How hard can it be to make a good Bomberman game? You put the player in the role of a mad bomber who is trying to blow up his enemies in a top-down, bird's-eye view world. You hook them up with hidden items that can make them lay down multiple bombs or with power-ups to make them run faster. You add a ton of maps with each one progressively harder than the last and voila! That's how you make a good Bomberman game. In essence, Interplay tried to follow this formula in Atomic Bomberman, but somehow they failed to make it good.
In my opinion, Interplay felt that a Bomberman game would be too childish for the mature PC game audience. After all, the main focus of this series has always been on mindless, arcade-style fun. Far be it for the PC gaming community to have a game that doesn't have a story or mind-blowing graphics. So, Interplay tried to remedy this. They replaced the kiddie look with a mature, SVGA look. This isn't a bad thing as the game looks pretty good and retains its top-down perspective. Unfortunately, though, they single-handedly destroyed everything this game is about, namely, the fun.
Atomic Bomberman isn't a single-player game; its main thrust is in the multi-player aspect. The lack of a single player campaign is sickening. There are no little creatures to fight any more nor hidden doors to be found. Instead, they've been replaced by computer AI 'bots. You can customize these 'bots to act differently, but who cares? There are no level progressions or anything along that line. It's just not fun at all.
So the single player game has been shot to oblivion but how about multi-player support? After all, the game is intended for online play. Too bad that it's downright horrible. The online support is a lag-filled, bug-ridden mess. There's no excuse for a simple game like this to be choppy online. Even the Quake games run better than Atomic Bomberman. There are glitches in the program, which only add salt to the wound. People will get dropped from servers randomly and ghosts will appear. That's right, people who aren't even there will start joining up!
The Bomberman name has been soiled by Atomic Bomberman. Nearly every Bomberman game, since the original one for the NES, has been enjoyable. In this instance, the developer tried to take the game to new heights and failed. Just look at Bomberman 64. A 3D adventure? That's not what this series is about.
This is where Atomic Bomberman fails, as Interplay tried to do something new by taking it to a multi-player format and failed miserably by sacrificing the one key ingredient--mindless fun.
Graphics: Some of the textures in this game look pretty good while other things, such as icons and effects, look pretty drab. The character animation is fairly smooth and there are some funny FMV sequences.
Sound: The sound effects are amusing and the music is upbeat. Both fit well with the party element.
Enjoyment: The single-player game is nothing more than a computer AI 'bot match with no level progressions or anything Bomberman fans love. The multi-player aspect is fairly shoddy so there's really not much to enjoy about Atomic Bomberman.
Replay Value: Fortunately, you can customize characters and levels to your heart's content. But, because the game has no sense of enjoyment or fun, there's still not enough here to keep you interested for more than a few hours.
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Bomberman Collection, Aladdin, Atari: 80 Classic Games in One!, Asterix & Obelix, Asteroids, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Astro Avenger, Asterix and Obelix Take on Caesar
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