とびだせ！ぱにボン / Tobidase! PaniBom
Hudson (JP, US)
21 July 1995 (JP)
On the mysterious Noi Noi Island is a coveted treasure known as the Golden Statue of Bomberman. The legend goes that anyone who gathers the three Medals of Power shall gain access to the statue. Many have sought it out, but none have succeeded - or returned, for that matter.
Bomberman is up to the challenge and sets out to the island. What he doesn't know is that the four spooky masters of the island are waiting for him!
Panic Bomber has already hit consoles, arcades and home computers, the only thing left is to go portable! Or... three-dimensional? Whatever the Virtual Boy billed itself as.
The familiar line-making, bomb-blasting gameplay is back, and taking a cue from Panic Bomber W, Bomberman embarks on yet another location-hopping, thematic-villain battling adventure - only now with a spooky theme!
What it lacks in colour, Tobidase! (meaning "jump out" or "protrude") makes up for in special effects. No longer a tiny mugshot, opponents are now full-body sprites animating and emoting in the centre of the screen, sweating and crying exaggeratedly as the tide of the match turns. Chain comboes are flashier than ever, using the Virtual Boy's 3D screen to create explosions and effects that seemingly reach in and out of the screen. Even in monochrome, the game looks great in motion.
This was one of two Panic Bomber games to see a Western release (alongside the expensive MVS release of Neo Geo instalment), and it perhaps wasn't what people were after. Reviewers bemoaned its lack of 3D flair and simple gameplay, having expected more out of the Virtual Boy - and perhaps most damningly, it's the only release with no multi-player content whatsoever! The Virtual Boy link cable never reached the shelves, stripping the game of one of its key features.
This would be the last Panic Bomber release for some time, though it reared its head on mobile phones and as a mini-game in Bomberman Land, before finally reappearing on the PlayStation Portable in 2005.