Retro: VC Weekly #150

Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe's guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo's download service. Written by Sam C Gittins.

A lot can happen in four years, the Wii has recently celebrated its fourth birthday and in addition to providing us with several astounding retail offerings it has also played host to many classic downloadable titles thanks to the Virtual Console which has been around since the launch of the Wii itself.

From the beginning N-Europe has been committed to reviewing every single one of these titles within this very column 'VC Weekly' which was originally started by Jordan Khoviteri-Zadeh who unfortunately decided to bow-out after VC Weekly #7 due to personal reasons.

Since that point in time I - Sam C Gittins - have written each instalment of the article up to and including this very milestone of #150... you may be pleased to know - or not - that I plan to carry on writing this article which has given me the opportunity to play a wide range of titles that I'd never have got the chance to otherwise not to mention reliving many classics from my own childhood and so to the Virtual Console I would like to say a huge 'thank you' for the good times it has provided.

I would also like to thank our Head of Media Justin Marimon for creating the stunning new look graphics for the column and of course every mini-box and header for each instalment and every game since it began. I'd also like to thank all staff members at N-Europe for their support over the years and of course 'you' the readers for taking the time to read and comment for without you, this article would be nothing.

Here's to the future of VC Weekly and this week's edition which features another entry in a long-running series starring a much-loved caveman. Anyway that's more than enough from me and so it's on with the game!

Available for download this week we have...

  • Super Bonk

Points: 800
Publisher: Hudson
Developer: Hudson
Released: 1995
System: SNES

Firstly I'd like to apologise to the quite brilliant 'Bonk' as I recall being rather unkind in my review of Bonk's Revenge way back in VC Weekly #8 as I quite wrongly compared it to many Nintendo platform titles which while they may be 'better' in many ways it didn't need mentioning quite as heavily and as a result I missed out on the many virtues that the platform series based around the popular caveman character had to offer.

A little wiser - hopefully - and more experienced at reviewing I now clearly see what I missed from the beginning as it's a brilliant series and this could not be more evident - for me - than in Super Bonk which is the first foray for the series onto the Super Nintendo and what a welcome one it is indeed. You take control of Bonk once again as he's thrust through time by the evil King Drool and now must find his way back home.

Due to the series originating on the TurboGrafx-16 the game didn't seem to be that well appreciated at the time which is a shame because Hudson did a brilliant job of using the SNES hardware to bring Bonk to life in an excellent new way. Fortunately its gained the status of a cult classic over the years and with good reason too because everything that makes Bonk brilliant is here plus some added design choices that make the game more of a challenge to play but at the same time never quite bordering on unfair.

Your move-set remains largely unchanged as you retain the ability to head-but enemies both on the ground and in mid-air, destruction of certain obstacles is possible plus the ability to shrink and increase Bonk's size by eating different coloured sweets which you'll find is integral to the gameplay. There are several bonus stages including a rather enjoyable cloud- jumping interlude and an almost mini-game where you need to throw plants into a net... mounted on top of an alligator.

Level designs feel more ambitious than the first games but you may find yourself wondering what to do next on numerous occasions; while the overall game itself is actually quite short overall it's still very much enjoyable and most likely will still require a couple of sittings to complete. There may be lengthier platform titles out there but Super Bonk still holds its own due to the sheer amount of enjoyment that playing the game brings and manages to produce many genuine moments that'll most likely make you smile.

Aesthetically everything looks very nice indeed and while there was nothing wrong with the visual style of the earlier games the extra power from the SNES lends itself well to producing an extra layer depth to the already impressive level of presentation. While it may not be the most memorable in the series for its audio make no mistake that there are still many catchy tunes here and some rather meaty sound effects have been added which helps to bring the bold coloured levels as well as the eccentric enemies and bizarre bosses to life like never before.

Fans of the original games would be well advised to give Super Bonk a go as it's a fantastic entry not to mention a decent platform title in it's own right and if you're a fan of the genre then you really can't go far wrong. Just don't go expecting something of similar calibre to say... Super Mario World as you'd be setting your expectations a little to high but while this title may lack a certain 'refinement' in its slightly sluggish controls - which add to its charm - it more than makes up for it in the extremely entertaining experience that it provides.

Verdict : A beautifully bold and brilliant Bonk title.

That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!

Sam Gittins
[email protected]

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