Imagine if in some alternate universe, Hudson decided to alter Bomberman, turning the character into a futuristic cyborg, eliminating the colorful environments people love, and radically moving the viewpoint to make the game unplayable. Thankfully, people aren’t that stupid in the corporate world anymore, and that alternate universe is nothing more than a passing nightmare.
Remember, it never happened.
Instead, there’s a lively $10 Bomberman title for the Xbox Live Arcade. While it misses a few of the better features from prior outings, this is a superb value for online gaming aficionados. Those holding Xbox Live Silver memberships should hold their Microsoft Points for future games.
The concept of Bomberman is ridiculously simple. Coming from a sad initial outing on the NES, the series flourished when the multi-player aspects came into being, creating classics such as Super Bomberman and Saturn Bomberman. Players are put onto a grid-like stage, laying bombs, which explode outward in four different directions, vertically and horizontally. The idea is to simply trap your opponents without taking yourself out in the process.
Of course, much like the multi-player mayhem of Worms, blowing yourself up is half the fun. Not only is it embarrassing when joining friends, the endless taunting you receive can be sent right back when someone repeats your suicidal death wish a few moments later. Adding to the mayhem are countless power-ups, and power downs that can take away any advantage you’ve gained with one careless step.
For its chaotic movements and speed, this is a highly strategic title and remains so even today. Experienced players will know to use the kick and punch ability to send their weapons across the screen to unsuspecting people avoiding other explosives. Power-ups such as time delay bombs and hard-to-see mines continue a steep rise in the fun factor.