Bionic Commando



This is a conversion of Capcom's original arcade hit from 1987. The game had solid graphics, nice tunes, varied enemies... But its main feature was a bionic arm you could use to perform various actions - instead of jumping you would stretch the arm to reach a higher platform and lift yourself up or swing on it Tarzan-style. The arm could also be used to punch enemies from a distance or to grab upgrades.
On the negative side, you could not jump at all or shoot in any other direction except horizontally left and right. This can make the game a little tricky and irritating, especially for platform fans. To avoid enemy bullets, you need to lift yourself up using the arm. Also, the arm could not be used to descend, so the levels are designed as more or less constant climbing until you reach the end.

The DOS version of the game was released a year later, and shows that Capcom weren't too good at converting their games to DOS. They did a better job with Bionic Commando than with their earlier conversion of Ghosts 'N' Goblins but it still leaves a lot to be desired, since some seemingly minor changes resulted in large differences during the gameplay.

The game contains plenty of flaws, with the most important difference being abandonment of the scrolling gameplay area and switching to static screens instead. To play the game this way, you will have to spend some time memorizing the layout of the platforms in the next screen to make safe landings, but it is not too irritating - at least not as much as the fact that the screens reset every time. The enemies spawn at the same, predefined positions on the screen - if you don't memorize those places as well, you might lose a life simply by standing at the place where an enemy is about to spawn. You can swing left and right while hanging with the bionic arm, but the screen system coupled with the game's controls make it somewhat problematic (not to mention rough on the eyes).
The enemies' behavior patterns are simple and you will learn how to avoid them. The only difference between the different levels of difficulty is the speed at which the enemies move and shoot. Your bionic arm doesn't really hit the enemies and can't knock them down.

The graphics are solid, considering the game's age. The music plays through the speakers and retains the tunes from the original.

This conversion is recommended to fans of arcade and platform games, since replacing jumping with use of your bionic arm is still as interesting as it was at the time. Even considering the game's age, there are many things that could have been done better, making it undeserving of a positive mark.

The game works fine in DOSbox, but you need to set very low cycles.

Controls: The numpad controls your movement and Num 5 fires the weapon."Space", combined with numpad directions controls your bionic arm.


Reviewed by: marko river Download Bionic Commando | Abandonia

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