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Bomberman Tournament Package Art
GENRE
Hudson Soft
DEVELOPER
Activision
PUBLISHER
1-4
NUMBER OF PLAYERS
unknown
CONNECTIVITY
unknown
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Bomberman Tournament

Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the gaming world’s most loveable underdog, Bomberman. He knows you all spent your launch dollars on Castlevania: CotM, Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater 2, and GT Advance. He knows that you are currently mesmerized by Mario Kart: Super Circuit. He understands, because those are all great games. He knows his role, and he is now sitting on store shelves, patiently waiting for consumers to realize that his Game Boy Advance offering is equal in value to the portable wonder’s other fine titles.

visuals

Much like Super Mario Advance, Bomberman Tournament does not got through any trouble to push Game Boy Advance to the limit. This game settles for a simple, pleasant, and well presented assortment of colorful environments and characters. Occasionally, the game will surprise you, be it with dungeon entrances that appear to be 3-D or humorous death animations.

audio

The sound effects are explosions and ting sounds (it makes this noise, ting!), the kind of stuff that is nearly impossible to screw up. The music is fairly basic, yet at the same time it is infectiously catchy, very similar to past Bomberman titles.

gameplay

Imagine a game that mixes the classic Bomberman formula with Zelda and Pokemon, and you should have a fairly accurate perception of Bomberman Tournament’s single-player mode. There are towns all over the world, each with different problems. Helping the towns usually means finding materials that can be used to make new bomb types, and also acquiring a new Karabon (this is where Pokemon comes in...more on this later). Money from defeated enemies can buy health potions and hint-giving comic books from shopkeepers in each city.

In between towns, you will often be surrounded by an odd assortment of enemies, and occasionally you will find a small building or cave that offers a nice gameplay twist, be it solving a puzzle or gambling with an arcade machine.

Dungeons make up the remaining parts of the game, and each is structured much like classic Bomberman single-player modes. Every room has several enemies and a ton of blocks that can be destroyed to reveal health items and power-ups.

One or two rooms in each dungeon might be host to a permanent power-up for your character. Opening the boss chamber means accomplishing something elsewhere in the labyrinth, and a new heart container is awarded for besting the boss. Sound familiar?

Now, about those crazy Karabons. Basically, Hudson simplified the Pokemon formula in such a manner that it does not interfere with the pacing of an adventure title. In old Bomberman games, most of the items found under blocks were used to power-up the hero. In Bomberman Tournament, the majority of items are special icons designed to upgrade the abilities of the Karabon that is currently equipped. This approach is the perfect way to add levels to a pet monster while retaining the classic Bomberman gameplay. When the time comes to make your Karabon fight (a somewhat rare event), you pre-select the battle plan, which then plays out automatically in rock-paper-scissors fashion. This might sound like a corny way to attract Pokemon fanatics, and perhaps that is what Hudson intended, but it turns out to be a nice addition to the adventure.

I have one minor complaint about Bomberman Tournament’s adventure mode: The subscreen menus have very awkward navigation. An annoying set of “Are you sure?” messages and inconvenient button functions have joined forces to frustrate me on numerous occasions. It is not a big deal, but it should be mentioned.

The entertaining single-player mode is merely an accessory to the glorious multiplayer features packed into Bomberman Tournament. All you need is one cartridge for full multiplayer features across four GBA units. What!? If that piece of info does not get you running to the store right now, you must be unaware that Bomberman multiplayer is unrivaled when it comes to getting everyone enthusiastically involved, from hardcore gamers to old ladies who have never touched a directional pad. It is such a simple formula....drop a bomb, run away....but it gets palm-sweatingly intense. Throw in several gimmicky arenas and oddball power-ups, not to mention extensive options that can even allow for expired players to interfere with the action, and you just might find yourself with some melted link cables.

multiplayer

See above.

overall

The brilliant use of single-cartridge download play makes Bomberman Tournament a must-have. Factor in the unexpectedly cool solo adventure, and there is no reason that any portable gamer should be without this title. If you are knee-deep in another, slightly more hyped-up game at the moment, that’s fine. Bomberman is waiting, and he knows you going to come his way soon enough..

final score Adventure/10


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