Bomberman '93
  • Genre:
    • Puzzle
  • Platform:
    • TurboGrafx-16
  • Developer:
    • Hudson
  • Publisher:
    • Hudson
  • Released:
    • JP 12/11/1992
    • US 1993
Score: 75%

This review was published on 04/29/2015.

Bomberman '93 is a video game published and developed by Hudson Soft for the TurboGrafx-16. It was released in Japan on December 11, 1992, and North America in 1993. This is the second Bomberman game released for the TurboGrafx-16, with the first one being loosely based on the original game from the late 1980s and titled simply Bomberman. Later on, Bomberman '93 received a sequel called Bomberman '94, though that game was released on the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive as Mega Bomberman outside of Japan. Bomberman '93 was given the Best TurboGrafx-16 Game of 1993 award by Electronic Gaming Monthly, which it rightfully deserved due its impeccable multiplayer. Not everyone is aware of this, but the TurboGrafx-16 only has a single controller port normally. To remedy that, you need an accessory called a Turbo Tap that allows for up to five controllers to be connected. As a result, Bomberman '93 supports a whopping five players. It's also possible for two players to challenge each other to a head-to-head duel by linking together two TurboExpress handheld units, but it's best to stick to the home console's multiplayer. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is one of the best local multiplayer games on the system, only challenged by the other Bomberman games.

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On one not-so-peaceful day, the mischievous Black Bomberman launched an attack on a helpless city. Black Bomberman has a black heart. During the attack, the devious dude stole the city's main power source, which consisted of seven power circuits. With the seven circuits in his clutches, Black Bomber hastily flees from the poor planet. Suddenly, the dashing White Bomberman decides to be a hero and chases after the bad Black Bomber. When things start going awry for Black Bomber, he throws away the power circuits and they get sucked into some mysterious blue flames. These flames each hide themselves on different planets, further adding to the frenzy. Black Bomber uses a gigantic bomb to blast White Bomber away, finally giving him the opportunity to escape. Now White Bomber embarks on a heroic quest to retrieve the power circuits and slam Black Bomber for being such a negative ninny. Seriously, what's that guy's problem?

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Sporting an overhead perspective, Bomberman '93 plays a lot like its other brethren. At their core, Bombermen are able to walk in four different directions, drop as many bombs as they want underfoot, and look dandy in their multicolored suits. Bombs will burst a few moments after being placed, exploding in a cross shape that will incinerate anything in its path. Heated explosions from one bomb will trigger the immediate bursting of any nearby bombs, and Bombermen can annihilate themselves with their own explosives. To make matters worse, Bombermen are fragile creatures, normally dying in only a single hit. Therefore, timing and strategy are the keys to the doors of victory, because careful thought must be placed into the placement of every single bomb. The controls are fine and everything works as it should for a Bomberman game. My only complaint, and this is merely nitpicking, is the sound Bomberman makes when dropping a bomb. It sounds like someone letting out a weak fart. Maybe that explains where all those bombs come from...

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Similar to how clothes make the man, power-ups make the Bomberman. Squares with pictures of the power-up they give are sometimes found inside of destroyable blocks. The two most basic power-ups are bomb and flame expansions, which increase the quantity of bombs Bomberman can use and the range of his fiery explosions, respectively. These are cumulative up to a point, so having more is usually better. Then there are a series of power-ups that give Bomberman certain passive abilities, like one that lets him pass through breakable blocks, another one that allows him to walk through his own bombs, skates that make him faster, and a heart that gives him an extra hit before dying. There are also a couple of power-ups that give Bomberman extra abilities, such as one that enables him to kick bombs across the ground, one that gives him the ability to immediately lay a line of bombs in a single direction, and remote controlled bombs that can be detonated at the player's will. However, some power-ups will have negative effects, like the clogs that slow Bomberman down. More like power-down, am I right? Please laugh.

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The single player mode of Bomberman '93 follows the same general formula of previous games in the series. Stages consist of a grid of indestructible and destructible blocks, and the goal is to kill all enemies within the time limit. Once that's accomplished, Bomberman has to find the exit hidden deep within one of the breakable blocks. Finding the exit before killing all enemies is no good, because they can't be entered until after the dreaded deed has been done. Bombing the exits is also bad, as that creates more enemies. Typically, there's one power-up in each stage, and the block with the power-up will glow once all enemies have been defeated, making the act of finding it easier. Blowing up the power-up also spawns more foes in addition to disintegrating it, though. Also, you can either use passwords or save files to record progress. There are seven worlds with eight stages each, and each world is a planet with a different theme, like a fire planet, desert planet, water planet, etc. Occasionally, the stages will have environmental gimmicks, like turnstile panels that only let you proceed in one direction, teleport panels that warp you to different locations, and other stuff. The stage layouts also vary slightly more than in previous Bomberman games. Unfortunately, the single player still suffers from too much repetition, even with all of these distractions.

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Before each world begins, it shows Bomberman a preview of the boss encountered there, giving him a brief description of its capabilities. While that's neat, the boss isn't encountered until the eighth stage of each world, so the preview is a little premature. By the time you reach the boss, the preview is a distant memory. It's kind of a spoiler, anyway. As for the bosses themselves, they're serviceable. The first one is lazily designed, as all it does is teleport around the room while shooting blue lines of flame at you. Some of the boss fights are unique, though, like there's one where you fight a bunch of racers that lay mines everywhere. Many of the bosses spawn smaller enemies; a strategy that can overwhelm with annoyance. Bosses don't normally take too many hits to be defeated, which is a good thing, because they can be quite hard without the remote bombs. Even with remote bombs, some of them are a tad dicey, especially the final boss. Upon winning, the game shows you a picture of Bomberman embarrassing the boss in some fashion. These are weird, but cute. In any case, the bosses are a good change of pace from the regular stages, though they aren't too great.

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Who cares about single player when you've got Bomberman's trademarked awesome multiplayer? The way it works is that each player controls a Bomberman of some color inside of a battle arena and they need to eradicate each other with bombs; whoever lives last wins. The multiplayer can be played with either humans or computers, though the computer AI in this game is particularly bad, as they have a tendency to kill themselves as soon as the match begins. There are multiple stages to choose from with different themes and environmental gimmicks to keep things varied. In addition to the power-ups, skulls will also appear, and they give the recipient negative effects if touched, like reversing their controls. Those effects can be passed onto another unfortunate soul if the afflicted touches someone else, much like a contagious disease. With five players, multiple battle arenas, countless power-ups, and the creepy skulls, the multiplayer is frantic enough for Frank Sinatra.

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Bomberman '93 has good music, good graphics, and the multiplayer kicks butt. Even though the single player is a tad better than some of the older Bomberman games, it still isn't too substantial. That would be a problem for any other game, but this is Bomberman, and the multiplayer is the only thing that counts. The single player may come in last, but the multiplayer is an absolute blast.

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