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Irascible Analysis of Popular Culture

SNES vs. Genesis: Super Bonk

The Bonk series, beginning on various systems back in 1990, was a mainstay of the Turbo-Grafx, it was published by Hudson Soft after all, system for a number of years. Finally, in 1994, after seven entries, the franchise finally landed on the SNES. It also proved to be one of the last entries in the series as, for reasons unknown, it had one more sequel [Super Bonk 2, Japan-only] and the pretty much died out after that. There was a compilation or two and a collection of minigames features Bonk, but nothing like what it once had been. There is, however, a move to resurrect the series with a downloadable title in the works for the three major systems. All that aside, let’s focus on A.I Company’s last, major effort on the series: Super Bonk.

At first the gameplay in Super Bonk seems very familiar. Like any good platformer, you move from one side of the level to the other while fighting or avoiding bad guys and picking items and other trinkets along the way. Super Bonk is no different in this regard, but it does have three different forms for the main protagonist, Bonk, and three different sizes that he can grow or shrink to depending in which type of candy he eats. These forms and sizes have different functions and serve to make the game more interesting. Just in terms of gameplay, this is about all the Super Bonk offers in terms of being unique from other platformers. However, that’s not the end of the story. The way the levels are made and how unique and wild they are is pretty impressive. Each one seems to flow into the next and there are often a number of different way to finish each level, including entirely different paths. There are also a number of special stages scattered around, which are accessed by finding an item that looks like a flower. The special stages are fairly short, but mix things up by offering something different from just the usual platforming. It’s easy to dismiss Super Bonk after a few minutes as just another derivative platformer, but if you spend enough time with it you’ll find yourself playing more and more. It’s very deceptive like that.

The graphics are decent enough, but lack the color and detail of many other SNES platformers. It’s not a huge concern, but it’s something worth noting. The music is likewise decent, but nothing that really stands out.

Difficult is fairly low, even for a SNES platformer. In all the time spent playing I died just once, during a boss fight, and I was able to pick up an extra life along the way to replace it around the same time. It’s a bit on the easy side, but still quite fun. Although I wouldn’t call this an all-time classic, it’s a platformer that has stood the test of time and remains a fun diversion.

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May 4, 2010 Posted by | Console Wars, Games | , , , , | Leave a comment