Super Bomberman 3
  • Genre:
    • Puzzle
  • Platform:
    • SNES
  • Developer:
    • Hudson
  • Publisher:
    • Hudson
  • Released:
    • JP 04/28/1995
    • UK 10/15/1995
Score: 80%

This review was published on 05/07/2015.

Super Bomberman 3 is a video game published and developed by Hudson Soft for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. This is the third game in the Super Bomberman series that was exclusive to the Super Nintendo. It was released in Japan on April 28, 1995, and Europe on October 15, 1995. The game never came out in North America, despite the first two games in the series being released there. This game is sort of a reimagining of Bomberman '94 on the PC Engine and Mega Bomberman on the Sega Genesis, which were both the same game. Most of the level themes in this game were taken from those games, though Super Bomberman 3 still has enough unique content to be its own game. Super Bomberman 3 throws away many of the advancements made in the previous two games in the series, resulting in a rather disappointing experience. It's not all bad, though, because there are a couple of features this game brings to the table that weren't in the previous one, evening things out a bit.

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In Super Bomberman 2, a group of villains called the Five Dastardly Bombers were up to no good, and White Bomberman trashed them with his explosive might. After the dust settled from the bombastic battle, the bodies of the baddies were deposited in a pile of wreckage somewhere on Earth. The creator of the Dastardly Bombers, an alien mad scientist known as Professor Bagura, retrieved the abandoned remains with his UFO. Using esoteric techniques only a mad scientist would know, Bagura revives his lackeys and sends them off to do evil once again. Why do mad scientists always have to be evil, even alien ones? This time, the Dastardly Bombers are stealing computer chips from various planets, breaking them into pieces, and scattering them across the planet they were stolen from. These important chips provide essential programming instructions for the Mother Computers, and without them, the planets will lose all power. White Bomberman and Black Bomberman team up to restore power to the planets and defeat Bagura.

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As always, this game goes with the overhead perspective that is customary of the Bomberman series. Bomberman is able to strut in four directions and gently place bombs on the ground. Given enough time, those bombs will explode, and it won't be gentle. The flames of the explosions will go in the four cardinal directions, potentially harming any unfortunate individuals that were in the way, or wrecking weak structures. Location is the name of the game here, because the locations of your bombs, Bomberman, and enemies all make a significant difference. You see, despite having the power to use bombs, Bomberman isn't bomb proof; he dies if a bomb explodes on him. Enemies and hazards will also kill him in one hit if he has no power-ups, because Bomberman was a sensitive child while growing up. Conventional wisdom is to blast others without blasting yourself. A cute feature is that Bomberman will dance to the tune of the music if he stands still for a while. Anyway, the controls are functional and the mechanics are simple enough for anyone to grasp.

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Some blocks are soft and can be destroyed with bombs, and some of those blocks will contain power-ups. Power-ups do all manner of things, like allow Bomberman to pop out more bombs, make his explosions bigger, and let him walk faster. Those sorts of power-ups stack, so the more you get, the better their effects. There are a series of power-ups dedicated to expanding Bomberman's ability set, such as allowing him to kick or throw bombs. A few of the power-ups change what types of bombs Bomberman uses, like spiked bombs that can destroy multiple blocks in a row, slime bombs that will bounce around after being kicked, and remote bombs that can be detonated by pressing the B button. Louie, a kangaroo-like animal Bomberman can ride on, returns from Bomberman '94 and Mega Bomberman. He's also a power-up in this game, sprouting out from eggs you may or may not find inside destroyed blocks. On top of giving Bomberman an extra hit, Louie has abilities he can share with his master when the Y button is pressed. The ability depends on his color; Yellow Louie can kick soft blocks, Green Louie can run super fast, Pink Louie can jump, and there are others. All the power-ups are helpful and fun to use.

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Story mode in this game follows the general structure of Mega Bomberman and Bomberman '94. A piece of the fragmented chip will be held inside of a shield and it's your job to destroy all of the shield generators to open the shield and acquire the fragment. Enemies will attempt to get in your way, and you can kill them, but their demise isn't usually necessary to beat the stage. However, there are times when an enemy will be carrying a shield generator, and the only way to destroy it is to neutralize the foe. Many stages are broken up into multiple segments, and you must blast all the generators to open the door from one segment to the next. You can revisit previously completed stages and planets at any time to stock up on power-ups. A cool thing to note is that story mode supports co-op multiplayer with two players, with the second player taking on the role of Black Bomberman. Sadly, story mode is way less interesting than it was in the last game, because every segment of every stage only takes up a single screen now, completely eschewing horizontal and vertical screen scrolling. As such, stage design is far more basic, so it doesn't take long for things to get boring. There are boss fights at the end of each world, but those are pretty boring, too.

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This is the first Super Bomberman game to support up to five players in multiplayer, though it's not the first Bomberman game to do so. Naturally, a Super Multitap accessory is required to make use of that option. The multiplayer works the way it always does: each player controls a bomber in an arena that takes up a single screen and they need to have an explosive battle. Different arenas exist with different stage gimmicks and power-ups. Players can also select different characters, each one representing a real life country. My favorite is Mexican Bomber, who is literally a Mexican Bomberman that is constantly dancing to reggae. There are two main multiplayer modes; Single Match and Tag Match. Single Match is basically a free-for-all mode with the last player standing being named the victor, and Tag Match is the same thing, but with teams. In addition to those modes, there are three other options that can be toggled on or off called Sudden Death, Bad Bomber, and Soccer Bomber. If a time limit is set, indestructible blocks will start falling into the arena once time runs low, killing anyone they squish and reducing the arena's size. Without Sudden Death, the blocks will eventually stop coming, but with it, the blocks won't stop until there's nowhere left to go. The Bad Bomber option first appeared in this game and it allows dead players to continue playing by letting them shoot bombs from little floating carts that surround the arena. As for Soccer Bomber, that's a mini-game that gives players the chance to win a power-up after winning a Single Match, giving them an advantage in the next match. Multiplayer in Super Bomberman 3 isn't as fast paced as the last game, but the additional options do make for additional fun.

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Compared to the previous game in the series, Super Bomberman 3 is a big step down. First off, the graphics and music have taken a hit, with everything looking and sounding more flat. A lot of the music is remixed from older Bomberman games, as well. Secondly, the stage design in the story mode isn't as varied or interesting. On the bright side, Louie is in this game, the story mode supports co-op, and the multiplayer mode has some new options to spice things up. If it weren't for the extra options in the multiplayer mode, then this game would have nothing on the mostly superior Super Bomberman 2.

Word Count: 1,379

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