Written by Paul Monopoli
Now I’ve said in the past that Super Bomberman 4 is the greatest game in the series. It’s a pretty bold claim considering the amount of Bomberman games out there today. Now, we all know about the home conversions, but it’s a little known fact that there were arcade releases. Neo Bomberman that was released for the Neo Geo is the first one most people think of when you mention “Bomberman arcade”, but we’re not going to talk about that game today. Today I want to focus on the Japanese only arcade release of Bomberman World.
You’ll notice that this game was released by Irem as opposed to Hudsonsoft, who actually own the Bomberman series. I’m not sure why this is as Hudson released Neo Bomberman for SNKs wonder machine. It’s a bit odd, but let’s see how an arcade release of Bomberman works.
When you first insert your coins you’re given 4 options of play. The first 2 are the main game with either one or two players. The second 2 options are battle mode with either one or two players. Let’s have a look at the main game first, then we’ll delve into the Battle Mode.
Just like the SNES releases, this arcade version of Bomberman has a nice little comic book type story that opens the game. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t read Japanese so I don’t know what the story is… sorry…
It’s the last time I’ll mention this, but having played Neo Bomberman I was a bit disappointed with the lack of animation in the intro. Neo Bomberman has nice little animations of Bomberman running around, & seeing these static images is a bit… well it’s not a bad thing, but it does let down the overall presentation of the game. Yes Neo Bomberman was released 5 years later, but keep in mind it came out on hardware that is 2 years older than Bomberman World.
Anyway, that’s the last I’ll say about it…
Like most Bomberman games you get a map screen before delving into each world & playing the levels. I thought this was pretty standard until I passed the first world & saw Bomberman flying to the next one… yes FLYING. Bomberman can apparently fly?? He’s never been able to before without a powerup. It’s only on the map screen though, so I learned to live with it. On the plus side it looks like Australia & New Zealand were safe from the evil menace in this game.
The levels are your basic Bomberman bomb fest. If you’ve played any of the previous games in the series you’ll feel right at home here. You get your maze with enemies & the ability to drop bombs to destroy said enemies. Bomberman controls nicely, though it is a bit odd using a joystick rather than a controller. Button 1 on my machine operated as the bomb button, while button 2 was the special abilities button.
As I didn’t know what each of the powerups did, I was really only using button 2 to set off the remote control bombs.
The first thing you’ll notice about Bomberman himself is that he’s a bit butch. I figure he’s either been working out or is wearing some massive shoulder pads. Bomberman has always been a thin character, occasionally stocky (particularly in the early days), but never this big. So it felt a little odd at first but you quickly get into the game. I mean, it’s Bomberman, right?
Bomberman it is indeed, but while playing it, I kept feeling like something was missing. I could never put my finger on what it was exactly, because on the surface the game actually offers little extras like bonus stages.
Maybe it was the music. The music was actually pretty decent, but it wasn’t your typical Hudsonsoft Bomberman music. The sound effects… well you can’t go too far wrong when you’re making the sound of a bomb exploding.
One of the problems I found with the main game is that unlike the SNES versions that I grew up with, you can’t take your powerups from one level to the next. You might have 4 bombs with maximum blast range but when you hit that next level you’re back to one bomb with minimum blast range. You might think this is a problem when facing bosses, but not to worry as each boss level gives you an array of powerups to collect.
The bosses are quite imaginative & a far cry from the giant robot type bosses you typically see in the Hudsonsoft games. Clearly a lot of thought went into these guys. The first world boss with the caterpillar that keeps splitting into various segments puts the pressure on & forces you to keep moving.
It’s not just the bosses that had a lot of thought put in, but the enemies themselves. The little guy in the picture below is trying to bury my bomb in the sand which decreases its blast radius:
& this guy uses his giant green tongue to eat the bombs & then runs around for a few seconds before he blows up. You just have to make sure you’re not near him when it happens:
Overall the main game offers your typical Bomberman challenge, but the loss of powerups between levels is a bit disappointing. Add to that the fact that when you pick up special bombs you can only lay a certain number of them before you go back to using normal bombs. In the other games you have to die first, but here you’re just given a limited amount of… remote bombs for example.
Let’s check out the battle mode:
Like the main game a brief story is given at the start of the battle mode. Why this is I don’t know, as most people don’t play battle mode for the story.
Overall these isn’t a lot to mention here really. It’s your basic Bomberman battle mode, but with only 2 human players possible. I guess it is pretty pointless having a 4 player machine when the main game only allows 2 players.
As always the Bomberman battle mode victory screens are always entertaining, & this game is no exception. When you win you get the girl…
… but when you lose another player does.
I only paid $40 for the board on Ebay from a Taiwanese seller, & I’m pretty happy with my purchase. I don’t think I would have spent much more to be honest. It’s a nice game, but I don’t play it very often. If I saw it in an arcade I’d happily put in 40c for a game, but no more than that. What I’m trying to say is that it’s not bad, but it’s not great either. I give it 70% & suggest you stick to Super Bomberman 4.