ボンバーマン アクト:ゼロ / BOMBERMAN Act:Zero
Battle (defeat all Bombermen)
1 to 8 (battle, Xbox Live only)
Konami (JP, US, EU)
3 August 2006 (JP)
from Bomberman Act:Zero European manual
Fight! Fight to survive...
You gain consciousness in a cold, dark underground room. But wait. Did you really wake up, or are you still dreaming?
You're not really sure about anything.
Wrapped in a straitjacket, your body feels heavy, stiff and cold...
Who has brought you here?
Now begins the fight to escape to the surface...
The fight to survive.
What lies beyond the frenzy of battle?
Will it be the light of hope, or the dark land of despair?
Bomberman leaps onto next-generation consoles with a whole new look: in a gritty reimagining of his original backstory, Bombermen are now robotic gladiators fighting for freedom from their underground dungeon.
Despite their claw arms and glowing eyes, the gameplay is the same Battle Game we're all familiar with: be the last Bomberman standing! Alongside 99 levels of arcade-style single-player mode, the game boasts online multi-player capabilities with up to 8 players.
One big change is the new FPB Mode, where the camera is up-close and personal on your character, giving players a limited field of view on the arena and a more dangerous, claustrophobic atmosphere. Combined with the ridiculous new Unlimited Bomb item, you'll have to keep your eyes sharp for unexpected attacks from across the map.
Although a curious attempt to shake things up a bit, it wasn't something anyone was necessarily asking for. Executive producer Masato Shibashi explained it as wanting to retell the original story in a darker, "cooler" manner, though staff at Hudson Entertainment (Hudson's American branch), state it was an attempt at appealing to American audiences... with no actual input or research on Western sensibilities.
If the sudden change in tone wasn't distressing enough, the game has no local multi-player features at all. Shocking! Although Hudson were proud of their online networking and leaderboard features, the franchises' reputation as a couch gaming staple meant fans were hurt by its absence; what if they didn't want to play with strangers!? Combined with an over-long and harsh single-player mode, it leaves the player feeling as lonely and isolated as its in-game world.
The game was met with a harsh reception, from low review scores to making fun of its edgy new look; Act:Zero had become the defining example of how not to make a reboot. By the following year even Hudson themselves were poking fun at their blunder, and it's implied that the demand for "cute, classic" Bomberman is what led to Bomberman Live entering development.
Despite its reputation, the few small changes in Act:Zero offer interesting new approaches to Bomberman gameplay, and it was the first truly international online multi-player experience on consoles (previous online instalments had been exclusive to Asia, America or home computers). Given its RRP of $49.99 upon release, you wouldn't be wrong to suggest it's a bad product more than a bad game - you'd want more than three modes and HD graphics for that kind of money!
The game's title is consistently parsed as "BOMBERMAN Act:Zero" (in all-caps, colon after second word) in-game and in its European packaging, though other sources parse it as "Bomberman: Act Zero" (standard case, colon after first word). I mention this only because I'd love to stay true to the source material, but capitalising BOMBERMAN all the time would get mighty tiresome.