Hello everyone! This is my first written review of a video game ever! If you’re reading this, I truly appreciate it. My goal for these reviews is to provide my casual thoughts on any game I’m currently playing as well as games I may be revisiting.
I will break the review up into sections and end it with my overall thoughts and whether you should consider giving it a shot yourself! I have played through a lot of games and like to think I have a relatively sound mind when it comes to good design and I think it’ll be fun to chronicle my opinions in one place.
Lastly, certain game reviews will be partnered with an episode of “Game Trax”, a show where I highlight some amazing video game music, those should be a hoot as well!
Now, on to the review of Super Bomberman for the Super Nintendo!
Developer | Produce!
Publisher | Hudson Soft
Composers | Jun Chikuma & Tomoyuki Hamad
Console | Super Nintendo
Release (NA) | September 1993
Gameplay/A Brief History Lesson
Since gameplay is the most important aspect of any game, lets start there!
For the uninitiated, Bomberman is an action puzzle game where you take control of the titular Bomberman as he uses his… bomb powers to blow up blocks and enemies on a grid-like maze. The franchise was primarily developed by Hudson Soft who unfortunately went
under in 2012 and it’s assets were claimed by Konami.
The original Bomberman (which had an NES release in 1985) spawned many sequels including this very game Super Bomberman! Interestingly this game was not actually developed by Hudson Soft and was actually developed by Produce!, a Japanese game developer that made a couple great games including Super Adventure Island (which I’m sure I’ll review eventually).
Whew! All that being said the gameplay is solid, honestly it would be pretty tough to really screw up Bomberman, the gameplay is meant to be simple and in my opinion that’s what makes it so strong. Super Bomberman keeps things very simple, every level has the same objective, blow up every enemy in the level and find the exit hidden within one of the destructible blocks. Be careful not to bomb the exit before destroying all the enemies, it’ll spawn an enemy and make completing the level harder! After completing all of the levels in a world Bomberman goes up against a world boss, most of which are very beatable if you keep your cool.
In addition to defeating enemies you’ll find power ups in every level to make things a little easier. Bomb Up, Fire Up, Speed Up, Invincibility, and my favorite the Remote Control Bomb! After a few levels it feels great to be powered up and really lay the hurt on a few adorable googly eyed enemies!
Aside from the single player experience, Bomberman is probably better known for it’s multiplayer! In this game up for four players take control of a color variation of Bomberman laying bombs attempting to blow up the other players (without accidentally blowing yourself up). With the right people it can be great fun due to it’s simple yet strategic chaos, one could play the multiplayer and completely bypass the single player campaign though they would be missing out on a damn fun game!
There’s definitely a story in Super Bomberman, something about a robot tournament, and Black Bomber being defeated and telling White Bomber to save the day but really it doesn’t matter… none of this matters…
I’m not one to judge graphics in a game but I like to discuss style, does the game’s art style and execution get the point across and does it hold up in 2020?
In my opinion, yes! Interestingly this game went for a different look compared to what Hudson Soft was doing/ did for Bomberman on their own console the PC Engine (Turbo Grafx 16 in the US). The game looks somewhat more detailed and Bomberman looks a little more stiff compared to his pudgy PC Engine self but I think it’s a bold, colorful, and appealing look that holds up quite nicely. I also quite like how most of the destructible blocks have little animations, it absolutely makes the levels feel a little more lively. Cute and weird enemies coupled with some cute animations for Bomberman makes for a game that’s pleasant on the eyes!
Most of the older Bomberman games’ music was composed by Jun Chikuma and this game is no different despite the game not being developed by Hudson Soft this time around. Like a lot of the older Bomberman games a decent portion of the music is actually remixes and re-imaginings of tunes from the original Bomberman on the NES as well as Bomberman on the PC Engine.
Being a Super Nintendo title, the sample based music gives this game a distinct flavor not heard yet in the series. If I’m not mistaken, up until area 4 all of the music is re-imaginings of songs heard in the PC Engine game. This may be because the game has two composers, the other being Tomoyuki Hamad, unfortunately it’s hard to discern who handled what track as there’s no information on the subject.
The game has a very bass heavy, almost jazzy style that I find really keeps the single player mode engaging, it’s hard not to tap your foot to some of these tunes and the battle mode music is frantic with a wonderful little piano line that keeps the intensity high. Jun Chikuma’s career with Bomberman was incredibly prolific and I guarantee I will write about more of her music in the future. Stand out tunes are Area 2, Area 3, and Area 4. Check the future Game Trax episode for more on this game!
If you’re in the mood to play something with a more methodical pace but still want the satisfaction of an action game I would absolutely recommend Super Bomberman. It’s one of those games you can play for a little while, feel accomplished for beating a few levels and put it down. The cheery graphics, fantastic music, and absolutely classic battle mode make this an incredibly well rounded game and an experience that you really can’t get outside of this franchise, if you’re in the mood for something a little different give Super Bomberman for the Super Nintendo a shot!