Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Bionic Commando: Elite Forces - Forget how to jump! Swing into enemies with your mighty claw!
The gameboy color was my system of choice during my time spent abroad in Germany. That was a rather turbulent era of my life so the games I played during that time are the ones I have the fondest memories of. While this particular game might not be familiar to you, as Bionic Command Rearmed 2 has been released less than a year ago. This game had some impressive features as it pulled off things I didn't think were possible on the little handheld at all. The question remains though if this game is worth your time? Read on.
Bionic Commando: Elite Forces was released in 1999 and surprisingly enough it was developed by Nintendo Software Technology aka the Nintendo's American development team, are you aware that they even had one?! Well they do and it turns out that they're not half bad! This game is part of the long running "Bionic Commando" franchise that actually belongs to Capcom. It borrows elements from the NES title so it almost feels like a remake but is actually quite different from it's predecessors in levels later on. The premise is also different, as it takes place in a land called Karinia that is under constant attack by the Avars lead by evil mastermind: Arturus. Bionic commando Super Joe is deep within enemy lines having found the top secret plans of the Avars but ends up being captured, so it's up to the elite forces (THAT'S YOU!) to rescue Super Joe and stop Arturus once and for all!
You choose from either a male or female bionic commando but they both play the same and the one you don't end up picking becomes a side character that gives tips to you while you're inside a communication tower. As an action-adventure title, you should know that there isn't a jump button anywhere in this little game. In order to get around you have to rely on your bionic claw to take you where you need to go by swinging from point A to point B. Stages start off simple enough as you clear simple gaps, but soon you'll be swinging above spike pits and climbing on ceilings but the difficult scales nicely so things won't get too hard too quickly! You're also armed with an assault rifle but as you clear stages you'll be finding new weapons and equipment to take into levels with you. There's also mini-games you can play like a "sniper" mode where you pick off soldiers from a distance and it features some surprisingly detailed blood for a game that has an "E for Everyone" rating. Another gameplay feature is the top-down mode where the game plays something like Commando or Ikari Warriors as it's just straight-up run-and-gun gameplay which is always pretty fun.
For an Gameboy color game, the sprites are surprisingly well animated, particularly talking about the running and swinging animations. Portrait sprites are goofy looking, mainly for the male commando, so the overall art style isn't so great. Music is upbeat but nothing really amazing, it's just enough to get you pumped to do some shooting. Amusingly enough, they managed to fit in digitized voice acting in this game, you hear the words "Sniper" or "choose your weapon", it's all pretty sporadic though, and you can barely understand it if you're not listening closely but it's all still pretty impressive given it's technology though.
All-in-all, this game was actually really good and it stayed true to the roots of the original Bionic Commando for the NES. Whether it's as good as the titles before it is up for some heated debate though. Don't get me wrong this game did a lot of things right, but it's just missing that special charm that made Bionic Commando so cool. Still, this is a great Gameboy color game in it's own right so check it out.