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RELEASE DATE (NA): July 31, 1997 GENRE: Action
// review by EscapeRouteBritish


This is why we can't have nice things. Atomic Bomberman was developed outside of Japan, and by a completely different company than Hudson Soft. It would have to be, because the Japanese certainly weren't going to make a game called [ATOMIC BOMB]erman. As one would expect, this game has a completely different presentation style and is jarring to actual Bomberman fans, the real fans. You know, the ones who care. At the time, it was the only Bomberman product available on PC (besides the 1992 entry), and even managed to avoid having a slow framerate and causing blue screens, well, provided you could get this piece of dog defecation to work.

Everything is off, like, they took the idea of Bomberman and then changed little things bit by bit until it no longer resembled the thing we all know and love. Bomberman isn't his usual cheery self: he is grotesquely abhorrent, and with an angry expression one would have never expected to see from Bomber'boozle himself. And the language, gee whiz. We'll get to that.

Even when we try very hard (but I really just can't) to ignore the ugliness on show, there is unfortunately little on offer here. The game can only be played in traditional Death Match mode, with another human player cramped around the keyboard. You can also play it with AI that is almost impossible to defeat. There are all the usual powerups you expect — firepower, bombs, remote bombs, skates, gloves, kick bombs... and my favourite of all, diseases. Diseases such as bomb diarrhoea, high speed, short fuses... The game was supposed to have online play, but it was never finished. I imagine if it had been implemented, Atomic Bomberman would probably still have a cult following and small online community.

They'd all be pretty awful people. A tie for worst gaming crew with those Donkey Konga fellows. I may have just made a call-back to a previous review...

This really is as bad as it looks, trust me.

The most fondly remembered feature is the Editor, which allows you to create battle sets. You can place blocks, conveyers, adjust item placement and density, or just draw any old offensive image in blocks and set it as the default, so when your friend next fires up the game they get a big bag o' handsome genitals on screen. This is something that happened to me once, and I never figured out who did it. This one feature gives Atomic Bomberman a bit more value, say, a couple of cents more.

While the gameplay itself is pretty spot on from Bomb R.R. Tolkien's usual fare, the lack of single player mode (even if it were the original 100 floors) is a shocking omission. I would have loved to have seen how despicable the enemies would have looked in this ugly CGI style. All those chippy tunes replaced with non-melodius trance garbage. This isn't Bomberman, this isn't from a man, it's from Hell itself.

Turns out though, as with a product as incomplete as this one, a campaign mode does in fact exist. And it wasn't exactly dummied out either, after choosing to play a match, tapping the C key five times loads up the campaign menu. Enjoy the work in progress glory of floating Pac-Man ghosts. Experience levels such as Garlic Croutons and Spicy Croutons! No, wait, that made it sound exciting. It isn't.

The game has lived on in infamy thanks to hidden voice files on the disc, which bring into question that Kids-to-Adults rating from ESRB. When patched into the game, you can hear classic one-liners such as "I'll break your fuckin' head in with a ratchet!" The game earns bonus points for having an unused line, "I'm being oppressed!" — likely a nod to a famous PowerPuff Girls episode.

Atomic Bomberman is what it is. And what is it? Atomic Bomberman. There are worse ways to enjoy a Friday evening, but there are also much better ways. Much, much better ways.

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