I woke up in a cold, dark basement.
Could this be a dream, or is it reality?
In a blurry haze, all I am aware of is my own existence.
My body feels heavy, rigid, and cold.
What am I doing in this place...?
The World War was seemingly endless.
Each nation came to possess lethal weapons of massacre.
But to fall behind would mean one's own destruction.
So needless battles ensued, and the world was ravaged.
Far to the east, a giant underground facility was built.
A plan to develop "The Ultimate Human Weapon."
In order to overcome the ever-worsening horrors of war,
this highly classified plan was hatched deep underground.
The scientists involved had opted to utilize human
faculties--physical, intellectual, and special abilities.
Human frames were cultured artificially, infused with battle-
conditioned memories, and fitted with special armaments.
Each subject breathes its first breath of life underground.
They know nothing of why they are here,
or why they are born.
But the "program" gives them one ordeR:
Only one can survive.
Each subject must eliminate all others, or be disposed of.
When manufactured, a test subject is not yet complete.
It must hone its abilities in actual combat,
and survive long enough to break free of the Prison.
Only then will it have achieved its true purpose.
Subjects are constantly manufactured and forced to fight.
Only the best of the best are sent to the battlefield above.
This is how the "Prison Program" works.
300 years have passed since the program's conception.
Its creator has been dead for centuries.
But the Prison Program contrinues to run like a
well-oiled machine. Even today, the test subjects
are faithfully following orders to fight and survive.
Will the end of this war
provide a beacon of hope for all mankind?
Or will it plunge the world into the
depths of hopelessness?
Once again, a new battle is about to begin.
BOMBERMAN is Beginning / BOMBERMAN: The Genesis
The following headings cover loading screens to and from the Cage, which has exposition on the world of Act:Zero. This heading dwells on the Bomberman's awakening.
Single Battle: Survive this
endless battle, and the
unknown awaits you up above.
「BOMBERMAN is Beginning」
[BOMBERMAN: The Genesis]
I woke up in a cold, dark basement.
Could it be a dream, or is this reality?
「BOMBERMAN is Beginning」
[BOMBERMAN: The Genesis]
All I know is my own existence.
「BOMBERMAN is Beginning」
重く 固く 冷たい体・・・
[BOMBERMAN: The Genesis]
A heavy, rigid, cold existence. But why?
Who could've put me here? And for what purpose?
Classified Data / 極秘資料
The inner workings of the facility and the Bombermans' body.
Classified Data: [Prison] A giant
underground facility built in secret for
the ultimate human weapon. Details are a mystery.
Classified Data: [Prison Program]
A system for manufacturing test
subjects and running combat tests.
Classified Data: [Experiment Station] Test
subjects built in the CAGE are forced to fight
each other here to sort the best from the rest.
Classified Data: [The ultimate human weapon] Test
subjects fitted with special armaments are combat
tested to find the ultimate human weapon.
Classified Data: [CAGE]
New test subjects are born, given a human
frame, and fitted with special armaments here.
Classified Data: [Special Armaments] Attached
securely to human frames. Weapon Zero is only
capable of generating organic bombs.
Classified Data: [Expansion Programs] Expansion
chips for armaments found in the experiment
station. Limits are determined by armament type.
Classified Data: [Frames] Humans grown via
artificial incubation in the CAGE, provided
with basic human functions and a virtual memory.
Classified Data: [Test Subjects] Artificial
soldiers with special armaments. The best are
chosen by a process in the experiment station.
拡張機能：爆弾生成 威力 移動速度・・・etc
Classified Data: [Weapon Zero]
Primary weapon: organic bombs only
Expansions: bomb count, power, speed
Classified Data: [Primary Attack Weapon] Fitted
to the left arm of each test subject. Organic
bombs are Weapon Zero's only attack function.
Staff Log / 局員日誌
Journals from the scientists working at the station, commentating on the facility's independance and the worsening state of the war above ground.
Staff Log: [Awakening] Test subjects grown in
the CAGE are to be transported to the experiment
station via air ducts within the prison.
Staff Log: [Carnage] Only a single test
subject is permitted to survive each combat
test held in the experiment station.
Staff Log: [Disposal] Frames who fail to survive
will be dismantled--their excretions recycled as
culture fluids for creating new frames.
Staff Log: [Experiments] Labyrinths and expansion
programs set up in the experiment station to
measure each test subject's frame abilities.
Staff Log: [Abnormalities] The prison program is
growing. It continues to operate without our
Staff Log: [Surface]: The war has taken a turn for
the worse. Front lines continue to expand, and
surface communications have been cut off.
The arena shakes and begins rising like an elevator. The ceilings open like hatches...
... eventually revealing a blinding light behind them. The war-torn surface is finally revealed, with a ruined complex in the distance.
An informative little site with gameplay information, character art, screenshots and other odds and sods.
Because of the Flash elements, the Spec and Story pages are no longer functional.
A development diary on MSN Spaces by "take-san" (take氏) (Lead Game Designer Koichi Takeshita, perhaps?) talking about website updates and the game's international releases.
The Internet Archive only has the last three entries available. Everything before that appears to be lost.
Another weekly blog for the Act:Zero staff to keep track of accomplishments like the amount of players participating... but the main attraction is the comedic battles between Uirou and Mitarashi, played out in exaggerated back-and-forth dialogue.
The Internet Archive only spans the last five entries, from September 1 to 29 2006. Everything before that appears to be lost.
A brief page with a basic game description, bulletpoints, and salivating over the female character option. Contain yourself, buddy.
Quickly sum-up what Act:Zero is about.
Bomberman Act:Zero is the basic game of Bomberman, but with a revamped universe and characters, as well as some innovative new features.
なんといっても、Xbox Live対戦に尽きます。 新ルールの「FPB
Although Bomberman has been released on a variety
of platforms, Bomberman Act:Zero will exclusive to Xbox 360. What are
its unique charms?
It has Xbox Live multi-player, most importantly. The FPB Battle and its new
rules like the Life System, the mean combo of Unlimited Bomb and Line Bomb.
It is far bolder and more radical than other Bomberman games, with
really intense battles.
今回の世界観、デザインの一新にあたっては、弊社プロデューサーからのオーダーがスタートにありました。 確かにボンバーマンというゲームは、ここ数年の間にイメージが低年齢化してしまったと感じていました。 シンプルでありながら奥が深い、実はシリアスなゲーム性のものなのに、大人の方には手にとっていただきにくくなっていたという側面もあると思います。 そこで今回はコミカルなテイストを廃し、一旦ボンバーマンの原点に戻っての再構築を行うことにいたしました。 マニュアルをはじめ、各所にあるストーリー「閉じ込められた地下室から、地上への脱出を目指す」という設定は、実はファミコンの初代ボンバーマンと同じものでもあります。 今回は、オリジナルボンバーマンを、「もしもリアルに表現したら？」という問いかけからはじまっています。 ですので、この「BOMBERMAN
The Bomberman series so far featured cartoony characters,
but this time it's presented in realistic 3D. Options like cel-shading
could have been a new way of expressing personality; so why did you go for
realistic 3D characters?
The new world and design was an order from our producer right at the start.
Bomberman's image has been skewed towards younger audiences the past few
years; it may look simple, but there are deep and complex mechanics hidden
under the surface, though it might be difficult for older gamers to
This time we eschewed the "comical" appearance and decided to build afresh
from the origin of Bomberman. The story was all right there in the original
Bomberman on Famicom; in the manual it described a story set in a
"cramped, underground dwelling" where they aimed to "escape to the surface."
We looked at that and asked the question, "what if it were realistic?" So,
it became Bomberman Act:Zero. It wasn't going to be a gaiden story or
a "what if" tale. It's another take on the source.
360ならではの、新たなゲーム性を提供したいと考えました。 また、リアルなボンバーマン、爆発、炎をもっと迫力ある視点で見たいという声もありました。 そんな経緯から、今回のFPBモードを採用いたしました。 現在の形にたどりつくまでは、操作系統や、完全FPS視点でのテストなど、試行錯誤ありました。 しかし、従来のスタイルが「全体を見渡してプレイを考える」というゲーム性だったことに対し、FPBでは「限られた視界を索敵してプレイを考える」という、同じ「爆弾をつかって敵を倒す」ボンバーマンというゲームでありながら、異なる新たなゲーム性を創る事に成功したと思っています。
When people hear "Bomberman", they think of the bird's-eye view
perspective. Why have you adopted the new FPB mode?
The classic Bomberman gameplay is still intact, that part of the game has
been completed and it is terrific.
However, the Xbox 360 presents us a great platform with Xbox Live, and we
wanted to take full advantage of it with a new gaming experience.
In addition to realistic characters and explosions, there were people who
wanted to see this action from the Bomberman's point of view. We built the
FPB Mode to satiate that desire.
There was some trial and error before reaching its current state, like
testing out a first-person-shooter style of camera. However, we respected
that the traditional gameplay was about scanning the battlefield and
thinking things through, in contrast to FPB's focus on plotting what you
could using a limited field of view. It's different, but it's still the same
traditional game of Bomberman, so I think we've done a good job.
Will features like Revenge and the Louie be appearing?
Those features aren't in the works right now.
Do you have any meaning behind the subtitle of "Act:Zero"?
I touched on that under "why did you go for realistic 3D characters?", but
to us, "zero" means a new beginning and a fresh start.
In fact, early in development it was occasionally called "BOMBERMAN
begins". But because a movie about a certain bat-themed character came
out, that title couldn't be used. "Act:Zero" better evoked the image
we wanted from "begins".
Dated August 04 2006, an interesting interview with the author of the Act:Zero Planner's Blog.
Bomberman: Act Zero is nothing short of a complete rip-off, especially at full price. With only a couple of modes, no offline multiplayer, no save system, and a weak and repetitive single-player game, it has less to offer than many free demos on Xbox Live Marketplace.
Published September 1st 2006, reviewed by Greg Mueller. Awarded a 2.9 out of 10.
To play with friends, they need to have their own Xbox 360, TV and be in their own home or attached via serial cable. To say this is an oversight is the understatement of the year; it's like Capcom releasing Street Fighter II without a second player being able to join; it sucks the life right out of the party. So why isn't this game getting zero stars? Partly because I'd be hunted down and killed, but mainly because the online mode is perfectly serviceable, if you like playing an ugly version of a classic game without any frills.
Reviewed by David S. J. Hodgson on August 31st 2006. Awarded a 1.5 out of 5.
If you're hungry for more Bomberman, dust off your Super Nintendo. Not only does this not live up to the franchise's charm and addictive nature, it doesn't even look like they are distant cousins, twice removed. Only buy Act Zero if you're curious how unexciting and uninspired a next-gen game can be.
Published September 16th 2006. Awarded 3.5 out of 10. The video review doesn't appear to be mirrored anywhere.
When I worked at Next Generation magazine we played Bomberman for two to four hours, five days a week, on the weekend, for two years. It was the office favorite, and people across the office building, even those who didn't play too many games, joined in, got good, and became part of the fun. Bomberman Act: Zero is badly designed game that throws out the best elements of the series in order to make the game "new," "next-generation," and "American." In Hudson's efforts to attract the next generation of gamers, they forgot to bring along the aspects of the game we originally fell in love with.
Published August 31st 2006, reviewed by Douglass C. Perry. Awarded a 3 out of 10.
Forget Bully, GTA, or Saints Row - Bomberman Act: Zero is turning out to be most controversial game of the year! Many have proclaimed, OMG!!!! You've bastardized my cute Bomberman! And our answer is: Yeah, I guess we did.
Hudson Entertainment's Jason Montes parrots the bulletpoints from the previous page to try and win fans over despite the new look.
|Bomberman for PSP||Bomberman Act: Zero|
|From outside the arena, losers attack the remaining bombermen
||From outside the industry, losers attack the revised Bomberman|
Another Hudson Entertainment piece, Jon Wu presents a tongue-in-cheek comparison between Bomberman Portable and Act:Zero, as well as a comic of Megatron and Godzilla consoling Bomberman on his controversial redesign.
The Internet Archive has botched up the formatting, but it can be read in image form at Adam Riff.
JOHN: [...] So that just gives you an idea of how Hudson approaches the gaming world which is, you know, user first. How do we make a product that doesn't tarnish our name -- and you can tarnish a name by putting a bad product out or over-marketing something, but you can't tarnish a name by putting out good-quality stuff, even if it doesn't sell well.
That brings me to Act Zero. I think this was a case where Hudson -- and we cautioned against it, we said "don't call it Bomberman, you might piss people off." They didn't quite get that, and said "we want to make Bomberman new", you know. People don't want that "new", they want new features or something like that but not a new character. Their point was to make a game that looked new but also had some of the fun features of --
AARON: Maintained some of the gameplay sensibilities of Bomberman.
JOHN: Right, but also internet access and things like that. So that idea was correct and as an engineering company -- [Hudson Japan thought] "okay, we'll put this one out first, and then we'll go to the second one, and really hit hard on the third one." This is a logical -- Japanese are always logical -- a logical approach to putting out a very good, long-life product that has multiple iterations. Here's your first step, here's your second, here's your third -- but it bit them in the ass. America's different, and we're trying to teach them about that, and trying to again take the good things, meld them with our good things, and hopefully come up with some pretty outstanding products for the US market. There were good things in Act Zero that everybody ignored because they were so pissed about the character.
AARON: [...] It seemed to me that the biggest mistake was just not releasing -- like you are now with Bomberman Live -- not releasing another quality Bomberman title for one of the updated consoles.
Aaron Linde interviews longtime Hudson USA CEO and President John Greiner.
How Bomberman: Act Zero Came To Be
Consequently, because Hudson felt this overwhelming need to please its shareholders, games like Bomberman: Act Zero came to be. Before the US division of Hudson was fully established, the remaining creative minds at Hudson wanted to update Bomberman to cater to Westerners. The company believed that the US was an opportunity to grow again. Unfortunately, the game was developed in a vacuum and was based on what the Japanese thought Western tastes in gaming were. Without the original Bomberman creator on board to protect the brand, and without input from US operations (which at the time didn't have any real developers on board), Bomberman was thrust into a post-apocalyptic world that was dark and sinister and launched without one of the key features that defined the game.
As a result, Bomberman: Act Zero was critically panned, ranking as one of the 10 worst games of ALL TIME. While the game wasn't fundamentally broken, the media tore Hudson a new hole to essentially sound a wake-up call.
Bomberman: Act Zero was a low point for the company. Sales for the series dropped to a low of 20 thousand units from a high of more than 1million during its peak in the 90's. Hudson needed a new champion for game development real bad. Ironically, it came from the newly formed US division.
A piece by John "Master" Lee on the lead-up to Hudson Soft's dissolution, with a section exclusively on Act:Zero's botched development.
ADAM SESSLER: Can you actually quantify how bad these aspects suck?
DR. HEIMLICH BETZER: Certainly. I would say it falls somewhere between the film Lady in the Water and the black plague.
ADAM SESSLER: The bubonic plague! The one that killed hundreds of thousands of people in the middle ages?
DR. HEIMLICH BETZER: Ja wohl. Bomberman has slightly less suck than that. Slightly less. A tiny bit of suck less. Less-- is that how you say it in ze English? Suck less? Less suck?
Broadcast on G4 in the United States on October 11th 2006. Adam Sessler slams the game for all the reasons you'd expect it to be slammed. Awarded a 1 out of 5.
A clip of this review was originally posted on G4TV.com, and has since been mirrored on the Internet Archive and YouTube.
If given the choice between any previous Bomberman and Act: Zero, we'd choose the former. This one is too vacant, tries too hard to be cool, and fails to be compelling in either single- or multiplayer. Act: Zero accomplishes what even Al Qaeda was unable to do: turn "Bomberman" into a dirty word.
A text review by Justin Leeper was also posted on the X-Play website.
Interview with Konami Pt. 2 - Bomberman Act: Zero
INTERVIEWER: This new Bomberman's got a gritty look to him. What's that all about?
MATT: Well, we've got a new generation of consoles, we need a new generation of Bomberman. It's got a new look, it's kinda being reborn on the next-generation machine. New special effects, new sound, new look like I mention, but same classic Bomberman gameplay. So for people that might wonder right away, "this isn't the Bomberman I know and like," once you get your hands on the game you'll see it actually is.
INTERVIEWER: It looks like Hudson this time really want to make a mature Bomberman game, but hey, what about the cute classic look? Where's that gone?
MATT: The cute classic look will still be around. We haven't abandoned that Bomberman completely. On the PSP this year Bomberman will blast his way onto PSP for the first time. That will be coming out this fall.
Hudson Entertainment's videocast from 2006, with Konami's Matt Knoles delivering a spiel for Act: Zero and addressing concerns about the new look.
AMAR GAVHANE: Actually, research has shown that people think Bomberman Act:Zero is a piece of shit. As you can see here, people have been comparing Bomberman to Titanic. Right here you can see they say "return to sender" because no one wants the frickin' game! [...] So, you guys are complete idiots, we are not doing another Act:Zero. Never, ever, ever again!
Act:Zero gets thrown under the bus several times in Hudson Entertainment's mockumentary of Bomberman Live's development.
Weekly Famitsu / 週刊ファミ通 (2/17/2006)
A few words from producer Masato Shibata!
I'm the director of Hudson HQ's network contents division and have worked on numerous online game-related projects, though making previews always gets me anxious!
Why is Bomberman super scary-looking?
Basically we wanted the concept to be something "realistic" and "cool".
This is essentially a 3D representation of the origin of Bomberman, from a cool design perspective.
The focus was to be on a dark hero... but maybe we equated that to mean scary? (laugh) That seems to be the impression most people get, but so it goes.
It's set in abandoned underground facilities where experimental bodies are made, so the premise has some sorrow to it.
Their objective is to escape from the underground prison and fight to the surface, which is true to the original Bomberman.
Returning to the origins and reconstructing the world like this, that's why we called it Bomberman Act:Zero.
Dated February 17 2006, a basic preview with a few quick words from executive producer Masato Shibata. These scans have been floating around a number of sites, but none of them give the issue number, if any.
Famitsu Xbox 360 /
ファミ通Xbox360 (May 2006)
A quick preview of the game.
Official Xbox Magazine (issue 61)
We never thought the day would come where we'd so dislike a Bomberman game, but by being needlessly lacking in the most crucial areas, Act Zero is impossible to love.
Dated September 2006, reviewer Ryan McCaffrey ponders the many oddball exclusions, awarding it a 4.0 out of 10. Scan from the Internet Archive.
Weekly Famitsu / 週刊ファミ通
[what issue is this from, and does anyone have a scan?]
Awarded 23 out of 40. [src]
Lifted straight from the game data.
BOMBERMAN Act:Zero STAFF
Masato Shibata (柴田 真人)
Kazuhiko Nonaka (野中 和彦)
Shinichi Kasahara (笠原 伸一)
Lead Game Designer
Koichi Takeshita (竹下 功一)
Takafumi Tsuji (辻 貴文)
Hiroki Toyama (外山 裕樹)
Shinichi Hiramori (平森 慎一)
Yuhei Tsukami (塚見 悠平)
Tomohisa Saito (斉藤 智久)
Daisuke Hashimoto (橋本 大輔)
Nobutake Nakamura (中村 伸武)
Hideki Nobuta (信田 英樹)
Visual Direction & Character Design
Kubo Q (久保 久)
Yumiko Osaki (大崎 由美子)
Keiichi Kobayashi (小林 圭一)
Hideki Anbo (安保 英樹)
Akinobu Sekiguchi (関口 暁信)
Hiroshi Onoguchi (小野口 洋)
POLYGON MAGIC, INC. (ポリゴンマジック株式会社)
Kazuma Kanou (狩野 和馬)
Mukku Akazawa (赤澤 ムック)
Ichiro Shimakura (嶋倉 一朗)
Takeshi Saito (MusicIntrigue) (斎藤 健)
Movie Sound Editor
Hiroyuki Tsuboguchi (坪口 浩行)
Director of Sound Effects
Masato Aihara (相原 真人)
Editor of Sound Effects
Go Tonozaki (外崎 剛)
Takayuki Iwabuchi (岩渕 貴幸)
Osamu Narita (成田 修)
Toshiyasu Nabetani (鍋谷 敏泰)
Kunio Morimoto (森本 訓生)
Toru Fujishita (藤下 暢)
Toru Urushizaki (漆崎 亨)
Hiromi Okamoto (岡本 ひろみ)
Chika Ishida (石田 千華)
Tsuyoshi Nakagawa (中川 剛)
Daisuke Takeuchi (武内 大輔)
Shinichi Toda (戸田 伸一)
Shouei Inaba (稲場 将栄)
Shigeru Asada (朝田 滋)
Takuya Fujimoto (藤本 琢也)
... and everyone at HUDSON SOFT
Copyrights belong to
BOMBERMAN: The Genesis
To be continued...