#318 Saturn Bomberman

Posted: 11th May 2015 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

424th played so far

Saturn_BombermanGenre: Action
Platform: Saturn
Year of Release: 1996
Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Hudson Soft

It feels a bit weird how, prior to starting this blog, I had never really come across the Bomberman series. I’d heard of it – may even have seen a bit of it being played – but never really got any experience with it.

It was pretty fun when we first played it, though looking fairly simple and not giving too many hints about its more special mechanics… and it felt tough. Even so, I’m glad to come back to it.

Our Thoughts

Sometimes our perception of a game can be badly coloured by what is, looking at the game as a whole, is a small part of it. For Saturn Bomberman, this is the first boss fight. While going through the game, beating levels at a pleasant pace – more on that later – you hit the first boss about six levels in, and get stonewalled.

The attack patterns are unclear – seemingly random, but not balanced in a way to stay playable. Hitboxes are inconsistent and in weird places, and your one mode of attack – dropping bombs – don’t seem to hit it half of the time, while making it unclear how to hit it.

I got stuck there and after at least half an hour of play, didn’t bother continuing. It wasn’t fun and wasn’t worth it. I can’t really say more about what follows, which is a great shame.

The main puzzle levels were a lot more fun. They weren’t that difficult – challenging enough that I usually died on one of them, but not impossible, all of it coming down to stupid mistakes – and more importantly, they looked fun, with bright colours, unique designs, and small parts of them reacting to what you did in more ways than just blowing up obstacles. One level has you setting off cannons with your bombs to win extra points, which adds some nice minigames to the experience, without being mandatory and annoying. Most of all though, in all the levels planning ahead paid off – determining who to ‘release’ first, and what the fastest path to treasure is.

It’s a shame those skills don’t pay off in the boss fight(s) then, as it describes the game at its strongest, an action game that rewards planning and preparation rather than running around and reacting to everything.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed the game and was genuinely disappointed when this wall was thrown up – that’s perhaps why it comes up so much here. It felt like just the wrong thing to do and disrupts a very enjoyable flow. I’d go back if I could just get past these obstacles.