old. There's also something called G-Bomber. When enabled, this feature will let the winner play a roulette mini-game between match sets to earn power-ups that will give them an advantage in the next match, and also, their Bomberman's color will change to gold. Speaking of gold, that's what this game's multiplayer is.

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Super Bomberman 2 is too super for you. The graphics, music, and sound effects are all impressive, the controls are precisely precise, and the mechanics are so good, they could fix any car. Instead of being a bore fest like other Bomberman games of the time, the single player in this one is actually fun. Even though the single player is good, it still has nothing on the fantastic multiplayer. With all the options, stages, gimmicks, and Golden Bomberman, the multiplayer in this game is unparalleled. When in the presence of company, it's not uncommon to play Super Bomberman 2 from sunup to sundown. Super Bomberman 2 is a complete experience that will please the introvert and extrovert, being that it's good alone or with friends, but it's especially good with friends.

Word Count: 1,574

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