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Crucial Classics - Bionic Commando

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the swinging-is-fun dept.

Classic Games (Games) 56 has another entry in its 'Crucial Classics' series, and this one features a truly excellent NES title, Bionic Commando. From the article: "Most of Bionic Commando's innovations came in its hero's bionic arm. While the lead-footed character could not jump, a tap of the A button sent a moderate length of cable zipping out at a 45-degree angle, in hopes of attaching to anything vaguely resembling a platform. From there the player could perform a Tarzan-like swing to cross distances or simply retract the slack, allowing their commando to hang from the ceiling or even climb up to the next tier. The arm could also be sent straight up or horizontally, but Capcom's designers wisely made the useful angled shot the default."

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Worms2, too (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105478)

Reminds me of using the Ninja Rope in Worms2 to swing across the length of the underground cavern maps to wreak some shotgun havoc;-) Good times.

Re:Worms2, too (2, Interesting)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105640)

Heheh, play Liero, or any of its decendants (NiL, LieroXtreme, Soldat), to experience the ultimate extrapolation of ninja-rope combat. Nothing like dropping a nuke into a small room and cabling out through a hole in the ceiling.

Oh, and Bionic Commando rocked. iirc, it was originally released in Japan as some twisted "return of Hitler" game, but for America release they took all the Nazi stuff out. I could be wrong though.

But yeah, grappling hooks are hella-cool in gaming. Too bad Quake 2 mods ruined them for FPS gaming by constantly making them a) pointlessly overpowered air-rails, or b) horribly overcomplicated.

Re:Worms2, too (2, Interesting)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 9 years ago | (#13107262)

I don't know the NinjaRopeLaucher [] mod for ut2004 is pretty balanced. It even uses spring physics to determine how well you can pull something.

Re:Worms2, too (1)

supersocialist (884820) | more than 9 years ago | (#13107465)

They "took it out" by calling Nazis "Badds" and Hitler "Master D." It was a little transparent. Also the first time I saw a swear (damn fool, uttered by Hitler) in a video game.

Re:Worms2, too (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 9 years ago | (#13107494)

Well, the picture of the boss at the end was very clearly Hitler. I can't remember 99% of college, but I still remember that game and fighting Hitler at the end. Not historically accurate, but still a lot of fun and challenging.

Re:Worms2, too (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111760)

It's not supposed to play during WW2, it's about some crazy neonazis cloning Hitler to take over the world. I think at some point you even see him escape from the cloning vat before you can destroy it.

This game (2, Interesting)

p4ul13 (560810) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105490)

was one of the greatest and most frustrating NES titles.

I still wish Capcom had done some better sequels. The GB versions were neat, but never quite as cool as the original.

Re:This game (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#13106430)

All their sequel efforts were spent in Megaman, Ducktails on NES. Perhaps the future development of Street Fighter, Final Fight has something to do with eating up resources also.

Re:This game (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 9 years ago | (#13107164)

BC:Elite Forces was a worthy successor to the original, in my opinion. You didn't get to kill Hitler, but really, why is that a plus?

Re:This game (1)

supersocialist (884820) | more than 9 years ago | (#13107508)

My complaint about EF is that it was too easy, until they took all your guns away near the end.

Re:This game (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 9 years ago | (#13109585)

The original article makes some strange statements that almost contradict each other. The game is over animated, but also jerky. I've played the game, and it is well animated, but not jerky. The animation does not distract from the game play, the way some modern platformers have so much animation going on it can be difficult to distinguish background from the plane of play. The only possible claim here is that the high color hacks detract from the rest of the game, which isn't as vibrant. They also claim that the graphics suck, but the GBC was basically on par graphically with the NES, and I think they surpassed the NES versions in many places.

I'm guessing the author couldn't simply think of any decent way to rule out all the other derivates of the game as awesome. One would simply be the cultural status of the game; more people played the NES version (at least in the states) than anything else.

Best. Game. Ever. (1)

lemkepf (727820) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105499)

I remember this game from back in my younger days. It took me forever to beat, but it was a labor of love! Truly one of the best and most innovative NES games i've ever played.

Totally agree (1)

kjkeefe (581605) | more than 9 years ago | (#13106875)

This was my favorite NES game and I played it start to finish frequently. The ending where you had to swing over some spikes and fall down about 5 screens to make a Luke Skywalker style, one chance only, shot was tough! The Mega man series (especially 2 and 3) were also outstanding.

Re:Totally agree (1)

silicon not in the v (669585) | more than 9 years ago | (#13114740)

I finally beat Bionic Commando using a NES emulator. Without that, I don't think I would have been able to. The 'save state' feature was what saved my butt. That "one chance" shot at the helicopter was something where I had to restore and try again a few times.

I do think the grappling feature opened up a whole new paradigm in game play. Swinging was a new and exciting skill to learn. There were several places where, with some good swinging skills, you could get over or around some dangerous areas without having to fight through them directly. It gave a nice sense of creative achivement in finding an alternate solution. There were also some times where you might be about to fall and could save yourself with a well-timed last minute grab onto something.

The Book Was Better (1)

KriKit (892231) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105604)

Anybody else remember the book?

Re:The Book Was Better (1)

supersocialist (884820) | more than 9 years ago | (#13107489)

I'm not sure if this is a joke or not. There was a Blaster Master book that I thought was surprisingly good for a game about a frog. Of course I was a little bugger then.

Re:The Book Was Better (1)

KriKit (892231) | more than 9 years ago | (#13108291)

No joke, and I too remember thinking the book about Bonic Commando was really good for some reason.

Re:The Book Was Better (1)

Miaowara_Tomokato (757775) | more than 9 years ago | (#13109996)

Ok, ok, I spent the thirty seconds with google...

Bionic Commando []

Worlds of Power is the series, I owned several of these myself. And the surprising thing is, these really were better than most anything else in my age-ten reading collection. I haven't dusted them off in the last decade to make sure they still seem good, but I especially liked the Metal Gear and Infiltrator ones, I recall. Heh. Metal Gear - there was another (more frustrating) innovative game.

So... who wants to write the Metal Gear HL2 mod? I bet the physics engine could handle that nicely.

Re:The Book Was Better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13108726)

IIRC, the book was written by FX Nine and had nothing to do with Capcom or Nintendo.

It was part of a series of novels based on games. I can't remember the other titles off the top of my head, but I do own the novel of Castlevania II.

Love this series! (2, Insightful)

Dont_Shoot (900787) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105621)

I love this Crucial Classics series. It actually made me get out my old NES. Bionic Cammando was one of my favorite titles. I don't think I ever actually beat it though. Time to get it of E-Bay.

Re:Love this series! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13107702)

Time to get it of E-Bay

Apparently you've never heard of an "emulator".

Re:Love this series! (1)

Dont_Shoot (900787) | more than 9 years ago | (#13109035)

It's so much more fun with the actual controler and on an actual t.v.

I guess it's just nostalgia.

Re:Love this series! (1)

Alkaiser (114022) | more than 9 years ago | (#13114271)

If you're still hungry for some nostalgia, you can always head over the Netjak. We do have an entire section [] devoted to good, bad, and hideous vintage titles.

Re:Love this series! (1)

Dont_Shoot (900787) | more than 9 years ago | (#13114384)

Good site. But, in my opinion, the rating on Turok 3 needs to be increased. Any game with a weapon like the cerebrial bore, with the power to lock on and shoot bores into someones head causing it to explode, deserves at least an 8.5.

Re:Love this series! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13114837)

Last generation is "vintage" now?

Re:Love this series! (1)

Alkaiser (114022) | more than 9 years ago | (#13115479)


Kinda clunky, but we'll probably reorganize that section out in the future, so it divides the Vintage area into sub-catgories.

Once the 360, PS3, and Revolution have been out for a couple years, we'll push the Playstation 2, Xbox, and GC stuff over into the Vintage section as well.

Looking back... (3, Insightful)

Ykant (318168) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105647)

I am often reminded of just how many often my favorite games of all time were produced by Capcom. Bionic Commando, I used to play over and over again, no matter how many times I'd already beaten it. It was a good way to kill half an hour on a Sunday afternoon. It was just so appealing and replayable.

The Mega Man series (especially 2), same thing.

I admit that Ghosts n' Goblins enraged me, but I played it a lot as well.

No comment on Street Fighter, they definitely milked that one dry. Nevertheless, I can probably still get through Champion Edition without losing a round.

Puzzle Fighter - genius.

Played both Devil May Cry games obsessively, Viewtiful Joe is clever, creative, and very replayable (played those obsessively, as well). And I'm sure there are many more games in between that I'm forgetting to mention right now. But I've always wondered, what is it about this particular company that makes them special - the characters, the art, the gameplay, the designers?

They've made some real gold.

Re:Looking back... (1)

Dont_Shoot (900787) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105758)

But I've always wondered, what is it about this particular company that makes them special - the characters, the art, the gameplay, the designers?

All of the above. Capcom is just a great company all around. I think if I had to pick one thing that makes them stand out, though, it would be gameplay.

I think what many of the most recent games have tought us is that you can have the best graphics and the best story but if the game isn't fun and replayable It's not worth the money.

Good Companies and Bad Companies (2, Interesting)

LKM (227954) | more than 9 years ago | (#13106128)

I think it's particularly interesting how the shift to 3D has changed which producers make good games. It used to be that all Konami games were awesome. It didn't matter what you bought, as long as it was made by Konami, it ruled. Even the "bad" Konami games were great compared to some of the other stuff.

On the other end, you had companies like THQ which produced crap. All of their games were crap. As far as I can remember, they had not a single good 2D game on any console.

The shift to 3D has changed that. Nowadays, Konami games are hit-or-miss. Most 2D games from Konami are still great, but the 3D games generally suck (see Castlevania...). THQ, on the other hand, has published some really great games. They still make crappy movie adaptions, but even these are generally at least playable and moderately entertaining, unlike their old stuff.

I think it's a pity that Konami isn't what it used to be, I love their 2D games.

Bionic Commando who couldn't jump (2, Funny)

jsimon12 (207119) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105676)

Yeah he needed the grappling arm cause he couldn't jump, what freaking crappy Bionic Man is that?

Obligatory Family Guy Quote: (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 9 years ago | (#13107524)

G-Man: "We can rebuild him. We have the technology. But I don't want to spend a lot of money."

Re:Bionic Commando who couldn't jump (4, Funny)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 9 years ago | (#13107935)

He was white.

Ahhhh (2, Interesting)

RaboKrabekian (461040) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105681)

I love this game. I used to be able to sit down and beat on a whim, although I tried it recently and got my ass kicked. The key was to hang out at the bottom of the first elevator and just rack up points form the endlessly spawning canon fodder until you had a full health bar. It made the rest of the game a lot easier.

What a great, great game.

Re:Ahhhh (3, Insightful)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 9 years ago | (#13107139)

I used to be able to sit down and beat on a whim, although I tried it recently and got my ass kicked.


Great game (1)

Further82 (720625) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105722)

Now how many people actully botherd to get past the first level? I know I didn't. Somehow it was still great.

Re:Great game (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 9 years ago | (#13106562)

I never played more the 3-4 levels. I couldn't figure out where I was supposed to be going on the big "world map" thing, so beating levels didn't mean much to me. As a result, I'd play a couple and quit, sometimes turning it back on to play the same few over again.

Got it used, didn't have the manual, no such thing as back then :(

The NES version was good... (1)

i8urtaco (663163) | more than 9 years ago | (#13105907)

Just like any other video game in the 80s, I preferred the arcade version. It was a little too short and a little too easy, though.

This was the first game I ever completed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13105997)

Gotta love the gore, of the Hitler boss lookin guy's head exploding in a frame by frame view.

Mastering the multiple swings so you dind't touch the ground was the best. and using the arm to grab the little "bullets" for increasing your life bar.

What about the arcade version? (3, Interesting)

sharopolis (819353) | more than 9 years ago | (#13106021)

Surely the original arcade machine that inspired the home console versions is the definitive Bionic Commando? I say 'inspired' because the NES and GB versions were siginificantly different from the original.

Whilst the NES game was fun the original machine was the superior version for me. Obviously the arcade was more technically impressive, but what really stands out is the game play. Frustrating true, more so than on the NES even, but it had that instant playable thrill that was essential in good arcade machines, something that wasnt quite there on the NES.

Frankly I don't even think that the NES game is the definative home version. Several others stuck much more rigidly to the original game and I think that worked in their favour. The ZX Spectrum conversion (admitedly probably not well known in the US) is of this school and it manages to be a better game despite the Speccys limited capabilities, putting it ahead of the Nintendo title in my book.

Re:What about the arcade version? (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 9 years ago | (#13112974)

I disagree. I think the original arcade game was SUCH a quarter sucker, the game mechanic was just inferior to the NES version.

It looked much nicer, but that was about it. And in terms of cultural impact, hands down the NES version is the one that towers above the others...and it deserves it.

The original game had such a nice framing device for its story, where it turns out to be a tale told by Super Joe...

Re:What about the arcade version? (2)

silicon not in the v (669585) | more than 9 years ago | (#13115135)

That does remind me that there was a similar situation with Double Dragon. The arcade version had very different mechanics to the NES version(s). There were some very different moves in the arcade Double Dragon, and cooperative gameplay, which was not available on the NES until DD2.

This one may bring back some memories--on the arcade version, if you hit Jump and Punch at the same time, your guy would do this elbow jab behind him that was way powerful and about the only way to take out some of the stonger enemies. Wow, now I really want to play that again.

game was too easy (1)

Predathar (658076) | more than 9 years ago | (#13106027)

Too easy, but it was very fun, I remember having done a VHS recording of me beating the game without dying, start to finish. I remember the gore when you killed the boss in the helicopter (was it a helocopter?), you were able to see an eyeball pop out of his head.

classic (1)

jlapier (739283) | more than 9 years ago | (#13106171)

Bionic Commando was one of the best on NES - IMO much better than the arcade version. The grapple arm was so much fun and I don't remember any other game using it effectively except for Earthworm Jim on the SNES (which was, frankly, AWESOME).

Ninja Five-0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13106489)

The GBA game Ninja Five-0 implements a mechanic like this very well. I recommend trying out that game. It's fun.

Re:Ninja Five-0 (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111798)

I have to second that, very awesome game. It's called Ninja Cop in Europe and might be hard to find these days.

Graphically Enhanced on Revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13106585)

I'll bet you'll be able to download a graphically enhanced version of this game onto your Revolution console.

Ah the memories (1)

Solr_Flare (844465) | more than 9 years ago | (#13106724)

This was a real classic. I always wondered why they didn't continue the series. Ah well, maybe someday we'll get a more modern update. Regardless, check it out if you have never played.

Umihara Kawase (4, Interesting)

Chemical (49694) | more than 9 years ago | (#13107493)

For anyone who liked Bionic Commando and it's grappling hook swinging action, you need to check out Umihara Kawase, a quirky Japanese SNES game about a young girl out to save humanity from an invasion of Darwinian Nightmare Fish.

The game plays a little differently than Bionic Commando, and has much more sophisticated physics, but the concept is the same. You use an elastic fishing line to grapple onto objects and swing yourself around. Because the line is made of rubber, it's stretchable and bendable, allowing you to pull off some crazy maneuvers, such as swinging your line underneath a platform, then retracting the line to fling yourself up onto the ledge. The learning curve is sharp, but once you learn how to play it is a tremendously fun game. I highly recommand this quirky little game to any fan of Bionic Commando (or video games in general).

If you wanna see what I'm talking about, you should check out this video [] of the game being played to its full capacity.

Re:Umihara Kawase (1)

chamblah (774997) | more than 9 years ago | (#13116835)

Yeah, I think that's why they mentioned it in the article.

Re:Umihara Kawase (1)

I judge you (796415) | more than 9 years ago | (#13118569)

Best. Physics-based. Game. Ever.

I shit you not. Fuck HL2 - play a game that really works physics into its core mechanic. And did it 10 years earlier.

Umihara Kawase. It's insanely hard. It's kawaii. It's 2D. There's no shooting, no blood. You can't inch-save. Get over it and play one of the best games ever made.

YES! (1)

Intocabile (532593) | more than 9 years ago | (#13109886)

My favorite game to rent when I was little, I could have a friend over and play coop and finish the game in fairly short order. Man, good times.

Best NES Game Ever (IMO) (1)

Bellum Aeternus (891584) | more than 9 years ago | (#13110255)

I thought this was best game ever made for the NES.

The OP forgot to mention you could puch groups of "bad guys" and pull one back to you. Like an 8-bit Scorpion from MK.

That big gun in the game? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 9 years ago | (#13111792)

I saw a speedrun (that was using emulators to be perfect) of it, after a few levels the guy would shoot huge bullets that would kill the bosses with one shot. Was that really in the game or did they just use some trick to make it that powerful?

Re:That big gun in the game? (1)

default luser (529332) | more than 9 years ago | (#13114739)

That would be the rocket launcher.

It goes through most enemies, and the damage is devestating (3 damage on bosses, if I recall correctly). For some of the earlier bosses, it is a single-shot kill.

However, don't think it suddenly makes the game a cakewalk. The rocket launcher is useless when you were being stormed from both sides, because it fires straight, and only one projectile is allowed onscreen. Some levels purposefully make you use another weapon, as enemies are designed to evade / block rocket launcher shots.

And yes, I remember playing this game to the end several times as a kid, and still have it and my NES still working.

like batman in GB (1)

aneroid (856995) | more than 9 years ago | (#13112123)

that whole arm/grapple thing is almost like the one in 'batman forever' on nintendo gameboy...45 deg, vertical and horizontal "deployment" for the grapple. and just hanging or climbing down wasn't an option.

used extensively in the (2nd) level where u're supposed to defuse the bomb at the circus.

Wow... (1)

ryuuzin (215760) | more than 9 years ago | (#13113593)

Wow... That /is/ a blast from the past. I remember having a lot of difficulty with it when my brother first got it -- he was the game maniac. When it fell to me, after he gave up on the NES, I played it a couple of times, but got nowhere. Yet, several years later, I'd found it to be my favorite game, had mastered flying maneuvers with the hook, and added it as one of the few NES games I've ever beaten (I wish I could say the same of Legacy of the Wizard).

To this day, I remember a few things: 1) The music of the sewers level; 2) Shoot the helicopter cockpit window with the rocket launcher; and 3) The climb out of the shaft at the end is the most royal pain the a--...
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