Game-A-Week: Bionic Commando

Title: Bionic Commando (PC)

The Gist: Years ago during the days of Arcade and NES games a commando named Nathan Spencer (bionic enhanced of course!) laid waste to enemy lines and protected the Federation from the evil Empire (Think Star Trek meets Star Wars; Data battling Storm Troopers with a grapple based arm!). Today the world has developed a phobia of bionic soldiers and decided to put Nathan on death row; that is until an experimental weapon devastates a major city and a horde of baddies set up shop. Now they’re asking Nathan to jump into a torpedo like shell, get fired into said devastated city and find out what’s going on…why would he do this you ask? For love! As always…those who’ve set you free have information on the girl of your dreams and they’ll tell you what they know in exchange for a completely insane mission into enemy territory. Bless.

Pros: This isn’t just a remake of a classic NES game with modern graphics, it’s a continuation of the story…of a man…and his bionic arm. The game play is kinda interesting, I really liked the ability to grapple onto virtually anything in the game and either swing from it or use it as a weapon. It felt really fun avoiding a group of enemies on the ground, mounting a building and pulling a monorail cart down onto them. The swinging feature is really fun to play with and adds an extra element to gunfights against enemies. The environment for the first section of the game is pretty realistic, well designed and felt quite open world. Certain sections of the game however are cut off through radiation. It seems your bionic parts are sensitive to radiation and leaving the areas designed for you to play in results in death.

There are some collectables throughout the game in the form of 8-bit logos; I appreciated the nod to the classic game as you could tell the people who made this appreciated the classics. There are some other in game bits to note such as Nvidia billboards and posters for another Capcom game named Dark Void (gonna pick that up on sale at some point!. if only for Bear McCreary’s soundtrack). The attention to detail wasn’t all strawberries and cream though (alright it’s peaches and cream but I prefer strawberries…) which brings me onto the cons.

Cons: PAPER! Whilst playing the first level you’ll note bits of paper flying around in the air. That’s all well and good for a city that’s been attacked by a super weapon but the graphics for these bits of paper are appalling. If creating an animation for flying bits of paper was that difficult at the time this game was being designed I’d really rather they not be included in the game because it seriously pulls you away from some really great backgrounds and environmental details. There isn’t much else negative I could say about the game. Pity the game didn’t sell more copies (found this out on Wikipedia…I know original right?) turns out Terminator Salvation’s movie tie in game that was released at around the same time sold nearly twice as many copies during their first month after release meaning that Capcom haven’t exactly impacted the gaming market too well.

Musical Note: The soundtracks good…yet a little fragmented. To be honest I was a bit surprised that when loading up the game I would be greeted with a classical style track for the title screen/menu. Having played the NES remake Bionic Commando: Rearmed I sort of expected some retro 8-bit inspired techno beat. The rest of the soundtrack was made up of action film like tracks you’d find in the new Batman films with the occasional rock song heard on an in game radio such as this one. Quite a bizarre mix overall, however the action-film-like music dominates the other tracks on the soundtrack.

Hunger Level: It was fun and I wouldn’t say no to another session with this game. Very much imbued with retro roots and whilst it isn’t one of the best games I’ve played gave me a few fun game features such as swinging between buildings and opening fire on my enemies from above.

Conclusion: If you’re a fan of the original I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, especially seeing as a remake of the original graced Steam/Xbox Live and PSN around the same time of this games release. A cool feature of owning that retro remake on the PC is that it links to your copy of Bionic Commando:

Cross-game interoperability – complete specific parts of Bionic Commando Rearmed to unlock new content and hints for the Bionic Commando sequel” – I really love this sort of thing ^.^

Speaking of the remakes, bring out Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2 on Steam! Overall a nice attempt at bringing the past to the present so give it a try and take your bionic arm out for a test drive.

“One Hour, One Review, One ‘Game-A-Week’ @ Black Vinculum”

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