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A game entitled Bomberman brings to mind a cerebral-numbing, virtual romp of chucking bombs, blowing away enemies, and leaving a path of destruction in your wake, the kind that leaves you foaming at the mouth due to an extended period of brain inactivity. Kids who eventually bought Bomberman were soon confronted with a maze-and-strategy game, coupled with the occasional explosion, which had tremendous entertainment value. Bomberman, developed by Hudson Soft in 1987 for the NES, was addictingly satisfying and needed a few more neurons than average to beat.
The plot is simple: Bomberman is a robot who manufactures explosives for an underground factory. Upon hearing a rumor that robots who manage to reach the surface become human, Bomber man decides to go for the life of flesh and blood. The player then begins the ascent of 50 levels. At every level, there are stone walls which form a maze and enemies a plenty. The goal is to defeat all the enemies and find the exit hidden in one of the walls. This is accomplished by laying bombs that automatically detonate after a few seconds. If timed properly and placed in the right location, it will catch a wandering enemy in its blast and kill it. Care must be taken, however, because if Bomberman is accidentally caught in the blast himself, the player loses a life. The stone walls can also be destroyed if they are within the range of the explosion.
A common strategy would be to creep behind an enemy until it wanders into a dead end, then plant a bomb directly behind it, sandwiching it between the walls and the explosive. After all the enemies are exterminated, Bomberman has to destroy the remaining walls until he finds the exit. Every level has a time limit, and if the limit expires, more enemies appear.
In later levels, the enemies become smarter and faster, oftentimes chasing Bomberman relentlessly. If an enemy touches Bomberman, the player loses a life. To aid him in his quest, power-ups are hidden in the stone walls. They come in the form of the bomb icon which increases the number of bombs that can be planted simultaneously, the flame icon which increases the blast radius by one square, the speed icon which increases walking rate, the wallpass icon which grants the ability to walk through walls, the detonator icon which allows the bombs to be remote-controlled, the bombpass icon which grants the ability to walk through bombs, the flamepass icon which gives immunity to explosions, and the mystery icon which grants temporary freedom from all forms of damage. There are also bonus stages and unlockable items that help increase score.
The Bomberman game was well-received and led to a sequel, Bomberman 2, a few years later. To date, the Bomberman games series is still going strong and has been expanded to other consoles. They all pay homage, however, to the popular NES version that launched the series to fame. Even though the game may be dated, those who were left out can still join the fun by playing Bomberman Nintendo online. At the very least, it'll give your brain an exercise.
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