Capcom has shown Bionic Commando a lot of love lately with the development of a new “next-gen” title along with the re-packaging of the 1988 classic. Updated with new HD graphics, new art, multiplayer support and tweaked gameplay, Bionic Commando makes its return to the gaming world. If you loved the NES platforming classics then you’ll want to check out Capcom’s re-armed Bionic Commando.
Capcom's 8-Bit revival, Bionic Commando Rearmed has only been released for a short time and it has already reporting record high downloads off for both console networks, the Xbox Live Arcade and the Playstation Network. Bionic Commando was popular when it was originally released on the NES in 1988, but who would have guessed Bionic Commando would still has “arms” in 2008. Bionic Commando Rearmed takes the original 2-D side-scrolling shooter and covers it with a new coat of paint. Bionic Commando’s updated visuals are only the surface that underlines the classic formula that still works today.
More than a new Arm
Besides a spectacular HD makeover, Capcom takes the “update” one step further by adding two-player co-op, a four player multiplayer and a brand spanking new Challenge mode. Bionic Commando Rearmed is set up to do a lot more than capture the hearts of nostalgic gamers who are looking for their “old” Bionic Commando. If you are a fan of the original, this rearmed edition of Bionic Commando will satisfy your memory and make you appreciate the design and diversity of the original game.
For other changes Bionic Commando Rearmed ads a convenient health bar system that helps keep you alive a little longer than the old "hit" system. Capcom has also given the green light to slightly change the nature of the mechanical arm by letting the gamer use it for more than swinging across the level. You can now use the Bionic arm to throw objects at the enemy, or use the opposing forces as human shields. Keeping with the theme of change you will also be able to upgrade and change your primary weapon which brings a little more depth out of this relatively simple design.
One thing about visiting a classic game like Bionic Commando is living to learn with its design, and in Bionic Commando’s case it’s not being able to jump. Jumping in a games is almost a given, however the commando in this game just doesn’t have it in him. Instead of jumping the mechanic of using a grappling hook arm is put in place which is the landmark feature of the game. This makes the navigation across the multi-levelled boards become more like a Lemmings puzzle then a side-scrolling shooter. Bionic Commando definitely has a puzzle aspect built into its level design and character limitations which is half the fun. Taking away the basics of game fundamentals in Bionic Commando’s case makes the game that more interesting and challenging.
Simple and Effective
Bionic Commando has a simple premise, cross the level and defeat the bad guys. Thankfully Capcom’s added visual flair and new navigational in-game menu add a lot of depth to the flat-chested original. Infiltrating each area leads to a different experience each time given Bionic’s level of difficulty. Running through the levels simply didn’t happen for me as I had to sit back and think a bit before I jumped into combat, a scenario that doesn’t seem as critical in a lot of older side scrollers. Health, upgrades, and new items will help you keep going as you face the numerous challenges, worker drone enemies and treating boss battles. Thankfully Bionic Commando Rearmed keeps the difficulty rolling even when you bring in a friend as the A.I. adjust accordingly to the added teammate.
Ready for a Challenge?
Added on to Bionic Commando Rearmed a new mode called the Challenge Room. This addition is a welcomed change of pace that sets up a series of puzzles set up to test your skills. Times are also recorded that rank your time on a world leaderboard that will have some pursuits competing for the fastest times. Since Bionic didn’t support any feature close to this in the original, the new challenges and ability to challenge your friends is a great idea. Capcom really made Bionic Commando Rearmed a multiplayer experience with this feature and the new co-op playability.
Go Hack Yourself
If I had to change any part of the games redeisgn it would be the hacking portion of the game. Call me simple minded, but I really didn't get into the ball and block action of tapping into the enemies computer systems. The games simple look doesn't really do it any favors as it is a little frustrating when you just want to shut off your mind and run and gun. For those who like a little more variety mixed into a standard formula then you might not be as fussy as me when you go start to hack away.
Bionic Commando is one of the top ten classic remakes that have been revived for the consoles since the concepts debut. Bionic Commando Rearmed does everything right from its updated beautiful looking graphics, to the added multiplayer support and new challenge mode. For the price Capcom is asking on Live and the PSN, it’s totally a worth while purchase. The only buyer beware advice I can hand over is that Bionic Commando rearmed takes some work. This is a mildly challenging game and not a cake-walk remix. Bionic Commando is worth the time and money to re-explore this long armed classic.
Final Score: 9.0