Super Bomberman 5
  • Genre:
    • Puzzle
  • Platform:
    • Super Famicom
  • Developer:
    • Hudson
  • Publisher:
    • Hudson
  • Released:
    • JP 02/28/1997
Score: 80%

This review was published on 05/14/2015.

Super Bomberman 5 is a video game published and developed by Hudson Soft for the Super Famicom. This is the last game in the Super Bomberman series and also the final Bomberman game released for the Super Famicom. It was released exclusively in Japan on February 28, 1997. Only the first three Super Bomberman games made it outside of Japan; the rest remained exclusive to the country of tofu. Similar to various Zelda games, there's a version of Super Bomberman 5 that comes in a gold cartridge. The gold cart version was sold exclusively through the CoroCoro Comic and it has a few additional stages available in the multiplayer mode. Super Bomberman 5 is sort of a compilation of the previous four games, as it features stages and music inspired by its predecessors. The game was specifically designed to commemorate the Super Bomberman series, serving as the last hurrah for the series. Like many other Bomberman games, the story mode is weak, but the multiplayer is truly stellar.

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Planet Bomber is an Earth-like planet inhabited by people obsessed with explosives known as Bombermen. It's fairly easy to spot, being that it resembles a Bomberman's face. Despite its bombastic name, Planet Bomber was a peaceful place. This peace was maintained by imprisoning criminals and then launching their prison cells into outer space. The cells then orbit around the planet, far away from its citizens. Talk about solitary confinement. Since Planet Bomber was running low on its terror quota, a malicious individual named Terrorin appeared from another dimension to terrorize the place. Terrorin went to the prison cells surrounding the planet and released the Fiendish Bombers, some of the planet's most terrifying convicts. The Fiendish Bombers come to an agreement with Terrorin, electing to help him conquer the universe in exchange for their liberty. It's now up to Planet Bomber's two most prominent heroes, White Bomberman and Black Bomberman, to capture the fiendish criminals and defeat the terror causing Terrorin.

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Bomberman is back and ready to have another overhead journey. Like in his previous adventures, Bomberman is restricted to walking in four directions and materializing bombs just below where he stands. It's almost like he has explosive diarrhea. The spherical bombs go up in flames after the prerequisite wait time and those flames form a cross with all its ends evenly sized. Certain blocks combust when exposed to a bomb's explosion and most enemies don't quite like it, either. Bomberman isn't a fan of his own explosions himself, being that they destroy his tiny body. That means Bomberman must get the heck out of Dodge after placing a bomb, or else he'll meet with an untimely fate. The useless move from Super Bomberman 4, the one in which he struck a constipated looking pose when the B button was pressed, has been removed from this game. It's a good thing, too, because the move froze Bomberman in place, which could potentially result in unwanted accidents. With that issue out of the way, there's now nothing holding the controls back.

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Blowing up breakable blocks will sometimes reveal power-ups. As usual, the two standard power-ups allow for extra bomb placement and bigger blasts. A majority of the power-ups are staples of the series and return from previous games, like the bomb kick, bomb throw, remote controlled bombs, the penetrative spike bombs, and so on. Two power-ups not seen in previous games are the heat seeking bombs that chase enemies around and landmines that disappear when placed. The enemy riding thing from Super Bomberman 4 was scrapped in favor of bringing back Louies; animal pals Bomberman can ride on that resemble kangaroos. Louies are found just like regular power-ups and have abilities Bomberman can make use of while he's riding them. In previous games, different colored Louies had different abilities, but it was confusing for newcomers to figure out what ability each color had. This game fixes that problem by giving each Louie a more unique look that hints at what they're capable of. For example, there's a Louie riding a pogo stick that can jump over stuff, a Louie with boxing gloves that can punch foes to stun them, etc. Just about all the power-ups in the Super Bomberman series are included in this game and that's a fantastic thing, both for multiplayer and single player.

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Story mode sticks with the original formula pioneered in the first Bomberman game, in that your goal is to destroy all foes. However, there has been a significant change to the overall structure of things. Instead of progressing from one stage to the next in a linear manner, you now choose where to go. When all enemies are dead, you'll be able to find several exit portals, each one going to a different stage. The portals come in different colors to signify whether you've been through them before, though it can still be confusing, since it may be necessary to go back to old stages in order to access new ones. You'll occasionally find yourself going in circles, because some stages won't lead anywhere new. Each world represents one of the previous Super Bomberman games, borrowing graphics, themes, enemies, and gimmicks from them. Because of the colossal size of the game, the passwords have been ditched in favor of a save system. The problem here is that the stage design is extremely monotonous. All stages only span a single screen and many of them feel recycled. Boss fights also suck, as they're basically the same as playing a multiplayer match against the computer; only the final boss is different. There's both a good and bad ending, depending on which stage you face the final boss, but you're not likely to care. The story mode does support co-op, but good luck trying to convince someone to play this mess with you.

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Due to the nonlinear nature of the story mode, it's possible to skip most of it, including many of the bosses. Considering the story mode sucks, that should be a good thing, but let's say you wanted to get 100%. Trying to beat all stages to get 100% is a nightmare, as it's extremely difficult to figure out where the exits to some of the stages are, plus you'll have to beat many of the same stages and bosses multiple times to get everywhere. To keep track of completed stages and revisit them later, there is a massive world map. The big issue is that you can't return to the world map screen without killing yourself or resetting the game, and doing so makes Bomberman lose all of his power-ups. If you want to make the most out of your power-ups, you'll have to use an external guide to plan out your path to uncover as many stages as possible. On top of that, if you actually have the patience to get 100%, the game pulls a Ghosts 'n Goblins and makes you do it all over again! It's like the game is trying to be the Bomberman equivalent of Super Mario World, but it ends up being a total train wreck instead.

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Battle Royale is the standard multiplayer mode that pits up to five players against each other in an arena, provided that a Super Multitap accessory is on hand. The option to have dead players return in vehicles that fly around the arena is back from previous games, but an additional option has been added to it. You can now set it so that players come back to life if they manage to kill anyone whilst in the vehicle, changing the dynamic of the matches considerably. Maniac Mode returns from Super Bomberman 4, exactly the same as it was before; you're able to customize what power-ups appear and how much life each player has, but unfortunately, this mode still doesn't let you pick stages or alter any options. Also, this mode sadly doesn't have access to all the power-ups in the game. Something completely unique to this game is the create-a-character mode. You're able to decide the character's sprite, color, name, and what power-ups they start with. The character creation does have severe limitations, like the character's sprite can only be set to a preexisting character, so you can't draw your own. Additionally, you can't simply load your character up with the best power-ups, because there's a points system that limits what you're able to have. Still, it's a cool feature. Multiplayer in Super Bomberman 5 takes almost every single option and feature from the previous games and puts them all in one convenient package. Further, it even adds some more stuff to the mix.

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Super Bomberman 5 takes many of the best parts of the previous games in the series and mostly leaves out the undesirable bits. The only thing wrong with this game is the story mode, which is monotonous, confusing, and far too long for its own good. Everything else is great, though, especially the multiplayer. It's a shame this particular game didn't get an international release, because it has many options and power-ups that aren't in other Bomberman games. The story mode may be an absolute mess, but the multiplayer saves the day with its countless options and fun, frantic game play.

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