Review: Bionic Commando: Rearmed

Review: Bionic Commando: Rearmed

You can't go home again. Not even when you have a bionic arm.

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So... what did you say your motivation for writing the piece was again? Because I really think this kind of "review" should not exist. It's just lazy, shameful bitching without any attempt at all for analysis. For constructive discussion. "The mojo is lost" you say, and simply reiterate in a myriad of ways, without adding anything. It's obviously a sad case of you being affected by the original in such a way, that you cannot appreciate the new game by its own merits. But how could you not see that and just let somebody else write about the game?

I found the game enjoyable but wow it can be a walk in the park, to dying every 5 seconds
Other reviewers have had the same problem as us : the game demands patience and perfect controls but the latter isn't remotely available it felt like there was A giant lag between turning around and trying to grip

I hadn't played Bionic Commando before Rearmed, but I personally loved it. Now I've tried the old version of it as well and I have no idea what you're talking about : /

I can't say I understand where this review comes from. What I am about to write will likely be completely ignored, despite my willingness to engage in a dialogue on the subject, but I feel it is worth a few minutes of my time to fire a salvo of my own opinions into the ether, hoping it will provoke a response.

This review did nothing to provide meaningful context for this game, despite all attempts to the contrary. You glossed over everything that was done right with a few vaguely sarcastic generalizations and then moved on to meaninglessly gripe that it wasn't the game that it was based on. Your remarks where wholly editorial (which is fine), but were also slightly off-topic. This read not as a review (or even assessment of the game from your own perspective), but rather as a lamentation that it is no longer 1987.

I mean no personal offense, but what was it that had you upset when you wrote this review, Mr. Pitts? The lead paragraph of the second page seems to give some clues, but to the reader it seems you were suffering some general malaise which you took out on this game. If you didn't like the game, that is certainly valid as your own opinion, and since your readers came to your post looking for said opinion, there is nothing wrong at all with expressing it. But the bulk of your criticism has nothing to do with swing mechanics or gameplay. It's that this iteration of the game fails to capture the one thing you seemed to love most about the original, that it was 'new'. You're upset with a remake for being a remake, but not satisfied with it because it isn't remakie enough for you. I'm having trouble with the logic.

Yes. When we played BC for the NES, it was groundbreaking. I am aware that there was an arcade game that predated even the NES version, but in my opinion, the NES was a step above the arcade game. It was innovative, challenging and fun. But if its most outstanding quality (for you) was its 'newness', then you will never, ever be satisfied with anything that has followed it.

In short, if all you ever valued that old flame for was that she was the first girl you dated, then you were quite the shallow one yourself. And no matter how cute her sister may be (or better translated, for that matter), if your only comment on her is 'Yeah, but she isn't the same, and the world where I get to date her isn't the same as before, only it is a little bit, and that upsets me too', well, there isn't much that can be done for you.

I see where you're coming from, Demon.. good post, and good points. It is a bit shallow, but then again that might be appropriate for something like this.

I liked the original, and I'd love to play a remake -- it certainly came as a surprise. I loved that they remade some of the old Super Mario games and slapped them on the Super Nes for all stars -- honestly, I can't go back to the crappier graphics. I could say the same for Super Punch-Out. I wish they'd do this with more NES games, especially Zelda 1 and Castlevania 1-2. If the new Bionic Commando is exactly the same in play and layout and the physics was left alone for the most part (I did notice he say it was updated, but am not sure how so) I'd love to play it with updates in tact. Unless of course it looks like some flash programmer got a hold of the idea and tried to make it his own (how many bad Pac-Man and Burger Time clones do we have to suffer?). As much as I'd love it, I don't think this bargain bin remake is need for a traditional formulaic review -- it is what it is -- something that will only appeal to a weekends worth of 8-bit nostalgia fits and then shelved for the better part of the year before being thought of again. That is unless "things changed", which was vaguely hinted at in the review. If things changed, then yes... the review should have thoroughly broke down what changes these are. When Super Mario All Stars came out, nothing changed but the graphical updates; Play control remained intact, heck..even the old glitches were still there. So yes, we wanted to hear all about her "new life" and what she left behind.

Someone can add a supplemental review here, couldn't they?

Simply for the record, I've played the original arcade, the original NES, and Rearmed. The arcade game was fairly shallow, though it did feature the much vaunted (and highly playable) swing mechanic, though with some minor annoyances that were weeded out in later releases.

The NES game was really quite good. Those minor annoyances I just mentioned went away (for instance, the default behavior of the grappling arm was to extend horizontally rather than diagonally, which made frantic 'grapple-swing-release-grapple...' sequences harder). What the NES lacked in raw processor power was compensated for with sheer good game design. The story was expounded upon (adding the ever hate-worthy Nazi Menace into the mix, which was subsequently neutered by Nintendo Of America's censorship policies), and we were given a much better sense of the game as a whole experience, rather than simply a sinkhole for quarters. The music rocked, and the difficulty curve went from hard to merciless. I played the heck out of it as a kid, and never did beat it (until emulation brought it back to playability, years later). Great game.

There was one thing in the original review posted above that did ring true; so true, in fact, that it almost overshadowed the shallow tenor and bleak nature of the rest of the article. Mr. Pitts refers to Rearmed as 'lovingly-crafted'. Aside from an unnecessary dash between those two words, this statement couldn't be more accurate. Rearmed was designed by fans of the original game. Not casual players. Not people who had seen it in the arcade or at a friends house. This game was made by people who were infatuated with the original. Every aspect of Rearmed, from the music to the graphics to the hilarious dialogue is steeped in the warm glow of nostalgic affection, married with acute game-design talent. No, that dash was not superfluous.

It is true that the grapple mechanic is slightly different in Rearmed. All that means is that veterans will need a short period of adjustment before they get ::ahem:: into the full swing of the game. Apologies. As for new players who have nothing to compare it to, well, the only comment they might make is something akin to 'Gee, this is kinda hard.' And it is. And it rocks. Remember, three permutations ago, Bionic Commando was an arcade game. Be glad that continues don't cost $.25 apiece.

If I were trying to review the game formally, I would probably talk about the great soundtrack, or the fantastically upgraded graphics. I might mention the hilarious meta-humor that the re-translation features. I could probably make quite a fuss over the fact that some absent elements of the original Japanese release (removed to make the game easier for Westerners to play) were re-introduced. I would definitely mention how many neat upgrades were added for your weapons, and how cool it is to never again get half way through a stage only to find I had brought the wrong communicator chip. I'd conclude by saying that this remake succeeds in its fundamental goal: to bring the original game to a new audience while maintaining the things that made it great to begin with. I wouldn't mention how much 2008 sucks compared to 1987.

Finally, if I were trying to review the game formally, I probably couldn't get away with saying this: I couldn't find anything to dislike about this game. Sure, it was fairly short, but a quick hop around the net found me more than one speed run of the original completed in under twenty minutes. It's longer than that, at least. Add to it the extra challenge rooms and you've got even more for your ludicrously reasonable financial investment. And if you value your time as much as I do these days (full-time job, part-time school, martial arts, new apartment with the girlfriend), then you'll actually appreciate a game that you can play in manageable, bite-sized chunks. Some complain that it isn't more than a weekend's worth. I applaud a game that fits into my busy lifestyle but still manages to give me a great time. Even when it makes me want to throw my controller at the wall.

Yeah I like it, in spite of what mr pooby pants said, it is a good game, never saw the original, but this game just had decent pure gameplay with cool music and visuals.

I think the problem is that the original Bionic Commando obviously isn't as good as the reviewer remembers it to be.

Nostalgia is a wonderful thing.


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