Bomberman GB 3
  • Genre:
    • Puzzle
  • Platform:
    • Game Boy
  • Developer:
    • Hudson
  • Publisher:
    • Hudson
  • Released:
    • JP 12/20/1996
Score: 75%

This review was published on 05/19/2015.

Bomberman GB 3 is a video game published and developed by Hudson Soft for the original Game Boy. It was released exclusively in Japan on December 20, 1996. This is the last game in the Bomberman GB trilogy. The previous two games did make it out of Japan, but they did so under different names, some of which will undoubtedly cause confusion. The first game was released in Japan as Bomberman GB, but Nintendo collaborated with Hudson to include one of their characters, Wario, into the game's Western release, and thus its name was changed to Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman! Because of that, Bomberman GB 2 was renamed Bomberman GB outside of Japan to avoid confusion, but that only made things more confusing. Thankfully, Bomberman GB 3 isn't known under any other titles, so that should make the rest of this review easier to follow. Bomberman GB 3 improves upon the single player mode of the first two games, but it totally omits the multiplayer. Considering Bomberman's all about multiplayer, that's a pretty bad move.

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Outer space is a vast place. There sure is a lot of space up there. Somewhere in the vastness of space is an explosive area known as the Bomber Nebula. In this bombastic nebula is a planet named Owen. I know a fellow named Owen. He's a good guy, but he owes me some money. Anyway, the unassuming planet was hit with a nasty earthquake. Like, the whole planet literally shook with the fear of a thousand ferrets. This was a sign of things to come, as something evil was awoken during the quake. You could say the quake made someone very awake. The awakened evil was none other than the aptly named Evil Bomber, who had been imprisoned within the planet's underground for ages. After waking from his slumber, Evil Bomber goes on a rampage and conquers the planet. He then steals all of the Bomber Capsules, which act as a source of power for the hero, Bomberman. Left nearly powerless by the assault, Bomberman must now fight against all odds to end Evil Bomber's evil reign.

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Carrying on the traditional game play from before, Bomberman GB 3 features Bomberman walking around in an overhead perspective and dropping bombs that explode in a horizontal and vertical pattern. Generally, the goal is to fell every foe and then enter the exit tile, though that's not always the case. Each stage has its own objective and the game will tell you what it is prior to entering. Objectives include things like bombing switches, pushing rocks into holes, or collecting certain items. Some objectives are pretty unique, like the one wherein you're required to lure a monster into eating mushrooms. Unique isn't always a good thing, though, because some of these objectives are annoying. The aforementioned monster mushroom eating one is a good example, since it's basically an escort mission where the thing you're escorting can kill you. Also, some of the stages are arbitrarily auto-scrolling, which is frustrating because you'll have to make multiple passes around the stage if you miss any switches and the like. Progression is slightly nonlinear, because you can tackle the first three worlds in any order, and the same can be done with the next three worlds once the first set has been beaten. Near the end of a world, you'll be able to collect optional crystals; having more crystals translates into additional aid against the world's boss in the form of extra power-ups and some free damage. The nonlinearity and varied objectives make the single player more interesting than in previous games. It's actually kind of fun.

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Soft blocks can be destroyed with bombs and may contain temporary power-ups that boost explosion range and the amount of simultaneous bombs Bomberman can use. In the first two games, there was a system of permanent power-ups in addition to the temporary stuff. That theme continues on here, but there have been a couple of interesting changes to the system. Many of the game's bosses will drop the aforementioned Bomber Capsules upon being defeated, and these capsules can be redeemed at a shop to purchase techniques for Bomberman. A few of the techniques are permanent upgrades to Bomberman's core skill set, enabling him to do extra things like kick bombs, dash, and set an entire line of bombs at once. There's also a whole set of motorbikes Bomberman can purchase, each with different features, like allowing him to withstand additional hits, jump over obstacles, and move faster. Motorbikes existed in the previous two games, but this one has more of them. Once purchased, motorbikes are kept permanently, and Bomberman can switch between them before each stage. There are just enough Bomber Capsules to purchase everything from the shop, too, so you don't have to worry about missing out on anything. The technique shop is an awesome addition to the game, being that it gives you something to look forward to in between worlds.

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Challenge Mode is a feature unique to this game. This is basically a score attack mode, dedicated to seeing how high you can get your scores in a set of specific challenges. There are two stages to choose from, each one ending in the same boss fight, and your objective is to complete them as quickly as possible while getting as many points as you can. Your score is based on how quickly the stage was completed, how many enemies were killed, how many objects were destroyed, how many goodies were collected, etc. You will receive a ranking depending on your performance; higher scores get better ranks. This mode is rather pointless, honestly. All the content here is merely remixed from the main story mode, including the boss, and the rankings serve no purpose. Why this mode even exists is totally beyond me. It's worth playing through the two stages at least once each, but not more than that. Unless you're obsessed with getting high scores, this mode won't hold much appeal.

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Bomberman GB 3 has its priorities mixed up. While the single player has been improved with better graphics, more varied objectives, and the neat technique shopping system, the extremely important multiplayer mode is nowhere to be found. As cool as all the improvements and motorbikes are, they don't make up for the lack of multiplayer. The story mode in this game may be the best in the Bomberman GB trilogy, but that just isn't good enough to carry a whole Bomberman game.

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