Since its initial release on the MSX 24 years ago, Bomberman has been ported to just about every platform there is - and just incase you’ve somehow missed the ads running on nearly every game website in existance, it’s just arrived on Xbox Live Arcade. After some particularly painful adaptations of the franchise during the Nintendo 64-era, and more recently with Bomberman: Act Zero on the Xbox 360, Hudson have clearly got the message from the public - don’t f*** with the original formula. How does Bomberman Live stack up against the recent Wii and DS offerings? Full review after the jump.
The single-player missions from the early days are gone - but this has arguably never been the appeal of a Bomberman title. Bomberman Live supports 4-player local play (anyone else remember when you needed a multitap to do that?) and 8-player online over Xbox Live - those lacking friends AND broadband will have to make do with 3 CPU opponents. Be warned…the CPU players are brutal, even when set to Easy mode. Appropriate, really, you’ll need all the practise you can get before you jump online.
This is without doubt, the best looking Bomberman we’ve ever seen. The bright, colourful and stylised look of the game benefits immensely from a crisp 720P resolution. Another new addition is the ability to customise your Bomberman’s outfit with a variety of ridiculous looks - everything from mohawks to peg legs - and you can unlock new items for your wardrobe by playing the game online. This might not be your thing, but think of it as added help differentiating your character from the mayhem.
8-player matches over Xbox Live are insane, but things don’t behave particularly well under lag - par for the course with Xbox Live Arcade titles, really. Due to the recent launch, there’s not a critical mass of players hosting games yet - however if you’re willing to settle for any game type, you should be able to find a match pretty quickly. A pleasant surprise for those of you who are used to waiting fifteen minutes for Shadowrun to find a server to join.
If you’ve already got the full rig of four Wiimotes, one Gamecube controller and Bomberman ‘93 happening with your Wii, you’ll have to decide whether 720P, achievements and online play are worth the 800 points. Those who have 7 friends with Nintendo DS’s might be best to invest in Bomberman DS, with 8-player wireless from one cartridge. If, however, you’re lacking Bomberman in any way shape or form, and don’t care for Nintendo, Bomberman Live is the version to go for.