Retro: VC Weekly #158

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

There has been a distinct lack of third-party N64 titles on the VC so you would think that any addition would be welcome but this release is something of a mixed bag even if it is from a generally popular series. Anyway enough from me and on with the game!

Available for download this week we have...

  • Bomberman Hero

Points: 1000
Publisher: Hudson
Developer: Hudson
Released: 1998
System: N64

Undeniably the main attraction of Bomberman has always been the multiplayer component ever since it was introduced and while the single player sections have historically held up reasonably well there was always the more popular part of the game to fall back on. However in Bomberman Hero for whatever reason Hudson decided to shun the multiplayer in favour of a solely solo adventure, but is that alone enough to justify purchase? Sadly not as I will attempt to explain.

This isn't the first N64 title in the series either as there was Bomberman 64 - along with others - before this which successfully brought everything decent about the series into 3D without sacrificing too much and I hope that Hudson will see sense and choose to release that next because quite honestly what we have here is a mixed bag at best. Strangely even the single player has been changed from the natural off-shoot from the multiplayer which it always felt like where you would explore reasonably well designed maze-like levels whilst blowing up enemies and collecting keys but here everything familiar seems to have been eschewed in favour of something new and unfounded.

You can move around in full 3D in what's best described as a platform title with bombs, speaking of which you can now throw the explosives you lay down directly at your enemies which you'll be doing a lot because gone are the many blocks that used to be in your path as most of the levels are a relatively straightforward journey from one point to another blowing up a few enemies and collecting some keys along the way. Interspersed between the usual levels are vehicle sections including a Helicopter Hat, Jet-pack, Snowboard and Submarine; these add a certain amount of diversity to the proceedings but sadly the levels are mostly even more linear than the standard levels and predictably will end in a boss fight that's never that taxing.

Containing over seventy levels in total with medals to collect which unlock even more ways to play, there is no fear over content here but the point is that it's highly debatable whether or not you'd want to invest precious time seeing it all. Visually things aren't bad but it never reaches amazing heights in the graphical department plus the audio really isn't that catchy for a Bomberman title which is a shame when you consider that I can still remember many of the tunes from older titles in the series which just goes to show that not really that much care or attention went into making this title, oh and I won't patronise you by going over the story because it's virtually non-existent even for the type of game it is.

Overall I can't even recommend it for long-term fans of the series because it's so different that it seems to go against most of what the series stand for; there may be the odd moment in the game that really stands out but these are so few and far between that it hardly seems worth playing for and at a thousand points I'd even say it's not worth paying for. Wait for the other Bomberman N64 games which will inevitably follow as they are a lot better and actually contain multiplayer.

Verdict : Bomberman but not as you know or love.

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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