Ideas and Thoughts: Bomberman 64 II

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10-Jan-98

First I'd like to talk about how people liked Bomberman 64.  AFAIK, most people enjoyed the game.  But I also know that many people were disappointed in the multiplayer game, but liked the adventure mode.  I'd like to say that I liked 'em all.  I mean, I liked the 2D & 3D games multiplayer and adventure modes.  A lot.  The only thing is that the 2D & 3D games are completely different!

I'm glad they made Bomberman 64 3D.  Why?  Well, because it was different.  I mean, if they made it just another 2D Bomberman game, what would be the big reason to get it?  I mean, the Saturn version would be over it in multiplayer (since it allows up to 10 players), unless they made a 10-player multitap to go with it.  And there's already many 2D Bomberman games... but that doesn't mean I'd like to see the 2D games end... maybe the 2D & 3D could coexist...

I mean, imagine if Bomberman 64 II had adventure modes and multiplayer modes like both the 2D & 3D versions?  Could you doubt it would be a great game?  The 2D modes would use the 3D mode's graphics... sorta.  I mean, in BM64 (no, not Bowel Movement 64!) in multiplayer mode, it was an overhead view like the other Bomberman games, except that since it was in 3D the far end of the screen was smaller.  So that's how it'd look different in the 2D mode.  No matter where objects/people were on the screen, they'd look the same way and size.  Of course that wouldn't be the only difference.  A few more things would be changed.  Such as the layout.  In BM64, things are pretty bare.  Once the explodable things are gone (which doesn't take long), you usually have a few things that can't be destroyed, and the rest of the space is empty for you to run.  But 2D Bomberman games aren't like this.  Most of them have lots of undestroyable parts.  For normal kinds, about 1/4 is like that.  Other, different kinds (with warps, conveyor belts, etc.) are... different.  Another thing would be the controls.  I think it'd be mainly 4-way, no diagonals.  Not that there'd be a lot of places to move diagonally anyways.

So what about the 3D mode?  What should be changed about it?  Well, in 2D I mainly discussed multiplayer, but with 3D it's easier to discuss changes to the adventure mode.  Make it more like a 3D adventure game!  Perhaps he still couldn't jump (at least without a special powerup).  But what about things such as ducking or crawling, and things like that?  And make the control more analog!  It's basically 8-way in BM64.  While this can be helpful sometimes (when you want to get a straight bomb throw aim, for instance), I think it'd be overall better to make it more like SM64.  Perhaps you could switch back and forth (with an option you'd get while pausing).  Another thing is the camera angles!  Ugh!  Many times things would get between the camera and Bomberman, and it was about impossible to get a really good angle.  At the very least it should be so that when things are in between the camera and Bomberman, they'd become transparent or something.  It was nice how you could move around the camera angles when paused, though the only time I really used that was when I couldn't get a good view anyways...

And what was the deal with the separate sections loading in BM64 stages?  I mean, in SM64 there was never a problem like this.  It was all one big area.  In BM64, though, sometimes you'll go up some stairs, enter a door, etc. and it'll load up another area.  Not that the loading takes time, it's just that it seems fairly useless... and when you set a bomb down on one side of a bridge, and you get sent to the area on the other side of the bridge, and your bomb is no longer at the other side of the bridge, it just seems really stupid...

And what was the deal with not being able to use your Custom character in the Adventure mode?  That would've been much cooler, IMHO.  I'd rather run around as a little guy with a sword, shield, and high tops named Joshua than plain old Bomberman.  Not that there's anything wrong with Bomberman, but... also, what was with the fact that while it saves your custom character on the cartridge, you can't use it in the battle mode unless you first copy it onto a controller pak?  That seemed doubly stupid.

But that would seem smart compared to the Battle Mode's AI.  Those guys are stupid!  Trying to pick up pumped bombs (which can't be done) and dying, in Team mode kicking bombs away from the target (yeah, you'll place 'em there, and your team members will go and kick it away!), etc.

One small last complaint I have is the powerups/gems.  First of all, they disappear too quickly.  I mean, if I blow up a few things at once in the main game, and I'm running to get them, often I won't get them all as they'll blink and disappear.  And while we're on the subject of powerups, where's my favorite powerup, the roller skate (which would speed you up)?  Etc.

Now, when I said that there'd be 2D & 3D modes for multiplayer and adventure, I didn't mean a lot of each.  I mean, in BM64 there's a total of 20 stages, half of which are boss stages.  In Super Bomberman, I don't recall exactly how many stages there were.  I think something like 32, split up into 8 different places with a boss stage each... there could be a little under half for each of those.  Same goes for both battle modes.  Why not just at half?  Well, because of the extra work needed to have different 2D/3D modes, a little less could be understandable, no?  Not to mention the next bit...

A 64DD add-on.  Remember when I said that there'd been so many Bomberman games, most of them very similar?  Well, isn't that the perfect situation for add-ons?  Yup, more stages of each of the 4 kinds.  And more customizability.  Perhaps a level maker.  That would at least work well for the 2D modes.  And with that you pretty much have an ultimate Bomberman game.  Unless, of course, you want more than 4 players... and who's to say that couldn't be arranged?

A higher resolution might be nice.  That's one problem I did have with Bomberman 64.  The fact that you could customize your own guy was cool, but the fact that he was put so small that you couldn't really tell the details sucked.  Not necessarily high-res, I'm suggesting, but at least mid-res... but wouldn't this drop the frame rate, you ask?  Well, probably.  But I'm sure that it probably wouldn't be that bad.  At least in the battle modes.  Think of this: In Bomberman battle modes, past and present, what is one constant?  The screen doesn't move.  Yes, you move, there's the blocks that appear and disappear, but the basic floor/background whatever stays still... well, OK, there's an exception or 2 in BM64, but for the most part... in BM64, the levels are made of polygons, of course.  But that means that even though they don't move, all the polygons used to make the level are using up the polygon-pushing power of the N64.  What if it was to just make a generic pic of it, and put it in memory?  Now, I'm not suggesting it be like FF VII, prerendered or anything.  Not at all.  I like the way they look now, so all the graphics match up.  I'm just saying it builds the stage once, copies it into memory (y'know, like hitting Print Screen on your keyboard), and voila, it doesn't have to figure that stuff up anymore.  At the very least, it could improve the frame rate a bit, thus making a higher-res not so bad.  Of course, I've got more thoughts on this resolution stuff... be watching.

I guess I should at least touch on Adam's ideas on this subject... well, having bigger multiplayer areas would be nice, but then what are you going to do?  Either make the little guys even smaller, or make it split-screen... maybe, but I don't know if Bomberman's battle mode would be the best for a split screen, and making 'em smaller might be a bit hard to see, control, etc... I do agree multiplayer adventure modes would be cool.  At least 2 player.  That way your screen isn't too small, and frame rate and such doesn't suffer.  Or in 2D mode, you could be on the same screen, like in Super Bomberman.  I disagree with the life bar, though.  Part of Bomerman is blowing up with one bomb... though perhaps you could store 2 hearts or something, to make it sorta like a life bar?  Rumble Pak support, of course!  This totally slipped my mind while writing this!  I couldn't believe the original didn't!  I guess that's about it...

Joshua Slone was born a coal miner's son's daughter's son.