Bargain Gaming – Bomberman Jetters

Posted on Oct 06 2011

All right, so by now you should have read Tyto’s article on the Bomberman Jetters anime. If you haven’t go and read it now. Seriously. I’m waiting.

Okay, so now that you’ve gained a bit of back-story on the anime adaptation of the classic Bomberman game series, you can probably see where this is going. A game was released for the anime series despite the fact that it was based on a game in the first place. But this should come as no surprise to most of you, as this sort of thing happens in movie adaptations all the time. What should come as a surprise is that I’m reviewing said game: Bomberman Jetters for the Gamecube. After all, if the anime was never released in the states why would I review a game that we stateside gamers never even saw? But that’s the trick, you see! The game actually was released outside of Japan, despite the fact that we had never even heard of the anime it was based off of (likely because they played it off as just another game in the series). So this leads to an interesting question: can a game based on an anime still be good if we are lacking the context of said anime? Let’s find out, shall we.

Well, let’s start off with the one aspect for which the anime is completely irrelevant: the multiplayer. I’m sure most of you are already familiar with the classic Bomberman layout, what with the bevy of games that are out there, but for those of you that aren’t, allow me to recap. Essentially there is a map consisting of two types of blocks, ones that can be destroyed by bombs and ones that can’t. The ones that can be destroyed have a chance of having power ups for your bomberman, such as the ability to lay additional bombs at once and to kick bombs away from you. You use the blocks and power ups in order to trap or outmaneuver your opponents, blowing them up in order to secure victory. It’s a fun game type that has been the backbone of the Bomberman series from the beginning, and as such it is no surprise that it has been included here. If you enjoy Bomberman then this mode alone is a good reason to pick this title up, as it is as solid as ever and a good way to pass the time with a couple of friends.

But this is not the meat of the game, instead being just a pleasant addition to the single player story mode. And while it still uses the classic overhead view and bombs, that is where the similarities between the two versions end. For where in the multiplayer you are restricted to just grid based movement, in the single player you can run around the open map in any direction, giving you total freedom of movement. Unfortunately this movement is staunched a bit by the stiff camera, which can make it difficult to line up bombs when you are trying to target specific locations or enemies. It can take a bit of getting used to, but once you overcome this stiffness the ability to plant, throw, or kick bombs into position offers the player a great deal of freedom in how to deal with your enemies. And that’s not even getting in to the different types of bombs and power-ups that are available to you throughout the game!

For you see, you are not just limited to the basic bomb type that is available to you in the multiplayer battles. You also have several different elemental type bombs that you can unlock through progressing through the game, adding an additional layer of strategy to how you engage the enemy. Enemy has an elevated weakpoint? Use the hurricane bomb in order to create a whirlwind and nail it! Enemies movement pattern is too unpredictable to hit with a single bomb? Switch back to the standard fire bomb and lay out as many as five bombs simultaneously in order to cut the enemy off. On top of this you also collect charaboms as you progress, strange animal companions that each possess a different special ability (some of which you need in order to progress through the game). These charaboms can also be leveled up by feeding them fruit, which is as simple as picking up a fruit item when you have a charabom equipped, with each charabom having three levels to its ability. And while the concept may seem silly at first, they do add a nice layer of customization to the game, allowing you to switch between them and your bomb types on the fly.

The visuals are also nice, with a pleasant cel-shaded look to them that makes the game worlds feel vibrant and interesting to look at. The characters are all recognizable as well (assuming you’ve watched the anime), with Shirobon aka White Bomber and MAX playing the role of the protagonists and the other characters acting as support or obstacles to you as you progress. The most memorable use of these characters are the four elemental bombermen mentioned in Tyto’s review: Mermaid Bomber, Thunder Bomber, Flame Bomber, and Grand Bomber. And yet these four are only used as mid-bosses in the game, each being subsequently followed up on by an end stage boss that is just as tough as they are. Throw in a nice, if clearly recycled from the anime, opening and you have a decent set of visuals with which to draw the player in to White Bomber’s struggle.

But what really surprised me about this game’s presentation was actually the audio, as the localization team went to the trouble to dub all of the characters. And, outside of one or two questionable choices, all of the voices seem to fit the characters rather well and the voice acting is fairly solid overall. This, of course, begs the question as to why the anime was never released in the states once again. After all, from this we can see that they have the voice actors and, as Tyto said, this would probably be one of the easiest series to do voice acting for, what with the lack of mouths and all. But, really, that has nothing to do with the game, so let’s move on to the music of the game, which all-in-all is passable. None of it is particularly memorable mind you, but overall the music fits the theme of the stages and made the game that much more enjoyable. I really only have two complaints about the game’s audio. The first thing is that since there’s no real time limit on the stages the audio starts to loop noticeably when you get caught up in later stages, which can be quite annoying. The other thing that bothered me was the game’s opening, as it was just the opening to the anime. This is not a problem in and of itself mind you, as the anime’s opening was pretty good. No, the problem comes from the fact that they arbitrarily redubbed the opening with a mediocre song that doesn’t fit the visual theme of the opening (or game for that matter) at all. This bugs me every time I turn on the game, to the point where now I just skip the opening so I don’t have to suffer through it. But other than these two admittedly minor gripes I was rather pleased with the audio portion of the game, as I found that it complemented the visuals nicely.

But the one major flaw that plagues this game from the very beginning is the story, as it assumes that you’re already somewhat familiar with the world it is based on. Sure, you can overcome large points of it through its sheer simplicity (evil comet is going to destroy the world, clear the stages on the comet in order to save it!), but I couldn’t help but feel bad for anyone who’s never heard of the anime before. The game immediately opens up with the Hige Hige bandits, leaving non-fans wondering who these people are and why they want to destroy White Bomber’s planet in the first place. And it doesn’t get any better when you are immediately teamed up with MAX, as unless you’ve seen him from somewhere else you have no idea as to who he is or why he is teaming up with you. And this isn’t going into the side characters constantly giving you advice as you play. Who are these people? Why do they care? Why do I care? I’m not asking for a novel or anything, but a bit more back story for players who’ve never heard of the anime would not be a disagreeable addition. The game is still serviceable from a basic save the world standpoint, but at the end of the day the story really isn’t helping matters.

But despite this drawback I still have to recommend this game (if you can find it), as it’s a fun title and it provides an interesting take on the game type. I found a copy for under five bucks, and considering the fact that each stage clocks in between 10 to 20 minutes and there are over 20 stages it is definitely worth the investment. But even if you can’t find the game or don’t feel like investing your lunch money, at least check out the anime if you can find it. As Tyto said, the series is an excellent adaptation of the classic game series into anime form, so if you have any love for the Bomberman games at all I really must suggest you try and find a copy of it. Believe me, it’s worth it.

In the meantime, though, I need to go finish preparations for my Halloween special review, so I will see all you guys later. Until that time this is Bargain Gamer, logging off!

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  • nerdwerld October 8, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    I haven’t really played bomber man since I played a game back on the N64.

    • Bargain Gamer October 8, 2011 at 8:32 PM

      ASDFGHJKL-Bomberman 64 was AMAZING!! Oh man, I need to go see if I can find my copy, because that was a fantastic game. Thank you for reminding me.

      • nerdwerld October 9, 2011 at 1:21 PM

        Yeah, I think we rented it from Hollywood video or something. I barely remember the game, it was like from the early 2000’s or late 90’s when I rented from that place anyway. It wasn’t very remember-able back then :p

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