(N64 / Nintendo 64)

Bomberman Hero (N64 / Nintendo 64)

Game Review

Bomberman Hero Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Bomberman flies solo

Apart from the very first game in the series, Bomberman has always been famed for its frantic, fast-paced, and, above all, fun multiplayer modes. Pretty much every single game starring the little guy has featured support for multiple players, with most of the Nintendo outings allowing four or five, and others like Saturn Bomberman even allowing up to ten.

Despite this, single-player has always been a big part of the experience — almost every game has a sizable solo adventure in which you generally travel across various planets blowing the living hell out of the creatures that are just minding their own business there.

Bomberman made his debut on the Nintendo 64 in another title featuring both single- and multi-player modes, the aptly named Bomberman 64, which didn't do much different from its predecessors apart from making the jump to 3D graphics and featuring slightly more puzzle-solving in the solo sections. Strangely, Hudson has skipped over that one and has chosen to release Bomberman Hero on Virtual Console first, which does things completely different than his first go on the ol' 64.

If you're a fan of blowing up your friends, you'll very quickly notice that something is suspiciously absent on the main menu: multiplayer. Although its N64 predecessor and the two games on the system that followed all featured it, this one eschews it in favour of a larger single-player adventure, which is not entirely like it used to be either.

The solo modes of previous Bomberman games practically just consisted of multiplayer levels with a few more hazards and enemies that randomly moved about, but this game turns it into more of an action platformer. Bomberman can now run and jump around in all directions, and instead of simply dropping bombs (or kicking them), he can now also throw them straight at any enemies he encounters.

The mazey level designs you always had to blast your way through are completely gone, and have been replaced by fairly open 3D areas with not many obstacles to speak of, as they're mostly made up out of the occasional enemy and some platforming. In fact, there are almost no walls, blocks or what-have-you to blow up; you're lucky if you encounter one or two in a single level, and even then they're almost never in your way. If a level isn't a straight, simple path to the end, the only challenge comes in the form of picking up a keycard or fragments of an emblem to unlock a door with. Bomberman can also take multiple hits, which is very welcome, as you'll end up throwing a bomb into an enemy or wall right next to you sooner or later.

Regardless, running and jumping around while throwing bombs everywhere is pretty fun, and like the old games, you can find some upgrades that increase the amount of bombs you can have out at any one time, as well as their blast radius. Unfortunately, the fun doesn't last forever, as the flow of regular stages is all too frequently broken up by a rather unwelcome addition: vehicle stages.

Far more than you'd want, Bomberman will have to take one of four "vehicles" (a helicopter hat, jetpack, submarine and snowboard) in order to get through a stage he wouldn't normally be able to move around in. All but the copter are pretty much identical: you go through one long, completely straight-forward path attempting to pick up as many items and destroy as many enemies as you can, with the level usually culminating in some sort of miniboss fight.

The submarine can go backwards but the other two can't, and the best you can manage with them is to slow down. With the helicopter, you can fly around in any direction and drop bombs anywhere, which is somewhat amusing, but the problem with all of these is that they're just so incredibly slow it actually brings down the overall experience — Bomberman is about fast-paced, frantic fun, and although the regular stages at least get the "fun" part right, the vehicle stages get none of them.

The game can take quite a while to beat, with over 70 levels available, though a good part of that will have to be spent watching Bomberman slowly plowing along in one of his contraptions. There's also some decent replay value, as each level has a goal score which will award you a bunch of medals — five if you hit the actual target. Collecting these medals does nothing at first, but if you collect all in a particular world, you'll actually unlock some additional single-player modes and, if you collect every single one in the whole game, some extra levels. It's debatable whether it's all worth it, however!

Graphically the game isn't really too interesting at first as most of the beginning areas feature almost nothing but wide-open terrain devoid of activity. It gets slightly better later on though, as the levels start filling up with a bit more eye candy. There's some moderately catchy tunes among the music, but there's only about seven or eight regular stage themes, counting the songs for each of the vehicles, which means you'll be hearing each of them a lot.


Bomberman Hero is a big departure from the Bomberman series norm, with no multiplayer mode and a single-player adventure that's more of a platformer than an action game. If you're not a fan of the other games in the series, then the gameplay change here might interest you, but otherwise, you'll simply find a moderately fun adventure bogged down by many slow sections. Bring on the other N64 games next, please, Hudson!

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User Comments (49)



Bass_X0 said:

The score has put me off this game even more so than I already was. How many Hudson games are there on the N64? I hope this is a sign of things to come later.



LordJumpMad said:

Great Review!
Sounds like an odd game for BomberMan but, It dose look good for an N64 game



pikku said:

This actually looks good to me. especially since there aren't that many N64 games on the VC thast appeal to me (pretty much anything that's not first party :3)



sfog said:

"How many Hudson games are there on the N64? I hope this is a sign of things to come later."

There were three other Bomberman games (64, Second Attack, and a Japan-only 64 follow-up), plus Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth, a shooter like the others.

I'm not sure about the JP Bomberman sequel, but all the other games didn't require the Controller Pak (BM64 and Second Attack used it for custom multiplayer characters, and SSVE didn't use it at all), so they could potentially be VC candidates.



Philip_J_Reed said:

Not a bad review, though I do disagree with nearly all of it personally. This is an easy 9/10 to this bird. I never played it when it was new so it's not like I'm blinded my nostalgia or anything...I'm playing it for the first time right now and I love it.

Again, good review, but I'd give it a far more generous score personally. It's not without flaws, but my enjoyment has outweighed them all.

(Also: I love the vehicle stages!)



TheBaconator said:

Is this the one with the Multiplayer level with the pyramid? I always get this and 64 confused, but the one with the pyramid and 3D movement was the one I enjoyed more.



pikku said:

which control option is best for this game, CC or GCN controller?



moosa said:

I found this game to be pretty frustrating many years ago when I owned it. That was back when I would actually put up with less-than-great games and try to play and enjoy them anyways.



Zach said:

I completely agree Drake, nice review. This game was always a real snoozer.



irken004 said:

A 6? Jeez, I'd give this at least an 8. Sure, the vehicle portions are meh but they aren't that frequent anyway. The game is still plenty of fun, even if it's single player only.



Drake said:

Bomberman just doesn't really work in 3D if you ask me - Stick to 2D gameplay!




I agree, 3D Bomberman is not a patch on 2D Bomberman, but I actually like this game! Downloaded it on day of release on VC as I never owned it when it was released and I was actually quickly pulled in by it, I really enjoyed it! Plus it's always great to play an old game of a franchise you like, and even better - this is a really playable game!



Kid_A said:

Hmm...now Chicken has got me wondering if this might be for me. I've been into this era of gaming lately, and seeing as it's one of the few N64 platformers I haven't played to death I'm thinking I might give it a shot.

Good review, though. I never got into the traditional Bomberman games so perhaps i'll give it a whirl one of these days.



Knux said:

I agree with Chicken Brutus and disagree with this review. This game was a blast when I was a kid, and it is still a blast now. Like Kid A, I never was really into the traditional Bombaerman games [except for Bomberman Live], but man do I love this game. I would say that this underrated gem at least deserves a 8 or 9. To me, all the vechicle stages were enjoyable [except for perhaps the snowboard levels].



irken004 said:

This is why Reader Scores would be helpful- to give another opinion from the general consensus. I'm with Chicken on this one.



Philip_J_Reed said:

If you go into it expecting Bomberman, you'll be disappointed. It's a sort of Kirby / Epic Yarn kind of thing. Folks who wanted gameplay that involved Kirby flying around and copying enemies were going to be disappointed, but folks who just wanted a fun game were more likely to enjoy it.

Not that I'm suggesting that that bias applies to Marcel, but certainly folks who want a Bomberman experience won't find it here. Folks who want a very replayable 3D platformer with some quirkiness and great music may well have their itches scratched.

If you do get it, I'll be curious to know what you think. I'm loving it, though.



XCWarrior said:

Having played the game, 6 is a pretty accurate score. It's good, and playable, but it's nothing that will change your world.



accc said:

Boo-urns at this review! Just because it's not like other Bomberman games doesn't mean it's not a really fun platformer. It sort of reminds me of Star Fox Adventures in that regard.



MeloMan said:

Wow, battle of the reviewers' opinions! FIGHT!! Er... TALK... stuff!!

I think I'm still gonna get this... I like playing "other" games on the N64 I never got to play. I can tell on the whole based on reviews that there's other games in life that trump this game easy, but looking at it as the N64 game that it is, I'm taken aback to when there wasn't much 3rd party support to even choose from. Ok Bomberman, time for us to meet on grounds where we never had a chance to the first time around.



Zach said:

As XCW said, a 6 is the perfect score for this.

6 - Not Bad

This game is not good enough to rush out and buy without doing your homework. Whilst you should approach with a degree of caution you might still really enjoy this game. A good example of a six is a lazy sequel, it doesn't innovate but it doesn't really do anything wrong. Other games with a six may be flawed in crucial areas.

Sounds accurate, right?



Philip_J_Reed said:

The italicized bit does at least, yes.

Of course I don't want my opinion to detract from Marcel's at all, so I'll confine further comments to the thread on the VC board. I'll certainly be reading to see what other folks think though!



accc said:

I'd say an 8 is more accurate. If you're a fan of platformers then this is a must-play imo.

8 - Very Good

If we award a game an eight, you can be sure if you like the genre this is a sound buy for you. Minor niggling factors or a badly judged difficulty spike may have made this game fall short of a nine, but it is not to be dismissed lightly



kevohki said:

This game doesn't even deserve a 6. With a score of 5 being average, this deserves at most a 3.



Pokeman said:

Well, this seems like a game that tops all other bomberman games and you actually get to venture around. Who cares if it sucks, it still tops off every bomberman game!!! But sadly this game sucked.



EarthboundBenjy said:

I have never played a Bomberman game before. When I got my N64 from eBay, it came with this game included. I tried it, and I thought it was decent. Kind of akin to some of the computer games my parents would get us in an "action game compilation" -style CD-ROM. At least, that's what it initially reminded me of.
I got up to the final world, and stopped because the game expected me to do an underwater boss fight. Underwater in this game means annoying vehicle controls. ...I never got through.



Link79 said:

Since I was never a big fan of the 2-D Bomberman games I think I could probably enjoy this. I won't be focusing on the lack of multiplayer so much. I'll just look at this as a 3-D platformer. I usually have fun with those.



PSICOffee said:

This game deserves a 7 at least.

Vehicles unwelcome? You've got to be kidding. Those including Louie were some of the most fun stages of the game, especially when you didn't expect them to be in the next level at first. This game is one of the only bomberman games that really focuses on a single-player campaign which is something rare in modern gaming, particularly with FPS.

Also, I'm sooooo very sick of people always complaining this game has no multiplayer. The NES version didn't have multiplayer either and who's complaining!? If you want a bomberman game with multiplayer, play one of the other 60 games that have multiplayer that feature bomberman.



Link79 said:

@ PSICOffee
I agree. I would give this about a 7 as well. Okay so it's a little rough around the edges but still decent. Opinions on this game sure are divided. I've actually heard some people say this is one of their favorite bomberman games. Others just whine about no multiplayer and call it a bad game based on that. Well anyway I'm having fun.



MikeyMikeMike said:

I'm glad to see any releases on the VC just to keep it moving, there have been so few lately; but with so many great potentials I just cannot understand the need to release some of the complete garbage that we get...I can understand spacing out the great games to make some money off the average ones like Bomberman Hero but much of what we get borders on outright broken let alone fun...doesn't Nintendo realize that for gamers new to retro games, such purchases may hurt their consumer confidence in the VC & discourage them from future purchases that they may actually be happy with...just a thought..



Bass_X0 said:

"I just cannot understand the need to release some of the complete garbage that we get..."
"much of what we get borders on outright broken let alone fun..."

Like what? What games are you referring to exactly? The only very bad game recently has been Exed Exes. Others have been extremely dated and overpriced at worst (the other Capcom arcade games) but still have their fair share of fans due to the nostalgia. We have been getting a steady trend of average to good games. Maybe the classics are few and far between but its not as bad as you make it out to be.



BulbasaurusRex said:

@37 I agree. The quality of the recent Virtual Console releases has been much better than the quality of the recent WiiWare releases.



Digiki said:

I'd give it an easy 8 personally, probably wouldn't quite push it up to a 9.
I found the vehicle stages a nice change of pace, snowboarding was always my favourite! I can agree that the submarine stages were a bit too slow to continue to be fun after multiple plays, but I wouldn't personally call them a bother.



NotEnoughGolds said:

I'd give it a 7 or 8. No mention of bosses? I remember them being pretty fun and the core of this game.



MikeyMikeMike said:

@37 Maybe "outright broken" was a bit of an exaggeration, but Exed Exes as well as the "date and overpriced...Capcom arcades" were all released sequentially with no bright spots in between. I am an avid fan of the VC but when three versions of one of those arcade games are already available on the VC, at least two of which were clearly better and the third about the same (Ghouls and Ghosts, Super Ghouls and Ghosts etc...) you start to strongly question the decision making process of releases. There are good games which are completely unreleased on the VC, and there are games of which there are better versions or good sequels too that aren't yet available either, that's all. If I didn't consider the VC to be such a great concept, I wouldn't be so critical of some of the execution.
@38 you're right, the stream has been better than what's been on wiiware lately, but I don't get exited over something I'm not thrilled with because something else is worse...



Kingbuilder said:

Nice review, I'm still not completely sure about getting this game, but it seems really similar to one of my other favorite platformers: Ape Escape.



Mangiff said:

Huh I remember wanting Mario Kart for Christmas, instead my parents got me this one . . . damn was I pissed. Strangely enough, I also remember loving every minute of this game.



Betagam7 said:

Marcel, presuming you reviewed the PAL version of this can you let me know what the VC conversion is like? I know it won't be 60hz or anything but did Nintendo adjust it to make it full screen like most other VC early N64 games have been?

The reason I ask is that there is no other 3rd party N64 game to guage against at the moment as a standard and I don't want to support a game that retained the black borders of the original.



JDesensitized said:

Meh, playing it for the first time on the VC, I think this has held up surprisingly well. Certainly better single player than any other Bomberman game I've played. I'd also give it a 7 or 8.



Hortencio said:

6 is perfect for this game, everyone calm down/shut up. I'm a huge fan of Bomberman, but definitely not this one! I like the multi-player aspect of Bombermans as much as the next guy, but the 1-player is always what separates these editions apart, for me. This game's solo campaign, compared to B64 and/or B64: Second Attack, sucks! I can only hope they release one of the two aforementioned games, but like Earthbound, I'll die of suffocation before that happens. 6, just above average, works, and, back in the day, I unlocked all the secret levels... so I know what I'm talking about!



RegalSin said:

From day one I opened and play this game. I pretended to enjoy it knowing full well this is Hudson Soft regressing back to the SNES bomberman ( AKA Bomberman 3-7 ) series. I mean the game and story is kinda fun but seriously this is an great step back.

One thing that was great about this game was teleported battles, the boss battles, and the extra secret Stage. Everything else in this game leaves you with "Why me".
Bomberman the Second attack and BombermanRPG GBC ( which is really BMN643 ) would have made an better game.

I was so unhappy to play this game but I pulled through knowing full well that this was as good as it was going to get for bomberman in 3d. After this game it was one big slide down for bomberman. I will admit I do love the RPG game for the GBC which is the real sequel then this thing.

Again great bosses but super stupid worlds. I mean come on. Why bring back the princess from the Saturn game? Is it not enough that bomberman was becoming more mature and they went and made this thing??

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