Andrew Newton looks at a selection of Xbox 360 bargains; next up is Bionic Commando…
Following on with my quest of seeking out and reviewing bargain games rather than wait for Black Fridays and January sales etc. I thought I’d continue today with Bionic Commando by Capcom.
I have fond memories of the original Bionic Commando on my Spectrum. Capcom did an amazing job creating an incredibly addictive platformer and I spent hours playing it so you can imagine my excitement when news originally came about that Capcom were bringing our bionic buddy flying into the 21st Century. Yet, despite being excited, my rose tinted specs were at work again and I wasn’t expecting it to be a patch on the original.
Having loaded up the game the menu music was very reminiscent of the NES version of the original so started to feel very positive about the game. Combine that with the menu layout and selection being nicely animated and in keeping with the cybernetics theme I was feeling very impressed and hadn’t even got round to playing the game.
The storyline takes place 10 years after the original and sees our hero, Nathan Spencer AKA Bionic Commando, in prison and on death row for his heroic actions in the original game. Due to the actions of a bio-terrorist organisation he has been given a stay of execution providing he finds out what they are up to and stops them. (A bit like Snake Pliskin but better).
The game play itself is a smooth run/swing and jump around affair and although initially very linear during the tutorial levels of the game the world opens up to allow more exploration. It still remains a linear game but the extra areas available for exploration reveal (sometimes) cleverly hidden collectables. These collectables show images from the original and are another nice salute to the classic. (Nice move Capcom).
Using the arm to swing and climb was an important feature and this hasn’t been forgotten with this remake as there are lots of swinging and climbing puzzles to keep you occupied throughout the different areas. Using the arm for melee combat also hasn’t been forgotten and provides some very satisfying opportunities to grapple onto enemies.
Graphically, the game is very nice to look at with lots of plants and greenery and plenty of sunshine which brightens everything up. A particularly nice touch is the lighting effects within buildings. Knock a lamp across the floor and the light moves with it thus illuminating a different part of the room. Maybe I’m just easily pleased but it is a nice touch that I’ve noticed missing in some big budget games.
The sound throughout the game adds to the atmosphere, the silence on the streets of the deserted city broken by the roar of the terrorist jets overhead or the clanking of your bionic arm really emphasises the environment you’re in. Inside buildings the silence is broken by the enemies talking loudly into their radios (in typical Hollywood fashion) thereby revealing their position.
My hat is off to Capcom for creating a very satisfying and thoroughly enjoyable tribute to the original and classic game and even though Nathan Spencer looked a little like Jason Mamoa I was still not disappointed. Throughout my whole gaming life, Capcom have seldom disappointed me and with this up to date remake they have made an middle aged-ish man very happy. Now, if only they will do the same with an L.E.D Storm remake!