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Page 1:
Bionic Commando (Arcade)
Bionic Commando (NES)

Page 2:
Bionic Commando (Game Boy)
Bionic Commando: Elite Forces

Page 3:
Bionic Commando Rearmed

Page 4:
Bionic Commando (2009)

Page 5:
Bionic Commando Rearmed 2

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Bionic Commando - Game Boy (1992)

American Cover

Japanese Cover

The NES game certainly had enough popularity to warrant a translation to the portable green monochrome screen known as the Game Boy. In this case, "translation" means that it's really more of a retelling of the NES game's story than an actual sequel. However, this is certainly not a bad thing, as it retains the swinging gameplay of the original, accurately translated to portable size. Although the plot is much the same of the "rescue Super Joe and foil the Albatross project" premise, you are no longer fighting the Nazis... or Badds, as the case may warrant. The opposition this time around is the Doraize Army, who are growing in power and intend to control the Albatross in order to totally screw over mankind. Only Radd stands in their way.

Although there are many similarities to the NES release, it has enough original flavor to avoid the dubious label of "re-hash." ( Strangely, this game is also known as Bionic Commando in Japan, rather than "Top Secret".) For one thing, the setting appears to be much more futuristic and cybernetic. Instead of traditional military fatigues, up-close visuals of characters reveal them to be fitted in cyberpunk-ish armor and helmets. The overall feel is less dark and has some anime overtones to it, but this new style works out quite well. To compensate for the lack of color, more artistic detail has been placed into the sprites and backgrounds, and they look quite good. As for the sound, some of the music is borrowed from the NES game and sounds surprisingly great on the lesser GB sound processor. The original music is also very fitting for the game, and the first level theme (the one that first plays on Level 0) rocks in all sorts of manners. It does tend to get a little redundant, as like the NES title, several tunes are repeated in the later stages.

There aren't any drastic changes in gameplay, but there are some things to note. The basic format is very familiar, what with the overhead map screen and the mobile enemy vehicles. There are Action Zones and Neutral Zones, but not as many as on the NES game. When you set down in an area, you get to choose your weapon, item, armor, and communicator. There are no changes whatsoever in what you get, and every item is exactly as they are from the NES game, which is just a tad bit disappointing. Maybe at least one extra weapon would have been nice, but oh well. The Action Zones are in a semi-linear format that's not too difficult to figure out, and like its big brother, you will never get lost in any of them. In the comm. rooms, you will have the option to communicate with your own crew or tap into the enemies, and you run the risk of being assaulted if you do the latter. There's also an option that the rooms in the NES version didn't have; the ability to switch weapons and communicators, just in case you brought the wrong one. Quite the nice touch, as it's quite an irritant to travel halfway into a level, only to bail out because you brought the Beta receiver when you should have had the Gamma receiver! As usual, don't shoot a single shot in the Neutral Zone, or your ass will be kicked! There are enemy trucks roving around, and a fight will break out if your path collides with theirs, but the perspective is just the standard sidescrolling plane, as opposed to the overhead Commando-esque shooting scenes. Still, if you destroy the strongest enemy units, you collect continues which will be quite valuable.

Bionic Commando (Game Boy)

You can collect bullets from the fallen enemies, and snagging enough will net you another point of life. Instead of starting out with only one hit to sustain before dying, Radd has three life points in the beginning of the game, which makes the difficulty seem easier at first. The GB game is quite a bit more fast-paced compared to its predecessors, as Radd moves at a brisker running speed that's marginally faster to his pace in the past. The controls manage to improve a bit on the fluidity of the NES game, as control of the Bionic Arm feels even easier. Gravity seems to be a bit more lenient on Radd, as he drops rather slowly after releasing his arm from a ledge above, and can fire it again almost immediately in midair. If he grabs the ceiling straight up, it is possible to pull him up, let go, and in a veritable millisecond, shoot the arm out diagonally and swing off to the left or right! The tradeoff is that the arm seems a bit shorter this time around, but its potency has not lost a step.

At the end of every stage is a reactor core and a guardian to destroy. Usually, you can just destroy the core and pay no attention to the enemies, but a few stages require that you destroy the boss this time around. Some of them are from the NES game (like the bastard with a shield and a mechanical arm of his own), but others, like the dastardly General Rile, are original to the GB game. Some of them can be tricky to beat, but the difficulty never rises TOO far above the line of insanity... right until the very end, where you have to swing outside the Albatross with nothing but 500 miles of pure air below you. It doesn't help that it has thrusters and extremely difficult wings to grasp, and it goes without saying that this section is harder than anything in the entire Bionic Commando continuum! It will probably take you more than twenty-three tries to finally beat the damn thing.

Save for the Albatross bit, Bionic Commando on the Game Boy tends to be a bit easier overall than its NES relative. It also has a few less areas, and the lack of overhead scenes is a bit lame, but aside from all that, this is still a very solid title that has translated very well to the small screen. It also has something that the previous title did not: A password feature! After beating an area, you are given a sequence of squares, triangles, and circles that make up a password. This system is somewhat reminiscent of the Mega Man games, which comes as no surprise because... well, it's Capcom!

Quick Info:

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  • Minakuchi Engineering

Publisher:

Genre:

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Bionic Commando (Game Boy)

Bionic Commando (Game Boy)

Bionic Commando (Game Boy)

Bionic Commando (Game Boy)

Bionic Commando (Game Boy)

Bionic Commando (Game Boy)


Bionic Commando: Elite Forces - Game Boy Color (2000)

American Cover

It seems as if Capcom had left one of their once-shining classics in the dust. It was around this time when several disgruntled old-school gamers muttered "too much Street Fighter, too much Mega Man, grumble grumble" under their breath, and with good reason. Around this time, Capcom had produced many games, many of which were related to Street Fighter and Mega Man, with very few new ideas or sequels to many of their other classic titles, such as Forgotten Worlds or Mercs. There were original games such as Power Stone and Cannon Spike, and they haven't neglected Strider Hiryu (by featuring him in Marvel vs. Capcom and producing Strider 2), but for some, it still wasn't enough. However, there were a few pieces of evidence that they had not completely neglected their roots, which could be found on the Game Boy Color in the form of classic titles such as 1942 and Ghosts 'N Goblins. And who knew that Bionic Commando would also come to the GBC? However, it wouldn't be the same game that longtime fans recognized. To some, it was refreshing to see a new Bionic Commando title with some originality. To others, it was quite the disappointment and shouldn't have been made. This is because Capcom didn't actually make it - they farmed it out to Nintendo, who gave the development to NST, the same team who did the GBC port of Crystalis.

Bionic Commando: Elite Forces was supposedly released on December 31, 1999 (the supposed final hour before Y2K was apparently about to doom mankind), but the copyright screen claims it was released 2000. It opens up with the intro of the story, which is pretty familiar by this point. The land of Karinia is under siege by the Avar army, their leader Arturus found the Albatross Project, Commander Joe (What? He's not so Super anymore?) is sent in to stop it, he fails, and in comes the Bionic Commando to rescue his ass. This time, Radd Spencer is not the protagonist, but you get to name the hero... or heroine. Yep, you get the choice of a male or female BC to take into the field! Their differences are mostly aesthetic, but there are a couple of stages that differ depending on which commando you choose.

After making the choice, you appear on the familiar map screen with the familiar layout, familiar helicopter, and familiar enemy trucks. Yes, it looks just like a BC game should. Though, you may notice that the colors of all stage squares are the same, as opposed to there being one color for Action Zones and another for Neutral Zones. Well... they abolished the Neutral Zones entirely. Although they served little purpose more than containing integral items, they were still a favorite bit of the BC games of old, and it's a shame to see them absent.

The graphics are something of a mixed bag. The colors are put to use quite well, but then again, it is the Game Boy COLOR. In some areas, they appear bright and vivid, but can also be dark and murky. It all depends on the area you're in, be it an urban cityscape or a mysterious forest. On the other hand, the actual backgrounds themselves look fairly bland and... well, frankly, a slight bit ugly. Compared to its predecessors (even the original GB title), it just doesn't appear as appealing. The areas tend to get monotonous as well. Back in the NES, no two Action Zones look the same. Here, you'll often find three areas sharing a very similar look before moving onto new terrain. At least the sprites are animated quite well, and don't look too shabby.

Bionic Commando: Elite Forces

The sound also brings some good and bad. Some of the compositions are rather catchy. The soundtrack is mostly original, with only one of the tunes being carried over from the GB title. The music does tend to become a slight tad repetitive among stages, as the previous games didn't have much variety either. Although is music done fairly well, it has these really primitive sounding "beeps" to it that sound like a first-generation GB game, and considering that even the 1992 release didn't sound like this (it sounded much better, that is), the programmers must be chided for not taking full use of the sound chip. The effects themselves sound rather muddled, and the digitized voice samples are laughable, sounding very crackly and indistinct.

The presentation certainly could have been better, but the action is certainly adequate. The control doesn't feel as tight as it did in the GB title, but it's still relatively easy to control. You can even drop down from ledges by pressing Down twice, which is a good addition. At the communication rooms, you can contact your home base or tap into the enemy frequency to receive inside information. Unfortunately, the element of suspense is diminished, as there are only a few set stages where wire-tapping results in an enemy assault. All you get are a couple of standard soldiers instead of knife guys rushing in while paratroopers fall in until you escape. It just doesn't feel the same. But you can switch weapons and decoders at the comm. rooms, and you can even save! Bionic Commando: Elite Forces runs on battery backup, allowing you to swing, shoot, rest, and pick up right where you left off. However, you can only save in comm. rooms and after passing a level. There are also a couple of hidden comm. rooms that lead to secret levels which are real challenging and truly test your prowess with the Bionic Arm. They don't really offer anything grand for a reward, just a change of your character's color and bragging rights.

Meeting with an enemy truck puts you into an overhead scene, just like the NES game. Instead of moving strictly forward, you'll have to move left and right to get to the end of these scenes. Destroying the powerful enemy vehicles nets you a bonus life. The existence of the Save feature makes continues obsolete (you just pick up where you last saved), so you get lives instead. And you just might need those lives, as you can expect to die quite a bit. It's not so much that the levels are hyper-difficult, but they do tend to frustrate quite a bit, due to the characters being somewhat large on the small screen. On more than one occasion, you will more than likely swing right into an enemy soldier and take a hit. You can hold Up and Down to get a better vertical look of the terrain, but not much can be done horizontally. It can get a bit infuriating to swing forth into unknown territory and only have a millisecond to grasp onto the next ledge or risk plunging into the abyss below. Once you know what you're doing, you should be able to swing around rather easily, but it's just irritating to die before you learn.

There's just something with Elite Forces that doesn't settle well with most gamers. When it first came out it was a blast to have another BC game, but after coming back to it recently, it's pretty average compared to other Capcom games. The graphics are nothing to sneeze about, the sound can become a bit grating, and the gameplay is diminished by the lack of Neutral Zones and somewhat cheap deaths. It's still a BC title and makes for a good game to play every now and then. However, it is rather a far cry from the NES game, or even the GB title. It ain't bad, but it ain't exemplary either

Bionic Commando: Elite Forces

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Director:

  • Josh Atkins

Genre:

Themes:


Bionic Commando: Elite Forces

Bionic Commando: Elite Forces

Bionic Commando: Elite Forces

Bionic Commando: Elite Forces

Bionic Commando: Elite Forces

Bionic Commando: Elite Forces

Bionic Commando: Elite Forces


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Bionic Commando (Arcade)
Bionic Commando (NES)

Page 2:
Bionic Commando (Game Boy)
Bionic Commando: Elite Forces

Page 3:
Bionic Commando Rearmed

Page 4:
Bionic Commando (2009)

Page 5:
Bionic Commando Rearmed 2

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