Reviews Archive

Bomberman 94'/Mega Bomberman

      Turbografx-16 Mega Drive
mega bomberman turbografx sprites mega bomberman genesis sprites
bomberman 94 on pc-engine
bomberman 94 on genesis
mega bomberman on turbografx
mega bomberman on megadrive
mega bomberman on pc-engine
bomberman 94 on megadrive
  TG-16 - This is the original version of the game. The detail in Bomberman 94 is pretty decent overall, generally its not really anything that special for the most part (essentially a lot of the backgrounds simply repeat images in a grid formation), and the same elements are repeated quite a bit throughout the game, but the designs are attractive enough, and everything looks polished.

There's definitely some notable pro's here though, the sprites for one are well done (including a whole bunch of very cool Bomberman varients on top of many memorable enemy designs), and there's a lot of very nice little touches everywhere (such as cheering onlookers, falling snow etc), there's even some pretty striking effects here and there, such as a waving-water effect for one of the environments.

Mega Drive - This is definitely worse than the original version.

Some notable downgrades here are that a handful of the stages lack a proper ground texture, they're now just a block of one colour (see screenshot 1), and a few of the different wall graphics are also absent. Overall these two issues really drag down the graphics in the levels where they take place.

On top of those problems many of the little touches have been lost in the transition (especially in the campaign mode). The bystanders in the town arena for instance have disappeared (see screenshot 3), the wavy water effect is gone from the water levels, as are the shoals of fish which occasionally pass by, and there's no longer any falling snow in the ice levels either.

This uses the Mega Drives lower resolution mode, so both versions run in roughly the same resolution, what's odd though, is that the Mega Drive screen seems to have been shifted up somewhat, which actually cuts the top of the screen away in an odd fashion (Penguin bystanders are missing there heads for instance). This shift upwards doesn't seem to have added anything, as there's nothing new shown at the bottom.
  Winner Is: TG-16
  TG-16 - The colour here is actually very impressive. Every screen looks quite vibrant overall, with everything looking densely packed with colour. Shading here is also very nice, with ground textures looking smooth, and each of the Bombermen having a lot of well chosen colour choices.

Mega Drive - The colour counts are significantly lower here in just about all areas, after playing a lot of the Turbo version everything here looks kind of drab and lifeless to be honest.

A lot of the areas have suffered, with many of the distinctly separate elements now having to share colours (see screenshot 2, the stars and faces now share colours with the border and floor), many of the choices, such as those for the plant life (see screenshot 1) are also now less well fitting than before.

Shading is also a lot worse, with far less smooth transitioning (see sprites pictures),
  Winner Is: TG-16
  TG-16 - Like the colour use in the game, the animation is also very, very impressive.

All of the bombermen, and enemies are animated with a lot of frames, and they're all packed with charm and humour (check out the defeated monkey boss as he runs around panicking with his head on fire!).

The battle arena's are also filled with life and movement, from waterfalls, and rippling lakes, to cheering crowds, flapping bats, and dancing penguins, you really can tell a lot of love was put into the game.

Mega Drive - The animation here is significantly worse.

Whilst all of the sprites for the players and enemies are pretty much the same, the majority of the backgrounds are now completely devoid of life, seriously, everything is still there it just doesn't move anymore, no cheering mice, no dancing penguins, no flapping bats, the waterfalls are completely static, and lakes don't ripple anywhere near the way they used to.

Unfortunately the lack of background animation here really does bring the graphics down.

mega bomberman animation on turbografx mega bomberman animation on genesis

Note: Actual animation is smoother in-game

  Winner Is: TG-16
  TG-16 - The scrolling is fine.

Mega Drive - The same, no problems here either.

  Winner Is: Draw
  TG-16 - The music is quite good in the game, and generally uses the Turbo's sound chip well, most of it is made up of catchy, light-hearted tunes, but every now and then it'll throw in something tense and fast paced.

There's not a hoard of different songs, but there's respectable amounts. Each world has its own specific music, and there are multiple different boss tunes, the arena's themselves though only use one song.

Mega Drive - This version uses mostly the same songs as those of the Turbo but a few songs have been changed (specifically those of the first and second worlds). Personally I think the change to the first set of stages is for the worse, I prefer the more uplifting, and easy-going music of the original, but the second level song is fairly good in its own right, its a little raw, but I think its bass-heavy direction is pretty cool.

Generally I'd say that the music here is usually a little harsher than it was on TG-16, the TG-16 version sounded a bit warmer, and clearer in my opinion (very noticeable on the campaign water-themed levels). A few of the tracks also sound slightly cut-down (such as the level select music which is missing some elements).
  Winner Is: TG-16
  Sound FX
  TG-16 - Sound effects are sufficient but don't really stand-out, you'll mostly just be hearing explosions and not a lot else, some enemies have their own attacks and those are perfectly fine too.

Mega Drive - This is very similar to the original version, but I think its maybe slightly harsher in this area too, the electricity attack of the underwater enemies for instance sounds a little worse to me.

On the nitpicking side, the bosses in this version don't stomp around like they did originally, which I think might take away a little of the tension on boss fights but not to any great extent. Other than that I prefered the sound effect for the dancing Kangeroo in the original version over this one.
  Winner Is: TG-16
TG-16 - Here you get two main modes, the battle arena mode, which has been the meat-and-potatoes mode of the series for most of its lifespan, and a simplistic single-player campaign mode.

Battle arena puts your Bomberman down in a single screen grid with the aim of killing the opposition, you do this by dropping timed bombs and catching them in the explosion (making sure not to be caught in your own explosions, or killed by them first). Along the way you blow up rocks, which are both obstacles, and receptacles of a variety of different power-ups. Power-ups range from those that allow you to plant more bombs simultaneously, to some which make your blast radius longer, there's also a range of kangaroo type creatures which afford you an extra hit-point, and give you a range of other abilities. Different arena's have different themes, some have you moving faster than usual, others have conveyer belts, or teleporters. This mode is mainly known for its excellent multiplayer party gameplay, and is a classic game in this area.

Campaign mode has been changed around a little in this iteration. Here you get scrolling screen stages, and the aim is to search out shield generators in the stages and destroy them, allowing you to collect a piece of an artifact placed in the stage. Every few levels you get a boss fight.

Mega Drive - All in all this plays very similarly to the TG-16 original apart from two things. Firstly there is a lot more slow-down in this version (especially during the later levels, which often slow to a crawl), and secondly the horror-themed campaign levels no longer incorporate a spotlight (those stages originally gave you a limited field of vision, forcing you to tentatively explore, which added a little more variety to the game), now they're just fully visible like all the other stages. Other than that this version is only 4-players max, instead of the 5 of the original.

One new thing added to this version is that the snow arena now has a new element, which is that the penguins here fire rockets which randomly land on the map and explode. This is a decent enough addition, but in no way offsets all of the other downgrades to this version.
Winner Is: TG-16
TG-16 - The extras here are pretty nice all in all. You get a good intro showing some kind of meteorite crashing down on Bomberman's planet, and then some between levels animations showing a bunch of bad guys turning up and beating up various bomberman's after the first level.

Mega Drive - This into is here, but its ever so slightly downgraded (the way the meteorite comes in is slightly less elaborate but that's about it), the between levels attack on the Bombermen seems to be absent, and the pause screen is much more basic (it used to have a picture).

Winner Is: TG-16
  Truth be told this is pretty much a whitewash, the Turbo version is better in just about all aspects, and in many instances (chiefly colour, and animation) the difference is considerable.

I was actually very surprised when working on this comparison at just how impressive, and well crafted the Turbografx game actually is for its release year. The game really stands out as a first rate product, and luckily for the Mega Drive a lot of its greatness manages to filter through, making that version still very playable too.

  Overall Winner Is: TG-16
Atari ST
Atari VCS
Commodore 64
Master System
Mega Drive
Neo Geo
PC Engine
ZX Spectrum