This week, I thought we would have a blast from the past and talk about an old Sega Saturn classic, Saturn Bomberman. I chose this one over all others because it’s the one I’ve had the most game time with in my youth. Yes, I was a Sega guy back then!
Saturn Bomberman took everything that was great about Bomberman already, and added in dinosaurs. Yep, dinosaurs. Similar to riding Yoshi around the explosive battlefield, each dinosaur would grant you a special ability, differentiated by the dino’s colour. One dinosaur could kick bombs over other blocks, another could sprint in a straight line until it hit a wall, and another could leap, for example.
Saturn Bomberman retained the classic multiplayer gameplay that the series was known for by Hudson. Saturn Bomberman was also the first Bomberman title to allow for 10 players to connect to a game using two multitap devices; those ports that allowed four additional controllers to connect to a console.
Each round, players would blast through blocks to find power-ups that would grant you extra bombs, larger explosive coverage, speed boosts and the ability to kick a bomb in a straight line. A glove would also allow you to throw a bomb over blocks or out of the map that would reappear at the opposite side. Games were intense!
Matches would last until there was one Bomberman player left, with each able to take one hit before being eliminated. If you were riding a dinosaur at the time, that would grant you an extra hit before being taken out.
As the timer ran out in game, sudden death would begin, meaning blocks would drop from the ceiling and enclose the players, making the battlefield smaller and more dangerous, until one survivor remained. If you were killed, you had an option in the game settings to allow players to circle around the outskirts of the arena, throwing bombs in on top of other players, which you can see in the video at the bottom of the article.
Saturn Bomberman also included a co-op story mode, but who bought Bomberman for the story mode?! Mr Meanie has unleashed a monster called Crator and is using his powers to conquer the world. You must get the crystals back in order to detain him again before it’s too late! Yep, that’s about it. A bunch of levels, boss fights and traditional Bomberman gameplay in a top down, scrolling world. But it was all about the multiplayer in Bomberman.
Saturn Bomberman released in 1996 in Japan, and then in the middle of 1997 for the US and Europe. Unfortunately, Bomberman Act Zero made a mockery of the series in 2006, taking the cutesy graphics and replacing it with 3D models in a 3D environment. While it included online multiplayer, it did the series wrong by failing to include local multiplayer modes. Avoid at all costs!
The last decent Bomberman title was Bomberman Live: Battlefest for the Xbox 360 in 2010. While it didn’t include a single player story, it was a throwback to the classic multiplayer modes, either with friends or AI.
Konami have since released a mobile version of Bomberman for iOS and Android last winter, but it’s unknown whether we’ll ever see a fully-fledged console version in the future.