Join up with Bomberman and enter the Bomb-A-Lympics where you’ll go up against five different teams in five different style battle games, all in hopes of eventually challenging and beating the Master Bomberman in this sequel to the multi-platform hit game. As the title states, a new element also allows you to go online with your Dreamcast and play against up to eight live people at a time.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
If you’ve played any of the Bomberman games, then you already know more or less what to expect. This Bomberman builds on its predecessors by adding a few new battle game variations as well as by adding an online multiplayer component and a character editing engine. If you aren’t familiar with Bomberman, the concept is simple. Bombermen walk around a maze-like screen and place bombs in hopes of blowing up their opponents. There is a horizontal and/or vertical blast radius that can be increased by collecting power-ups that are hidden under rocks or blocks that can be blown up. In addition to increasing your blast size, you can also increase the number of bombs you can place, gain the ability to kick, hit, or throw the bombs away from you as well as increase your speed. There are also hidden special items you can find that can be used in the character edit mode.
There are five different battle games available. The first is the classic Survival Rule. Walk around the screen and try to blast your opponents and be the last one to not get blown up. Hyper Bomber Rule has you bombing the blocks or rocks to find target panels. Once three are collected, run to the center to win the round and blast everything else on screen. Submarine Rule is similar to the Survival Rule but restricts you to one side of the screen and your opponents to the other. When bombs are placed, they drop beneath the water and slide to the same position on the other side of the screen then explode. Panel Paint Rule has your bomb blast size paint the floor -- the one with the most painted panels when time runs out wins. And finally there’s the Ring Match Rule, which is on a much smaller playfield. Try to blast your opponent more than they blast you before time runs out to win. One aspect I really like about the Ring Match Rule, the Submarine Rule, and the Panel Paint Rule is that the bombs show how much time until each bomb explodes. The Ring Match Rule takes this one step further and shows in advance how far the bombs will blast. Both this and the timed bombs make playing these rules easier than the Survival Rule or the Hyper Bomber Rule.
Unfortunately that doesn’t account for much as this is an incredibly difficult game to play. The computer AI is very smart. Too smart, actually. It almost never messes up and it’s incredibly good at avoiding your blasts, so it seems there is no actual strategy for blasting your enemies -- if you hit one it’s because you got lucky. As if this isn’t bad enough, if you manage to complete an area (which is a best two of three battle match), some subsequent areas have visual effects such as lasers or a big crane that get in the way of being able to see the playfield. Each subsequent level also has more Bombermen than the last that gang up on you. Then if you actually manage to clear all three areas for a particular battle rule, you get to fight a boss Bomberman. While it’s only one enemy, it cheats big time. To begin with, you have to bomb that boss enemy several times. On top of that, it then has the ability to generate what seems to be about 10 bombs at once scattered around the playfield in random areas and by the time you figure out how to escape they’ve already exploded. In general, the single player story game is just very difficult and very frustrating and just really not a whole lot of fun in my opinion.
Next is the multiplayer local game. Any combination of four or fewer human or computer-controlled players can go at it in any one of the battle rules. There are lots of options that can be set up including how well the computer-controlled players play, but mind you, the "weak" computer level isn’t. See the Multiplayer section for more on this. The controls are the same for each battle Rule although not all the power-ups appear in each Rule. The controls seemed loose to me and I sometimes had a hard time turning a corner, especially if I was trying to make a quick getaway. The control isn’t bad, just a bit loose as compared to the original arcade game. There is also a character edit mode. You can create, rename, and do all kinds of editing to your Bomberman and then save him for use in the multiplayer games. The various items you can use to edit your Bomberman can be unlocked in the regular game by performing some sequence of bombing or movements as defined on the level description before you start the level. These items are in the form of different animals or foods or whatnot that you can use to customize how your Bomberman will look.
As the title states, this game has an online component. The packaging is very misleading, however. The manual and packaging say to play online it requires a valid SegaNet account which is $9.95 per month. I have some sort of account on Sega’s servers, but I definitely know that I’m not paying $9.95 per month for it, which is just as well. Every time I went online there were only ever 3 to 20 people scattered throughout all of the available servers and most games were locked anyway. I was able to find a few games I could join, though. "The Ultimate Gaming Network" as Sega calls it ,just simply isn’t.
While playing online against real people is always more fun, I wasn’t impressed by the lack of game options and was even less impressed with the gameplay. When online you can ONLY set up a game of Survival Mode or Hyper Bomber and that’s it. I found that most people did not even want to play a game of Hyper Bomber at all. A single arena or room can hold up to eight people which is nice, but also makes it incredibly difficult to watch everything that’s going on at once. There was almost no lag -- or at least not that I noticed. I found playing online to be incredibly frustrating as many times ,if I placed a bomb down and the explosion hit someone, it then put "safe" above their heads and they continued playing. Sometimes I would lay down a bomb and other players were able to walk right through it, but the worst is when I would lay down a bomb and a little green thing would appear in its place. Sometimes a bomb would then appear after a few seconds and sometimes the green thing would disappear, never exploding a bomb. Also, I noticed that often players would lay down a bomb and it would explode immediately. Perhaps this was due to some lag issue or maybe there are some secrets or cheat codes that I haven’t exploited. Either way there is no documentation explaining these anomalies and thus I found the online play to be extremely frustrating and not very much fun.
You can also play up to four players locally on your Dreamcast. At least in this mode you can select any of the five available types of games. After each round you can also play a mini-game called "Bomberman Karate" which allows you to get an additional power-up for the next game. Maybe I missed something, but I never seemed to see my power-up in the next round after I acquired it.
One of the only two redeeming qualities to this game, the graphics are a combination of Anime-style cartoons and computer generated graphics. The graphics are all bright, clear, and cute. The battlefields are fairly simple, but the individual components, such as blocks, have decent detail. The backgrounds surrounding the levels are great. Before each level starts the camera flies around and gives you a good glimpse of the arena you’re going to fight in.
This is the other redeeming quality to the game. I liked the music a lot. It’s sort of a cheery techno-style sound and seems fitting to this game. I found the high-pitched voice that announces the start of each battle to be annoying but fortunately that’s the only time you ever hear it. The sound effects are decent -- the bombs sound like bombs and the sounds for picking up power-ups sound like you might expect. I really didn’t notice too many other sound effects (possibly because I was busy listening to the music instead).
This seemed to be a pretty thick manual for this type of game at 28 pages -- especially since it doesn’t describe certain elements of the gameplay (see my Multiplayer gripes above).
This is an extremely difficult game (much more so than the original arcade version) and I found it simply isn’t any fun unless you really enjoy frustration or luck. Often there is so much happening on the screen and the computer AI seems so smart that if you survive a bomb attack or manage to bomb an opponent it seems more like luck than skill -- especially when there are too many players at one time. I was not impressed by all the strange things that did or didn’t happen as expected when online. Also, the packaging seemed misleading, stating that you must pay for a SegaNet account to play online even though I was able to play without having to pay for one. If you’re a Bomberman fan then you may enjoy this game but I certainly would not recommend this game otherwise, which is why I'm giving it a score of 71.
Download Bomberman Online
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP