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  1. Covarr

    OP Covarr Sentient Cash Register

    Oct 21, 2005
    United States

    Bomberman has been around for quite a long time. Various games in the series are available for pretty much any console or handheld you can think of, yet each version manages to be different from the others in some way or another. Unlike many others, the Bomberman series is able to be quite innovative without losing what made the first as good as it was. It's no surprise, then, that the DS version of Bomberman does exactly the same, making it a great hybrid of new and old.


    The basic formula is the same as always: walk around on a 2D plane, blow up enemies and obstacles, don't blow up yourself. Single player mode, just as in most other Bomberman games, has 100 levels. These levels, as usual, start out kind of interesting, but get dull and repetitive quickly. There is, however, a new feature that has a major effect on the single player game: powerup storage. In past games, collecting a powerup would activate it immediately, forcing you to choose whether or not a specific powerup would be beneficial. Now, every powerup you collect goes into a pool for activation whenever you want. The bottom screen shows, rather than the main game, the pool of powerups. First there is a set of three different types of powerups, with arrows to scroll between the sets and choose which one you want. Below is a button that lets you access the latest powerup you collected. Since these are handled by touch, it is possible to contol this while still keeping one hand on the D-Pad so that you can dodge enemies. Of course, to make it more convenient, you are given the option between rounds of activating powerups for the next round, so that you don't have to do it during the action.

    Single Player Action

    Every 10 rounds, there is a boss battle which actually uses both screens as a playfield, so you can't activate powerups in the middle of it. These bosses are usually pretty simple, requiring no more strategy than dodging and laying bombs, without much relevance to where or when you lay them. After every 5th round that isn't a boss is a bonus round, in which you are invincible. The idea is to kill the numerous enemies on the bottom screen as quickly as possible to open up a path to the top screen, where more powerups are sitting. You are given only a short amount of time, though, so it is wise to prepare well before a bonus round.

    Multiplayer mode is more like traditional Bomberman games, and is pretty much the meat of your game. Placing up to eight players in an all-out melee (teams optional) and allowing bots to fill up any slot that isn't being played by a human, this mode has plenty to offer. Multiplayer requires only one copy of the game, so you can gather friends that don't have it and play with them. The item pool is abandoned for multiplayer, though, requiring old-fashioned activate-as-soon-as-you-pick-it-up strategy, and using both screens as a play area. The bots have AI which can be set to Easy, Normal, or Hard, and actually plays as such, without crappy mistakes or cheap tricks.

    Warning: the following is a single sentence with technically good grammar, but should be avoided by those with low tolerance for lists.
    The levels available for multiplayer include Normal, which includes all the powerups on a generally bland field, Classic, which is the same field but with only a few types of items, Voice Detonate, which starts you off with remote control bombs that are activated by speaking into the microphone, Voice bomb, which requires that you speak into the microphone just to lay a bomb, Voice Shield, which allows you to block a bomb that would explode at you by speaking, Shield, which does the same thing but with the Y button, Skull, in which there are more "skull" items than average, Mystery Items, in which you don't know what an item is until you get it, Speedy, in which you start off at maximum speed, Tunnels, which includes tunnels throughout the field with obscured vision, Unipass, in which there is one tunnel between screens rather than seven as normal, Tripass, in which there are three tunnels between screens, Conveyor Belt, in which there is a conveyor belt on the screen that moves players and items along that stand on it, Trapdoors, in which there are doors on the floor that stepping on will take you to the same position on the other screen, Kick-Kick, which starts you off with a kick powerup and has arrows on the floor that will redirect a kicked bomb, See-Saw, in which there are seesaws on the floor that can cause things to bounce to other parts of the stage, Full-Power, in which you start out with maximum firepower, Lotsa Items, in which there are plenty of items visible from the start and easy to collect, Mini-Mini, which puts all the players onto the top screen and blocks off the bottom, Inferno, in which there are no unpassable walls, Spikes, in which the unpassable walls are replaced by spikes that go up and down, Crown Battle, in wich the first player to collect the crown item on the top screen wins, Full-Power Crown, which is like crown except the players start with maximum firepower and bombs, Merry-Go Crown, in which the crown is on a conveyor belt, Blocks, in which explosions change the ground to the same color as the player who layed the bomb and the winner is the person with the most ground space, Kick Blocks, which is a hybrid between Blocks and Kick-Kick, Zombie, which is Blocks with infinite respawns and a time limit rather than death, Bom-Bom, with bombs being thrown randomly on the screen, Barom, with enemies from single player mode, and Random, which chooses for you.

    Crown Battle can be quite interesting.


    The graphics in this game are generally uninteresting, but not ugly, and they work well to indicate what's going on. The shading on the 2D characters is particularly nice.


    The sound effects are standard fare for the most part, with the exception of the voice-overs that tell you what powerup you just collected when you get one. Nothing gets too annoying, and it all helps give a general idea of what's going on in the game.

    The music is also pretty standard for Bomberman games, with nothing too interesting or boring. All of the songs are original, with nothing reused from previous games. I was slightly disappointed to find that the great music from Super Bomberman 2 wasn't in this, but what they put in works just as well, if not quite as memorable.

    Replay Value

    The saving and level select system on the single player mode has the nifty side effect that the only way to replay a level is to lose it or to start a new game from the beginning. Of course, this mode is only fun for a single run through anyway, so you won't find much desire to play it again. The multiplayer mode, however, will stay interesting for quite a while. Even when you don't have a friend to play with, the bots in multiplayer offer human-like gameplay skills, so there is hardly any worry about getting bored. Basically, the multiplayer has great replay, while the single player has almost none.


    The Bomberman series has always been sort of a niche thing, having devout fans and people who just don't seem to be interested. This game is no different in that manner, yet for those who like it, this is one of the better incarnations. It is also one of the better multiplayer games available for the DS, and I strongly recommend it for anybody who lives in a community where many people have a DS. And special thanks to Gamespy, because I don't have the technology to take screenshots myself.


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