GSQ6: You damn fool!

I probably don’t need to write much in this space about Bionic Commando. Anyone who’s been reading this site for any amount of time already knows I love it. It’s one of those NES games I loved at first site, and it’s one that amazes me in how well it’s held up over the years. It’s as precise and responsive as ever — not a game that seemed good because we didn’t know any better, but rather one that was genuinely great by any objective standard.

A disclaimer, though: this article could be construed as a screed against Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 developers Fat Shark, which it isn’t! What I’ve played of Rearmed 2 has been fantastic. I just think it suffers — though not critically, fortunately — from the corporate timidity that suffocates so many games these days. A darned shame, it is. Not enough of a shame to keep it from being one of my most-anticipated games for 2011, though!

12 thoughts on “GSQ6: You damn fool!

  1. Bionic Commando was one of those games that I initially thought had a stupid idea. No jumping? What in the world is going on here? It sounded lame. But I bought it at the local pawn shop anyway, because I’d heard such good things about it.

    Boy, was I ever in for a treat. Bionic Commando ranks up there with the NES platforming greats… nay, platformers in general, regardless of era. The grappling mechanics make the game less about simply jumping and more like a puzzle-platformer. Quite a few jumps required some careful planning. That the game had light RPG elements (powering up your life meter with bullets) and the inventory system with multiple weapons just seals the deal.

    Of course, I didn’t know anything about the localization at the time. But my jaw dropped when I saw the curse word that slipped in at the end. How did _that_ get past the censors? And then, imagine my surprise when the final boss bore a striking resemblance to Hitler. And then his head exploded. Crazy stuff.

    Bionic Commando: ReArmed did a good job of updating the game to look and feel a bit more modern, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on what you’re in the mood for. I’ve always dreamed of a modern-day sequel to the game, and it’s nothing like what ended up happening for the 360/PS3 game that came out a few years ago. Maybe it’ll happen, eventually.

    • Considering the (false) accounts of Bionic Commando’s last stage being unbeatable, maybe NOA’s old censor squad never saw that particular objectional content?

      Then again, it’s not like they were perfect at their job. Shadowgate, E.V.O., Monster Party, Clash at Demonhead, The Magic of Scheherazade, and many others managed to get crap past the censors in different amounts.

      Heck, take a look at Abadox sometime. It’s an NES shooter where you venture into the pulsating innards of a living planet, with all kinds of nightmare fuel.

  2. I suppose “loved at first site” is probably a typo, but I’m going to choose to interpret it as a loving reference for those of us who have been hanging around this site for way, way too long and still remember the original Radd Spencer splash page placeholder image.

    • Yup; I was kind of riffing on the way people occasionally write “tonite” for effect. But how on earth did you even know about this site back then!?

      • I… I really don’t remember how I stumbled across that early incarnation. It was rather a long time ago. Was it before The GIA launched in 1998? Hmm. Huh, some googling shows we also both posted on the Marathon Story site that year.

  3. Bionic Commando was the only game that I disappointingly “sorta owned.” I remember opening up the package in anticipation only to find out that the game just did not work. All I would get was a green, garbled mess of a screen. The game was returned and I never received another copy. I forgot what game I received in its stead.

    Thanks to friends I did play a lot of it, though. Along with Megaman 3 and Crystalis, it ranks among my favorite NES games despite never beating it.

  4. I’ve never been able to get into this game (respect – 25), but thanks to the warm love that Parish has for this game, I was introduced to the wonderful world of Rearmed. Man, what a great game. Very curious to play the sequel.

  5. I can’t believe that no one has used the grappling hook control scheme of Bionic Commando. Most games that feature a grappling hook nowadays usually control similarly to the rope in the Worms games, which is fine in those games but don’t feel as tight and responsive as BC’s hook.

  6. The arcade version of BC came out in ’87, not ’86.

    And what about Ninja Five-O? While it didn’t quite have the same kind of appeal, it had a pretty well-done grapple hook system if I must say so myself. Not to mention the Rolling Thunder and Shinobi-esque elements.

    • Absolutely great game as well. I really, _really_ enjoyed that one. There’s quite a bit more physics involved with Ninja Five-O that makes it a bit different, but the grappling hook, combined with the Shinobi-ish elements made it awesome.

      I seem to remember a few Batman games leveraging the grappling hook as well, to varying effect in each one.

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