Seething Cauldron of Pop Culture Talk

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

SNES vs. Genesis: Beyond Oasis, Dungeon Explorer, and Blades of Vengeance

Beyond Oasis

This Zelda-clone, developed by Ancient and published by Sega for the Genesis in December 1994, is one of the better action-adventure games on the Genesis. On top of looking really good and having some really nice graphics, both of which are probably among the best the system has to offer, it also has some really good gameplay. To explain, the gameplay appears very Zelda-like at first, with it’s isometric view and large overworld and dungeons to explore. But, looking closer, Beyond Oasis has gameplay that makes it almost like beat ’em up. Combat is very fast paced and Ali, the main character, can perform attacks in a series very quickly. He can also jump and perform a jump kick. It’s also got some nice boss battles and weapons that you can find and then use for a limited number of times.. The only real downside is that it’s more combat oriented than some of the other games in its genre, rather than emphasizing puzzles or platforming. That’s just a small complaint though and doesn’t stop the game from being one of the better Genesis offerings in this round.

Dungeon Explorer

Developed by Atlus and published by Hudson Soft for the Sega CD March 1989. It’s a bit like the Gauntlet games in that you wander through level after level of an ancient dungeon killing monsters and collecting loot. One of the main differences is that you can actually leave and purchase new weapons and armor with the gold you find. It also features experience points for level up your character to get more health and better stats. It’s much more fun than Gauntlet IV on the Genesis and much deeper experience. Thanks to the CD format it also features some really nice music, definitely a standout in that category. It’s a bit unforgiving though, so be prepared to get some game overs from time to time.

Blades of Vengeance

Developed by Beam Software and published by Electronic Arts for the Genesis in 1993. Here’s a nice little sidescrolling hack-and-slash title. You choose from one of the three hero classes and then do battles against the evil Dark Lady, who wants to take over the world. It’s pretty standard stuff for the genre, nothing that’s really going to surprise or delight, but it’s not a bad game or anything. You fight monsters with your weapon of choice, jump across lava pools, and locate treasure chests for extra points. The graphics are okay and the music’s fine. Overall, a decent game to waste a bit of time with, but if you want more than that you’ll need some patience because the game gets devilishly hard as it goes along.

April 25, 2010 Posted by | Console Wars, Games | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment