Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bionic Commando (NES Game)

Bionic Commando is a pretty unique game as NES games go. It's a platformer in which your character can't jump. He has a bionic arm that can be used to grapple and swing from platform to platform. The bionic arm is easy to learn and fun to use. It adds an extra special something to the game.

Now here's a fun fact I didn't know before: the original Japanese version of this game was all about the main character taking down Hitler. In the US version, the Nazi themes are played down so much they're hardly noticeable. Check out the side-by-side of the two versions below:

The one on the left is the Japanese version which clearly shows swastikas. The one on the right is the American version which shows a black bird, possibly an eagle. Although the black eagle was a symbol used by Nazis, it's not exclusive to Nazism, which makes it ok for Americans to play in some odd inexplicable way. Seriously, when this game came out the original Castle Wolfenstein was already 7 years old and that game is rife with Nazi killin' fun.

Leaving the Nazi connection aside, it must be stated that Bionic Commando is one of the most fun games in the NES catalogue. The levels are well-designed and the gameplay is simple and addictive. After a few grapples, you'll find that you love your bionic arm. Your weapons and other items are interesting and all have their benefits. Oh, and the game is actually more fun if you tell yourself that you're killing Nazis and eventually Hitler.

You'll move your way through the stage selection screen, ordering your helicopter where to move or drop you. There are enemy zones where you'll meet a ton of danger and communicate with allied operatives along the way. You can also wire-tap enemy comminiques, which might give you added info but might also get you killed. There are also neutral zones where no shots may be fired without inciting an incident more dangerous than anything in the enemy zones. The neutral zones are often filled with information vital to your missions. In addition to the regular mode of play, there is an overhead mode that you'll enter any time you come across an enemy convoy. The overhead mode is a lot like Commando or Ikari Warriors and is yet another attractive addition to this game.

The main question is this: with all that Bionic Commando offers, is it up there with the very greatest the NES can offer (your Super Mario 3's, your Metroids, your Zeldas)? I have to say yes. So much of greatness is based on gameplay and replayability and Bionic Commando has both in spades. I have played through this cartridge many times and I feel it deserves to be up there with the very best. No question, Bionic Commando gets the full...

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