ポケットボンバーマン / Pocket Bomberman
Game Boy (JP)
12 December 1997 (JP)
Long, long ago, the sun was shrouded by a dark and sinister cloud. An old legend claimed that the cloud was the doing of a powerful monster that had laid a curse upon the "Sword of the Sun," sealing its power.
The only hope of restoring light to the land is to collect the five Power Stones, guarded by evil monsters on the Evil Mountain. Only the Power Stones have the power to break the curse on the sword!
Bomberman enters the world of 2D platforming. And it only took him, what, fourteen years? (he would be hurled into the murky realm of 3D platforming just a few months later, in Bomberman Hero)
Despite the change of control, the core gameplay sticks closely to the old traditions: Blow up all the enemies to open the exit door. Bombs now float in mid-air, which is a vital addition - bombs must be used as stepping stones to explore some of the vast, vertical stages.
Pocket Bomberman takes place "long, long ago" in a medieval fantasy setting. This setting would be further explored in Bomberman Wars, and its story would then be concluded in Bomberman World, rounding off the little trilogy.
I'm nuts about 2D platforms, and I'm nuts about Bomberman. In theory, this should be a match made in heaven for me!
It's okay. There's no attempt at wildly re-imagining the Bomberman gameplay to fit it into a 2D platforming environment; you're still blowing up enemies to open the exit door, only now you can jump. The "bomb jumping" techniques are an inventive addition, but that's about the only innovation the game has to offer.
I would have loved to have seen more tricks like that; a platformer where using bombs to get around is well and truly essential. Like a 2D Baku Bomberman, I suppose.
It's a simple enough game that's easy to pick up and play. It's varied enough (and short enough) that it doesn't get tiresome before the game is over, and the level designs are pretty interesting, housing all manner of neat little traps and gimmicks.
It's kinda hard to appreciate the levels when the camera is such a pain, though. See that screenshot? That's as far as you can see ahead of Bomberman. It is so easy to kill yourself walking into an enemy that was just off-screen a second ago.
While I like the concept of the main game, its execution left something to be desired. The Jump Game, on the other hand, is mad fun to play! It simplifies the game something fierce and turns it into a short, sweet and challenging little mini-game. This is what I kept coming back to the game for.