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|Rating:||4 out of 5|
I bought this game on a lark at Toys R Us. I looked at the box and decided it looked like a cool game. I remember the occasion because it was one of those rare times when a cool looking box actually contained a good game. I out-grew this purchasing method as I ran low on cash and my stockpile of crappy games loomed.
Based on the 1987 arcade game, Bionic Commando has been released on a variety of gaming devices from the GameBoy and Atari ST to the Commodore 64 and Amiga. I'd never seen it in arcades or these other platforms until I randomly snagged it off the shelf in Toys R Us.
This NES manual is a wonderful attempt at English by someone who wasn't too familiar with conveying information in any language other than their own... which wasn't English. From bizarre recanting of our hero's story to oddly described maps, it's quite a thrill to decipher it all. They begin by telling you not to disassemble the Game Pak, to stay a certain distance from the TV and to pause every 2 hours of game-play to extend the life of the Game Pak. Um... ok.
After discovering a Nazi plan called Abatros (apparently not the bird, Albatross), which the Nazi's had not put into action, our hero Joe was sent out to stop this plan. Wait - what? I thought the Nazis hadn't enacted the plan. Well, Generalissimo Kilt hadn't seen the plan, but decided to enact it. Oh, alright - so now Joe is to foil the plan, right? Not exactly. He was sent in, but lost contact with us. "So where the fuck is he?" you might ask...
The brave Player 1 (that's you) has been sent in to rescue Joe. It's a good thing this is a kick-ass game, because the manual's story is a short on detail and blatantly ridiculous.
Bionic Commando is a single player game in which you are transported by helicopter to various destinations. You can choose to descend into the area or keep going to the next. There are some puzzle and strategic elements that will assist you with your quest. You start with a normal gun and your bionic arm as your primary assets. Weapon upgrades are achieved throughout the game.
You can duck enemy fire but aiming your weapon is a bit narrower as you can't aim upward. You have to use your bionic arm to get you on level with enemies.
The arcade controls for Bionic Commando were much the same as the NES controller. You had a "Bionic Reach" button to extend your arm, a fire button and 8-way joystick. The control pad on the NEW controller was a novel idea when most consoles used a 3D joystick approach. There are often times I wish I had an actual stick instead of the thumb-killing control pad :)
The bionic arm is what sets this game apart from other scrolling platformers. It's a unique way to extend your character's normal ability and take him to places that would ordinarily be out of range. Where most platformers give the character the ability to jump, Bionic commando relies on his specialized arm for such maneuvers. The music (when I originally bought the game) is a nice departure from the usual clips found on earlier generation consoles and works in adding to theme to the mission.
The "A" button shoots whichever weapon you're holding and the "B" button extends your bionic arm, while the control pad moves you directionally. It takes a while to get the timing of the bionic arm's extending and propulsion action, but soon you'll have forgotten about jump-buttons.
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