Archive for Bionic Commando

Bionic Commando: Rearmed impressions.

Posted in Xbox360 with tags , on August 23, 2008 by madcow17

I’m amazingly happy to announce (though it’s not exactly new news) that Bionic Commando: Rearmed is out on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 10$ (It is also out on the Playstation Network and PC.) Since I was anticipating the hell out of this game, I wanted to say a few things about it. Firstly, the original Bionic Commando on Nintendo was one of my favorite games in concept. I never, at any point, considered myself good at it. I even thought it was impossible. Maybe it’s that I have a thing for hooks. Back in the day I would play HalfLife (OZdm) and Quake (lithium) mods that added hooks to the game, and I felt it added SO much more to the experience, rather than just running and jumping. I also like games that, while they require skill, you can have your own style and tackle things in your own way.

Before I really get into it, I’d like to applaud them on the demo for this game. It was very clever and actually¬† made me laugh out loud. Dialogue between the characters would go along the lines of “Sir, The enemy is attacking!” “Calm down soldier! It’s just a demo! The enemy can’t reach us!” not exact quotes but it’s stuff like that, sort of making fun of it’s self in a fun way. When you get to the first boss, he exclaims “Pi… pi… pi… End of demo, shutting system down” and the main character is saying “No I want to kick your ass!” This clever writing in the demo was a good idea on their part, as it made me more interested in the full game.

I really like this game. It plays SO well. I can actually say that I’m good at this one now. Maybe they somehow made it easier (to be honest, it’s been SO long since I played the original that I cannot make a fair comparison) but I find this to be an incredibly fun experience. For anyone who doesn’t know, this game is a remake from a classic nintendo game made many many years ago. It is a side scrolling platformer that contains no jumping, at all. Instead, you get around by shooting your bionic hook arm either above you, diagonal left and right, or straight left and right, to latch on to various objects and then swing yourself or pull yourself up (or if you’re latching on to something ground level, you can slide along the ground.)

The premise is that you’re pretty much a super soldier dropped behind enemy lines going from mission to mission looking for your captured comrade, Joe, I believe his name was. So you embark on your journey through the use of a tactical map, showing where you can go. The map contains missions, friendly outposts, and roaming enemy encounters. Should you hit one of these roaming enemy encounters, you’re thrown into a top-down, rambo-to-the-end shooter, which shares a resemblance with the likes of SmashTV and the overhead bits from Contra games. So far these are so simple they’re pretty much a pointless waste of time, but I have yet to scale up the difficulty, so that might not be fair to say.

While you can attack missions in almost any order you want, you’ll see instances like in Zelda: You can’t go to this dungeon until you have the power glove to lift the abnormally heavy rock blocking it. It isn’t anything annoying, I choose a pretty random pattern for attacking the missions and I was still awarded all the items necessary to move on with minimal backtracking. Also if you try a mission and can’t get past due to one of these obstacles, when you extract from the mission your pilot will chime in and let you know why and what you need to do about it. So there are no moments of “Where do I go?”

The gameplay is phenominal, featuring many moments where you sit back and say “Wow, that was cool!” I have -SO- much fun trying to get from place to place, seeing if i can do it without touching the ground, looking for interesting ways to take down enemies. I found myself just having fun, like I was in a sandbox that had a goal. You’re given armor and weapon upgrades that add a great deal of variety to combat. You have your shotgun for close range, your basic blaster for infantry, laser rifle for mechanical enemies, rocket launcher for certain walls and enemies (This seems to make incredibly short work of bosses) and a few other things that are unknown to me (I’m on mission 10 or so, I still have a few things to get.) Each weapon has a unique look and feel.

You’ll essentially get around missions by hunting down computer terminals and communicating with your allies, having them open secure doors ahead of you. You can also choose to hack the computer via a fun (but hard to describe) mini game where you have to maneuver an orb into a goal by rotating a cube and firing it in different directions. Once hacked, you get to see a snippet of dialogue between the enemy that often offers insight on the story, or tips for the upcoming boss fight.

The boss fights vary. I had a few boss fights that were enjoyable, but so far i’ve seen two bosses rehashed later in the game, and you can dispatch them with the same tactics and seemingly same difficulty as the first time through. There was one boss fight that had me scratching my head for a minute, and when I figured it out, it was a very creative idea for a boss fight. I feel it’s been so long since i’ve played a game that consists of stages ending in boss fights, so I had a good time, and it was refreshing to me.

Now onto the graphics. I don’t think people reinvent 2d games with 3d graphics enough. I think there is a huge market for it, but few companies are bold enough to try it. Castlevania Symphony of the Night is EASILY my favorite game, and IMO, the best game of all time. So I have a passion for 2d games looking pretty, and this game sits very well with me. It plays so smooth and it’s so beautiful. The explosions from grenades and rockets are VERY impressive. The levels vary with terrain, and they did a great job on each type. So far the game hasn’t come close to feeling dull or tired for me, and if it did, I could hit up a friendly outpost and check out the games VR-esque missions, which are pretty much timed obstacle courses that resemble the VR missions from Metal Gear Solid. I’ve only played a few of these but i see great potential in them being fun.

The last thing i’ll mention is the music. When you start the first level, you parachute in and the music starts. It reminds me of a song from a war movie where they’re in the desert (wish I could remember more) and it gave me this excellent feeling that I was behind enemy lines in a war. There are songs that seem more rock-oriented, while some of the factory themed areas have a more techno sound. I found myself tapping my foot to a few of the tunes, so that’s always good. I wish I could remember enough from the original game to be able to say with any certainty whether or not the songs are remixes from the originals, but I can’t. Very catchy, fitting music though.

So to wrap it up. This game is for the most part (about 95%) very awesome. I highly recommend it. There are a few concerns I had when playing, and they’re pretty minmal. One was loading screens. They seemed a little long for what the game was. Every building you go into, every mission you start, every time you leave a map, there’s a 5-10 second loading screen. It’s not TERRIBLE by any means, but I did let out a sigh a few times when I accidently went somewhere I didn’t mean to. Another small issue was the VR missions. The few I played seemed to have ridiculous standards to 5-star them. I was going through them SO fast, not seeing anywhere I could possibly improve speed, and I would still get 4 stars. This was only on the first few so my conern is for the more advanced ones later on. I guess I just have issues with games demanding I be perfect at it (I hope to write an entry about this soon.) But in the end, this game comes highly recommended. It’s the best game i’ve purchased for 10 dollars in a very long time.

Edit: I forgot to mention that this game boasts multiplay, but sadly not over live. I haven’t tried this yet, so your guess is as good as mine on it.

I hope to also discuss Geometry Wars Retro Evolved 2 very soon, so keep an eye out for that. I need to peel myself away from bionic commando and unlock more modes first.