23 June 2013

Bionic Commando

Game Four
Bionic Commando
Capcom's traditional horrible boxart
Wow. I have to say, this game is freaking awesome.  I posted the other day, I found this store that sells old games and I figured I would stop by. I looked around the store for like an hour, and while they didn’t have much of a collection of pre-playstation games, they did have a few, most notably were NBA JAM for the SNES and UN Squadron which is an amazing shmup that I’m kind of regretting not picking up (having to pay bills sucks). Well instead of getting those two games I looked over towards the door as I was about to leave and I saw this game’s catch screen on a TV. I thought to myself, “Hmm…I’ve heard a lot about Bionic Commando in the past, and I love Capcom…I will pick this up instead.” So I put down my original two games and scoped out this classic. I was not disappointed.
So as many people are aware, Capcom makes amazing games. I’m a huge fan of Capcom, and while I haven’t played every amazing title they’ve put out…I have played a number of them (I LOVE Street fighter). So A quick cleaning of the game, (Which I guess I should just do for all of them because that seems like the only thing that makes these games work…also I love the smell of rubbing alcohol) and Baboom I’m playing some Bionic Commando.

There’s a lot to cover here, so I want to get some of the other stuff out of the way first, the music is awesome. Junko Tamiya, who also did the music for Gun.Smoke and Strider did a fantastic job, but it’s a Capcom game so…duh. I wish there were more to some of the songs, because they loop, but they’re all awesome. The same goes for the graphics, it’s really detailed and colourful and just everything pops, I just wish there were more variety in the soldiers, but I guess that makes sense that they all look like grunts. The story is…uh…pretty good…for an NES game. You have to save a commando named “Super Joe” Who is equally a bad ass off this island while also thwarting the Nazis, more on that later. The story is told mostly through an opening cut scene and also through com screens (similar to Metal Gear Solid’s codecs), some of which are pretty funny, mostly because of the poor translation, but they’re well detailed.
Now the gimmick of this game is that you can’t jump…more on that in a bit…but instead you have this hella rad arm that shoots out and latches onto things and you can swing like a one armed Spider-man…or rather a two armed Spider-Man, but in the other hand he has a huge ass gun…and he can’t jump…and has rad shades. 
A Radd Ladd

You’re this guy, and his name is Ladd (not as awesome as Scorpion…or even Mad Dog…) which is kind of a huge disappointment because they were so close to naming him Rad…or Radd which would have been perfect. You’ve got the arm (rad), and the aforementioned shades (note said radness). Fuck it…I’m renaming him Radd.
So like I said, Radd has this really cool arm, and with your arm you can do a few things. Awesome things. Things like, grab ledges and swing from them (with a really smooth swing animation). You can grab ledges and climb up them, but one thing you can't do is jump. Or climb down, and taking these two basic ideas of platforming away from you is what really takes some getting used to. Oh I forgot there is another thing you can do with your grapple arm and that is that you can miss ledges and fall to your death repeatedly because your grapple arm is a piece of shit. Just kidding it’s actually you that’s shit.
 This game has a really interesting learning curve. The first time you turn it on you’re like “Woah look at that logo, I’m gonna kick some Nazi ass!”(Oh…uh more on the Nazis in a little bit) you hit start and some dudes tell you your mission and you get put on a map screen. You can only go one way so you get to the first part and I guess you might land. This is where the fun starts.

It's the Map.
So to get into the levels you have to parachute in, which is always fucking cool. It’s cool when Big Boss does it in MGS3, it’s cool when James Bond does it, it’s cool I guess in Balloon fight though that’s with Balloons and not a parachute…it’s cool in GTA. You get it, it’s rad…Radd…Bionic ComRadndo…yeah.
Look we’re talking about games from the 80’s, Rad is going to be used as frequently as possible.
Anyway this game...it’s hard. Really hard. Like Nintendo Hard.  Well...at least until you know what you’re doing. See, the mechanic of swinging was so cool, and Capcom knew it was fucking cool, so the entire game is based around how well you can use your brain and reflexes to swing around the map. They through in guns and Nazis (I’m getting to it I swear.) to appease you, but unless you know what’s up and how to actually play the game, you’re going to get fucked. Hard.
When you start the game, you have one hit before you die. You have three lives and then it’s game over. Which is fucking nuts, like, how can someone even think that was fair (oh well it is an arcade port).  But to help your little pansy ass out, Capcom was like, “chill out wee bitch, if you kill these dudes here, they drop shit, and you’ll get health if you pick up these…things.” I guess they’re called bullets? I dunno they look like…a lego or something I dunno they're too small to see. Anyway, if you get like 5 you get a little green box up top and now you can take two hits (still only three lives). The more you collect the more little boxes you get, I think up to 8…I only got 5 by the end of the game. So again, if you stick to it and learn the first level you can get out with like one or two boxes of heath and the item you get at the end of the level is like a free heath kit that you can use once per level.
This is a lot of information that I’m throwing out at you, and this isn’t a walkthrough (trust me I looked one up.) But I guess I could tell you about the items now. When you beat a level on the map, you get an item. It might be a gun, it might be a little helpful item like boots that can kill enemies when you swing at them (which is fucking cool), a bulletproof vest, or the aforementioned health kit…etc. So you pick your load out at the start of a level (which is also fucking cool and cutting edge, way to go Capcom) and certain items make each level easier or harder.
The items....the "bullet" is the top left
This is all well and good except Capcom was like “Who gives a fuck about shooting, this game is about this rad swinging
concept,  here have this epic fucking rocket launcher that wrecks shit on like the third level. Go swing.” So you really get the only load out you need after like three or four levels, which really helps the combat part of the game.
Speaking of parts of the game, the game isn’t all just a Mega Man esque platformer/shooter. There are these little trucks on the map (you might have noticed them in that picture) but when you run into them you’re forced into this top down shooter stage. This is actually a good thing because they’re short, not too difficult (if you know what you’re doing/have the right weapon), and you can pick up the super valuable continues here.
 There is another type of stage that doesn’t involve any combat at all. In fact in these town-like “Neutral Zones” if you fire your weapon, everyone important will leave and a bunch of guards will come attack you forever and ever. Until you leave and come back. 
This game doesn’t have any ridiculously brain tickling puzzles, and you can pretty much just go through and play every level, but you don’t have to if you listen to what the characters say, which is awesome.
Yeah turns out swinging on things is a fucking blast
Once you understand what all the three different stages are and how to get continues, the game really levels off in difficulty, except in the swinging department. Now, like I said Capcom knew that this is what people would remember and what people would find entertaining, so they really made some clever swinging puzzles that make you feel awesome for not only figuring it out, but actually having the dexterity to accomplish them. It isn’t like this is just a mechanic that isn’t only used in one level, but a mechanic that this game that is built around.

There is no denying this, the swinging is the main part of the game, and is truly why this game is remembered. It’s so much fun, so much so that as soon as I had beaten it, I hit reset and beat it again. That’s the sign of a really good game, one that as soon as you put down, you pick up to play it some more. While writing this I want to go back and play it again. Everything about it is great and has that Capcom style, the graphics, the music, the control tightness, the fun factor, it’s all there. It’s been re-released on XBLA and PSN and while I usually love reboots there’s something magical about NES Capcom games, so if you have a working NES I would suggest picking it up for it before your Xbox, but if you don’t you should absolutely pick it up however you can (preferably with a robot arm). Just make sure you get Bionic Commando: Re Armed (there’s also a sequel to this called Rearmed 2) and not the shitty 2009 version…that is not Radd.

+Great Music and Graphics
+Rad as shit story and hero
+Bionic Swinging Arm
+Fight Nazis
-Hard as shit when starting out
-Really didn’t know what I was doing to start
-A couple bullshit swinging puzzles
Great fucking game/10
Go get it, seriously. This is one you should play, especially if you like Capcom or Megaman or fun…
On to the Next one,

Oh right the Nazis…
(Spoilers!) I’m about to spoil a twenty-five year old game! (also Hitler's head exploding)
The games villains are an evil army known as the Badds (but in Japan known as the Nazz). And they’re trying to revive “Master-D” (Hitler in Japan and come on…it’s a buff Hitler) to build the albatross which is a flying ship that has a giant frikkin laser. 

Hitler got buff while being dead I guess.
You end up blowing up the albatross and when Hitler tries to escape you grab a super bazooka, jump off a ledge and blow the fuck out of him and his helicopter in arguably the most epic final sequence this side of Metroid.

And the most brutal killing of Hitler this side of Inglorious Basterds

Anyway, Nintendo didn’t want any references to Nazism so they changed the names around and the symbols to avoid anything like that. I guess I can’t really blame them, but come on…it’s Hitler. Fucking "Master-D” bullshit.

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