Home > Gaming, Opinions (Gaming) > Gaming: Project Pile of Shame – Day Six

Gaming: Project Pile of Shame – Day Six

The project: To spend two hours playing every console game from this generation that I own but have never touched (the ‘pile of shame’), to see if any of them are worth spending more time with. On the sixth day I played:

Bomberman: Act Zero

Cyborg

Wikipedia fact: "X-Play, closing their own review, stated that "Act Zero accomplishes what even Al Qaeda was unable to do: turn "Bomberman" into a dirty word.""

System: Xbox 360

Reason I’ve never played it: This was another one of my brother’s purchases. I was well aware of how big a disappointment the game apparently was and would have stopped the purchase if I’d known.

Achievements earned: None (the achievements are pretty awful)

Thoughts: I couldn’t do it. Two hours would have been too much and in the end I only managed thirty-six minutes. There’s little enough to Bomberman Act Zero though that I’ve seen pretty much all there is to see.

If I didn’t know the game was real it would essentially be the perfect parody of modern gaming’s tendency to lean towards mature, darker games with a big online element. The Bomberman series built itself upon its colourful cartoon characters and visuals, its local multiplayer making it a brilliant social game (I have many fond memories of Mega Bomberman on the Mega Drive with the multitap apdapter to allow four players). Act Zero made a few changes:

The two bombers.

Can you spot the difference?

Presented as an origin story (implying Hudson thought this could even be reboot for the series), Act Zero has bombermen (or women) as cyborg slaves deep underground, pitted against one another in a series of battles to find the perfect bomberman (which suggests they get one good bomberman for every few thousand made, an inefficient process), and upon winning every stage they reach the surface and can escape.

The solo mode is a series of set bomberman fights, ninety-nine in all, that you have to complete without dying once as there’s no saving or checkpoints, forcing you to start over every time you fail. The game has two modes, Standard, which has the same rules as classic Bomberman, and First Person Battle, which uses a much closer third-person overhead camera and gives you a health bar instead of a single life but is otherwise the same game. The solo mode in Bomberman has rarely been any good but Act Zero is fairly lacklustre even by those standards, just a punishing bot mode.

At what passes for its best the classic Bomberman gameplay is still there, finding power-ups in blocks until you have all kinds of abilities to give you the advantage, cheekily trapping an opponent in a corner and getting him killed by his own bomb, but the presentation and the lack of any checkpoints makes it all so joyless. There isn’t even local multiplayer, the game focusing entirely on online play (which I didn’t try as I don’t have a gold Live account and doubt anybody would be playing), making the game a failure on pretty much every level.

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