Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman!
  • Genre:
    • Puzzle
  • Platform:
    • Game Boy
  • Developer:
    • Hudson
  • Publisher:
    • Nintendo
  • Released:
    • JP 08/10/1994
    • US November 1994
    • UK 06/29/1995
Score: 70%

This review was published on 05/16/2015.

Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman! is a video game published by Nintendo and developed by Hudson Soft for the original Game Boy. It was released in Japan on August 10, 1994, North America in November 1994, and Europe on June 29, 1995. As its title implies, this is a crossover game featuring Nintendo's greedy Mario counterpart, Wario, and Hudson's main mascot character, Bomberman. Despite the title's emphasis on Wario, this is more of a Bomberman game. The game should have been called Bomberman Blast: Featuring Wario! In fact, the game's original Japanese release didn't have Wario at all, and was instead called Bomberman GB. Wario was only added to the game's Western releases, and the two versions are largely identical outside of his inclusion. The sequel to this game, Bomberman GB 2, was released in North America as simply Bomberman GB, which confuses matters even further. It's like the Final Fantasy debacle, with Final Fantasy IV and VI being renamed II and III in the West. Anyway, this game is pretty mediocre. There are far more competent Bomberman games out there than Wario Blast.

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Contrary to popular belief, Wario Blast isn't about Wario's explosive diarrhea. Apparently, Wario one day discovered a secret gateway into the world of Bomberman, Bomberland. Worlds collide as the greedy Wario begins looking for treasure to loot in Bomberman's home world. His greed doesn't stop there, either, because Wario also wishes to conquer the land and enslave its bombastic inhabitants. Soon after entering a large underground labyrinth in search of treasure, Wario meets the resistance of Bomberland, collectively referred to as the Madbombers. These individuals are explosive experts that have the ability to lay unlimited bombs, and they're also a tad bit mad. Together with Bomberland's main hero, Bomberman, the Madbombers are attempting to defend their world from Wario's selfish desires. It is up to you, the player, to determine who wins in the dynamite duel; Bomberman or Wario. Depending on which character you pick, you'll get some slightly different scenes, though both characters go through the same adventure. If you play as Wario, you'll face the Madbombers, and if you're Bomberman, you fight a bunch of Wario clones. Besides that, there are no other differences between the two characters.

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The core game play consists of walking around and placing bombs in an overhead perspective. Bombs explode in a cross spread that kills or damages anything in its way, including the user. The goal of each stage is to kill all the Madbombers or Wario clones, both of whom can also place bombs. You need to win two out of three matches to progress to the next stage. The enemies have really bad AI, frequently killing themselves with their own explosives, so they're easy to beat. There are three normal stages per world, and the only difference between each stage is the size of the arena and number of opponents. The first stage has one opponent, the second has two, the third has three, and then the cycle repeats anew on the next world. Four digit passwords are used to retain progress. Each world looks different and introduces a new gimmick like teleport pads and air vents that stun you, but they don't differ in any other way. The fourth stage of every world is a boss fight; this is the only time things get marginally interesting. Aside from the few gimmicks and occasional boss fights, the single player is basically the multiplayer with bots. In other words, it's not worth playing.

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Power-up panels are randomly found in bombed blocks. There are really only three power-ups you can obtain in this fashion; extra bombs that let you place extra bombs, extra flames that make your bomb blasts bigger, and skulls that give negative effects. The skulls should be avoided or destroyed, but the other stuff is obviously good. Annoyingly, all these power-ups are lost after every single match, even in the single player mode. There are, however, a different set of power-ups that are permanent, referred to as techniques. After defeating most bosses, you get a unique power-up that gives you a new permanent ability. For example, the first boss gives you the bomb kick ability, which allows you to kick bombs, causing them to slide across the ground. Some of these abilities exist in other Bomberman games as temporary power-ups, but here, they're permanent. There are also a couple abilities not seen in most other Bomberman games, like the one where you ride around on a motorcycle to jump over blocks. Yes, that's right; both Wario and Bomberman can ride a motorcycle in this game. The techniques system was a pretty novel concept for the Bomberman series at this point in time, but this game doesn't make very good use of it. Even so, this is one of the only cool things the game has going for it.

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When played in the Super Game Boy, a device that connects into the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to display Game Boy games on television sets, the game gets several enhancements in the graphics and sound department. In addition to that, it gains multiplayer support for up to four players, though a Super Multitap is also required for anything above two players. All players are in a tiny arena that's the size of the Game Boy screen and they must engage in mortal combat using bombs. Whoever lives last is victorious. The only options you can set are the number of matches and whether techniques are enabled. If techniques are turned on, all players will have every technique in the game except the bike. Only one stage is available, and due to the tiny size of it, there's not much room for four players to move around. The multiplayer in this game is really lackluster when compared to any of its console counterparts, which is to be expected. Normally, the portability would make up for that, but because the multiplayer in Wario Blast can't be played outside of the Super Game Boy, it loses the portability factor and is therefore pointless. As it is, you're better off playing any of the console versions of Bomberman if you want better multiplayer.

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Wario Blast is a bit of a bust. The graphics are drab, the single player sucks, and even the multiplayer isn't so good. If it were possible to play the multiplayer without being tethered to the Super Nintendo, then this game would have more value. That's not the case, however, meaning there's really no reason to play this over any other Bomberman game. Wario's inclusion is also rather anticlimactic, as he doesn't change the game in any meaningful way. Sorry, Wario, but you just don't have what it takes to be a good Bomberman.

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