Posted by Corbie Dillard
Bravo, jolly good show - NOT!
It must first be understood that Bravoman isn't to be taken too seriously. The game was created as a parody whose sole purpose was to make light of the many different "superhero" games created over the years. Most Turbo fans will tell you that the game is a semi-sequel to the Keith Courage in Alpha Zones game that was bundled with the American TurboGrafx-16 game console, but in truth, it's just very similar in style. Bravoman is basically an side-scroller/shooter with a few unique gameplay twists built into it. What makes the game so unique is that not only does the game feature these traditional side-scrolling levels, but every other level will throw your character underwater as a submarine and turns the whole experience into a shooter. While this might sound a bit odd, it's these shooting levels that actually become one of the few reasons to actually play this otherwise mediocre game.
Bravoman feels like two different games at times. The above ground levels play like a traditional side-scroller. You have to run through the stage and defeat the various enemies using your bionic limbs. Depending on what position you attack from will determine which limb will stretch out during the attack. How long you hold the attack button down also determines how far the limb will stretch out. This will allow you to vary your attack distance depending on where the enemy is located onscreen. The more you play the game the more natural it will feel, but you have to proceed slowly at times as the game will sometimes position enemies right where you're coming down from a jump if you're not careful. It's little things like this that begin to nag at you during play.
The second phase of the game is the underwater levels. This is where the game turns away from the side-scroller play mechanics and turns the game into a shooter. Bravoman will become a submarine and he can fire missiles straight ahead as well as drop bombs onto the seabed below him. The control does tighten up a bit in these shooting levels and in all honesty, it's these levels that provide the most fun during the game.
Visually, Bravoman is a roller coaster ride. Some levels show a great amount of detail, whereas others look rather bland and uninspired. Some parallax scrolling might have made things look a little more realistic, but it's a minor omission. Bravoman displays a good amount of animation in his many movements, but most of the enemies are relegated to rather simplistic movements, aside from a few of the bosses in the game. The underwater levels are where the graphics seem to become a little plain and lack the detail that's needed to accurately convey the imagery of being underwater.
There are actually some really good tunes to be heard in Bravoman. In fact, the developers did a great job using the Turbografx-16's built-in sound chip and the result is some very up-tempo synthesized music that does a good job of carrying the overall mood of the game's action. The music and sound effects are another area of the game that's likely to conjure up memories of Keith Courage in Alpha Zones as they share more than a few similarities. The sound effects are pretty basic, and at times not terribly realistic, but they still get the job done.
There are a lot of better side-scrollers available for the TurboGrafx-16 system, and the Virtual Console for that matter, but Bravoman is still a decent overall experience. Granted, there are a few nagging issues, like the loose play control and bland visuals, but all in all the game can still be fun if you can look past all of this. The best way to put it is if you're a big side-scroller fan, this is a game you might want to consider, but if you like your play control pretty tight and responsive, you might want to pass on this one. It has some great moments, problem is, there are just not nearly enough of them.