Saturn Bomberman Fight!!
Bomberman's been kicking about since 1983, and ultimately hasn't changed a lot since then. He's slimmed out a little and there've been some bad titles and stupid spinoffs, but it's not like he's gone off excessively go-karting or playing tennis like Mario. oh wait
In 1997, Bomberman hopped on the bandwagon and entered the realm of three dimensions in Bomberman 64. Armed with circular explosions, the ability to touch enemies without dying and an actual storyline, people weren't quite so happy with the game, claiming it strayed too far from the simplistic, action based gameplay of the 2D games, what with it's large landscapes and searching all around for switches and generators and whatnot. Ironically, popular opinion is he reclaimed his grace in Bomberman Generation, a game which I thought was only good in multi-player and awfully dull in single-player, not decent all around like 64.
Around the same time as it's US release, Japan received another three-dimensional escapade, this time for the SEGA Saturn.
Saturn Bomberman Fight!!. With the dual exclamation marks.
[Well, I've really no idea of the title. It's all in Japanese, Babel Fish translates it as "Saturn Bonn bar man fighting spirit" while everyone else simply calls it what I do. Hmm.]
This game is an entirely different specimen. Most notably, unlike Bomberman 64, which is proper 3D, this is essentially just the 2D games made 3D; the levels are just isometric, all movement is 4-direction, and heck, even the explosions are the same!
But what actually makes it new? I'll tell you what makes it new.
Firstly, there's a health bar. You can't disable it, but when there are huge explosions taking up half of the playing field, as well as bombs going off above and below you, you'll need it.
"Above and below"? Yeah. You can jump. And you can back flip. Since not all the levels are flat, that's why it exists, and also so you can leap over situations which would normally kill you dead. This is abused by the computer characters on harder difficulties, thus why it's recommended to throw a bomb on their noggin to knock them for six before the bombs go off.
And below your health bar, every time you place a bomb a little metre fills up. Once it reaches maximum, you'll get a big bomb, which has a circular blast radius a quarter the size of the playing field.
For all I know, this game could contain the most deep and meaningful story of all time. But I don't know because it's in Japanese, see.
In place of the typical Skull items are question mark cards which either hinder you (slow you down, invert your controls, or prevent you from jumping), or help you in various boring reasons, but best of all: The super big bomb. This baby takes up over half of the playing field, so you can imagine many scorched bodies lying around after that goes off.
As for gameplay modes, Bomberman 64 only has the main game and the multi-player mode, whereas Fight!! has that, as well as a Survival Mode where you endure never-ending one-on-one fights until you cock up and die. There's no fancy costumes for you to wear like in the former, but it does have fifteen playable characters, one of which is secret and another is just a Black Bomberman who excels in a certain skill more than the regular one, but I can't tell what it is because it's in Japanese. If you please.
It's no big bomb, but lots of smaller explosions are still nasty.
However, Fight!! seems to be notably lacking in options. You can choose three choices for how many rounds there are to win, to toggle shuffle on and on, sudden death, and the timer. You can't have a team mode, tinker with minor things like health and
jumping, or even choose the difficulty of the AI opponents and who they play as. It simply seems rather barebones.
Regardless, both the games are good in their own right, and neither is necessarily better than the other. But you can probably ignore my opinion because I'm unhealthily obsessed with Bomberman, and thus rather prejudiced.