The Big Bomb
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Hmm"..wow".Yeah, I guess there's just no other way to say it and sometimes you just have to say it like it is right? Bomberman: ActZero BLOWS with a capital B! THIS is not a remake of the Bomberman classic we all know and love. THIS is not a remake of ANY classic that we as gamers might remotely know and love. THIS is not even a title that should be mentioned in the same sentence as the adjective "next-generation," let alone be a title worthy of exclusive rights for the 360 console. Obviously, some one has dropped the ball here in a major way and so it's in times like these that I, as a reviewer, must do what I do best: Make sure the whole gaming world knows they did so.
Let us start with Presentation: Hated it. Shallow could not even begin to describe the concept. A lackluster story plot and a tiny skit depicting Bomberman taking on a weak upgrade inside a mechanical cage and then being dropped into an arena filled with a maze of impassable square barriers. I'd of been more entertained watching an electrical can-opener cut open a jar of fruit cocktail.
Graphically the game is pretty disappointing, especially when you take in the fact that this is supposed to be slated for a superior next generation console. When you first start out you can only make minor customizations to your Bomberman, all of which include a gender selection and roughly as many colors as you might find in a rainbow. The bad part is that it doesn't get any better from this point. The game is just filled with a lot of mediocre textures everywhere you look be it the robot models, the environments, or even special effects. There are just too many things that make you say "blaaah."
Not a lot of things to talk about in the audio department either. The music isn't spectacular but it manages to get the job done. The special effect sounds from explosions and the likes are nothing that we haven't heard before in any other game. I guess the only good thing you could say about the audio is that there aren't as many bad things to say as you could say about the other aspects of the game.
Speaking of bad things to say, let's get right down to the nitty-gritty: game play. There is absolutely nothing innovative whatsoever about the mechanics of this game. Years ago, it was the ole' "I plant bomb, you plant bomb, see who dies" game play that gamers simply could not get enough of so I can totally understand why team Konami wanted to preserve the core part of the game. What I can't understand is why so little effort was put into taking the core part of the game to the next level. I mean they sort of blew any innovation they had on the graphics department which turned out to be a total bust and just sort of left the most important part of the game hanging out to dry.
Bomberman pretty much does the only two things he's always done: Plant bombs and run like hell. It would have been nice if they gave him a few new physical capabilities such as punching through soft barriers rather than blowing them up, diffusing bombs as well as just planting them, perhaps knocking over barriers in some fit of rage during an adrenaline rush causing a huge domino-effect, or even a super-cool atomic bomb special move capable of destroying everything in a mass radius or causing more distinct environmental changes just to name a few out of my personal suggestion box.
Instead we get the same old game play (keyword: old) that simply does not have the same effect on fans of the series as it did in its hey-day. You got your usual speed-up, health-up, and ammo up bonuses as well as few decent power-up moves such as the "Line Bomb," allowing players to place all bombs in inventory in a straight line, the "Infinite Bombs" power-up which allows players to place up to 64 bombs on the grid, and even a "Remote Control" power-up which allows bombs to be manually exploded by players, but unfortunately all of these features do little to help the less than stellar game play.
What really puts the knife in the single player mode of the game is the fact that you have to bomb your way through 99 levels of the game. If by chance you find yourself dead somewhere in between, you are forced to start over again at the beginning. The very beginning! In the name of gaming, that's just heartless on the part of the dev team.
The multiplayer aspect of the game which is played over Xbox Live is somewhat satisfying. Up to eight players can play in the same arena simultaneously and some of the ranked matches can get downright brutal, but after some time, as to be expected, the fun begins to die down and before long you find yourself wanting for something more.
The bottom line is that I think I safely speak for all 360 owners when I say that we did not fork out our hard-earned $300-$400 plus dollars to be entertained by this kind of garbage. My apologies for being so harsh to the dev team, but when a serious monetary sacrifice has been made in order to allow gamers to make that next-generation leap in gaming and you put out a title that has lack-luster graphics, mediocre audio, below average game play, and then throw a $50 dollar price tag on it and expect us to go after it like dogs in heat, then these are the kind of repercussions that follow.
We demand to be emphatically entertained and I'm afraid this title simply does not turn enough tricks. Barely two GiN gems are all I can give this Bomberman atrocity which only manages to blow up in your face.
Jevon Jenkins enjoys all types of games, especially those where the programmer's imagination is evident. He can be reached at : firstname.lastname@example.org.