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Retro Game of the Day! Bionic Commando

by Ron Alpert on 03/29/10 03:04:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
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Retro Game of the Day! Bionic Commando

Bionic Commando by Capcom, released on the NES in 1988.


How to define a classic? We've all played so many games over the years - shooters, princess-rescuing quests, dragon-slaying episodes, mutant-frog seeking journeys. And one shining star stands out from the rest; a tale of a man with a mechanical arm, on a quest to destroy Hitler.


No two ways about it; the genesis of Bionic Commando is absolutely a strange one. Dispatched onto the gaming scene at a time when Capcom was putting out some absolutely original and creative products, BC was a sequel to a (very different) earlier top-down run'n'gun style game. Actually an arcade version of BC preceded this console episode, and thankfully this game was only loosely based on that (though at the time, I was disappointed).


So here's the deal - side-scroller, you have a gun (and collect other weaponry). You cannot jump, instead you swing Tarzan-style with your bionic arm. Shoot it out like a grappling-hook, and then you can cling to things and throw yourself around. A little tricky to learn, but quite fun and rewarding once you get the hang of it (bad pun, sorry...) The graphics, sounds, and gameplay feel of this one all added up to quite a memorable experience.


Bionic Commando was absolutely one of the stranger turns during the NES' history, yet absolutely one of its' most enjoyable. A difficult game to begin with, but ultimately very satisfying with a unique story and wonderful execution. A must-see.


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