NES – #5 – Bionic Commando

History:

Another game I never played. Definitely heard about it often though.

Expectations:

I’m extremely leery. When sidescrollers take away my jump button I get really scared. Still, being that this title kicks off the top 5 I’m hoping for a good time!


Day 1: wpid-20150508_222502.jpg It’s strange. I played this game for about an hour and made literally zero progress. At first I didn’t realize I could move freely around the map, and after that I still wasn’t able to clear any of the stages I tried. What I was able to do (while dying repeatedly) was get a good feel for the grappling arm. At first, I instinctively wanted to jump all over the place, but after a short time swinging through the stages felt like second nature and was a blast to boot! After my prolonged fail session I decided to fire up the Youtubes for some playthroughs and got a MUCH better idea of what I was supposed to be doing. Will definitely be picking this one up again when I get the chance.


Day 2:

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Originally I was really grappling with the idea of this game, but now it’s safe to say I’m hooked. I use to just hang there in front of my NES deciding whether or not to grab onto a controller, but now I’m ready to swing into action…

Puns…

No but really, now that I know how to play through the levels I’m actually loving this game, despite it insisting on handing my ass to me. Swinging around stages is now second nature and insanely fun, and overcoming enemies and obstacles feels great.

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I was originally confused by things like the communication systems, and what I could and couldn’t shoot, and that was frustrating. Now that I’m passed that, I’m finding this game makes a TON more sense. Navigating the level select screen was awkward as well until I released the numbers didn’t really correlate to level order or difficulty, and that the red, higher numbered levels are effectively utility stages.

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Of course none of this (oh man I need to clean my TV) none of this new understanding changes the fact that Bionic Commando is out for blood! Levels can range from manageable to slightly insane, which isn’t surprising given Capcom’s involvement, and portions of some stages even give off a strong Mega Man vibe, not that that’s at all a bad thing!

Unlike Mega Man, you only get three continues in this game, and so far I tend to use them all up right around the halfway point of the game, with can also get a little frustrating.

Still, it definitely feels like a difficulty that can be overcome, and I look forward to spending more time with it!


Day 3:

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Woke up this morning intent on saving Super Joe and beating Bionic Commando, and that’s exactly what I did!

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I finally made it passed the Area 6 halfway point I was stuck on yesterday and the game didn’t get a whole lot easier from there. Additionally, I got stuck right towards the end, unable to find the final Orange Key Card, but a quick Google consultation resolved that quickly enough. The travel can definitely be tedious…

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I was starting to get really concerned towards the end that I might be playing an NES war game that doesn’t somehow reference Russia or Hitler. Luckily…

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The day is saved! GO JOE!


Conclusion:

Despite my early apprehension, this ended up being one of my favorite NES games so far! It felt completely new, yet very familiar. The grappling mechanic was immensely satisfying to master, and navigating later levels was a blast. I do think the earlier frustration was somewhat merited though, as navigating the map wasn’t particularly intuitive, or rather, didn’t provide much in the way of direction. Definitely a departure from Mega Man which released a year earlier, but manageable once understood.

All in all I have to say I think I enjoyed Bionic Commando more than any other action platformer on the console so far, except perhaps Mega Man 3, but it’s close!

Liked:

– Fantastic grappling mechanic made traversing leveling incredibly fun.
– Great music, and for an ’88 title really great graphics.
– Difficulty curve was nearly perfect, and felt very rewarding.
– Super cheesy story and dialogue was fun to read.
– Great level design.
– Navigation and inventory system was a really good feature once understood.

Disliked:

– Lack of direction made learning some aspects of the game frustrating.

Bionic COmmando

2 comments on “NES – #5 – Bionic Commando

  1. Pingback: Playthrough Analysis – 146 Games | 600 Games

  2. Pingback: Playthrough Analysis – 193 Games | 600 Games

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