Review by KeyBlade999
Conceptually good, but ruined by monotonous, repetitive play.
~ Review in Short ~
Gameplay: A first-person shooter where you destroy robots in a labyrinth. Can be very easy or very difficult, depending on your choices; there's no real middle ground. Allows decent multiplayer.
Story: Fairly interesting in the manual, but plays no role in the game. Very cliched.
Graphics: Avoided that single-color multi-tone thing often in GameBoy games. Actually adds to the gameplay.
Sound and Music: You get four tracks of music with a lot of repetition for each. Sounds are somewhat realistic.
Play Time: Each of the five levels takes about ten to fifteen minutes, if that.
Replayability: Moderately high, as the level layouts are randomized.
Recommendation: The gameplay can really take you either way. Me, personally, I didn't particularly enjoy it. I wouldn't really recommend getting it.
~ Review in Long ~
Bionic Battler is one of the GameBoy games with a fairly simplistic, and, in this time, rare concept. A first-person shooter in a labyrinth. Evil robots have taken over our world and one lone warrior has been chosen to save humanity.
But should you even bother?
Like many of the rarer games you find nowadays, Bionic Battler seems to have no relatives in a series. The game was developed by companies Electro Brain and Toei Animation in 1992.
Playing the Game:
We'll begin with what the game is like. You control one of two robotic suits found in a labyrinth in the robots' mothership. This labyrinth, sadly enough, is revealed to you, removing much of the challenge in the gameplay.
Of course, you're not going to the end of some maze. Rather, there are anywhere from three to seven enemy robots in this maze, depending on which "level" (which, here, effectively means "playthrough") you chose. Your goal is to destroy all of them before such happens to you. You only get one chance -- if your robot is destroyed, you lose the game. You also can lose by taking too long to win.
To destroy robots, you receive one of two options: missiles or punching. You get no fancy lasers or even a basic punch combo. You need to be practically right next to the enemy -- if not, they like to get right up on you anyways -- and then they'll be able to also attack you.
To ease off of the difficulty, you have two helper robots come and help you. Sadly enough, they tend to lack enough AI and die off easily.
There isn't much else to mention, gameplay-wise. There is little variety -- you get into a maze, destroy robots, and you win.
"Too easy or too difficult", You Said?
Indeed, that I did.
See, there's pretty much only one decent strategy (which I shall not reveal to you here) that can be used to secure a win.
Without that strategy, the game is rather difficult, even on easier levels.
With it, you can easily beat even the hardest levels without taking a hit.
See the conundrum?
Using two Bionic Battler game cartridges, two GameBoy consoles, and one GameBoy Link Cable, you are able to use the multiplayer function with this game.
This is perhaps one of the better points of the game. Granted, it is the same thing, but it is a head-on-head match between two human players. No overly difficult AI to deal with; just two people, in a maze, trying to destroy the other.
The idea is overly-cliched and has very little, if anything, to do with the gameplay whatsoever. But, since you're here anyways, I'll paraphrase it for you.
The game's manual begins by describing the magnificence of mankind; how wise he is, how he adapts his environment and not himself. Anywho, apparently in 1999, Bionic Construction Robots were created. As could only be expected, they were designed to be slaves to mankind.
For 11 years, all seemed well. Mankind became increasingly lazier to the point of doing nothing. The world was at peace. Suddenly, on June 13, 2010, a flash of lightning appears to the whole world. All robots fall lifeless to their knees. While all are dazed over having to work for themselves, many metal objects appear overhead.
The robot overlord challenges the humans in an all-or-nothing match in their Labyrinths of War. Should the humans win, all will go back to as it once was, assuming the humans act more appreciative of the robots' artificial intelligence. Should they lose, there shall be a role reversal unlike any other: humans enslaved by robots. One warrior, one chance. Will you save mankind?
First and foremost, do not let the graphics on the game cartridge and manual fool you. The robots are bulkier, and the maze is NOT see-through.
Anywho, the majority of the graphics have various blue, green, red, and black shades thrown into onto the screen. The head-ups display is displayed fairly nicely, being around the viewscreen, though I feel a full screen with smaller bars at the bottom or in a pause menu would be better.
The graphics in themselves actually serve a fairly important purpose here. Of course, in all games, they do, but moreso here. See, you are actually only allowed to see so far down one of the tunnels, fairly increasing the challenge you end up dealing with. You also have to use the viewscreen and the size of the opponent, from your perspective, to judge whether you can even hit them.
SOUNDS AND MUSIC: 6.5/10.
You don't get a lot of variety with the music tracks. Of each of the four themes you get -- C & W, Japan, Disco, and no music -- it just sounds like the same notes repeating over and over again. And I'm not talking about some twenty-minute "2112" sequence; I mean like five to ten seconds.
The sound effects are somewhat realistic. Punching sounds like punching; missile explosion sounds like missile explosion; radar sounds like radar. But that's really all you get.
PLAY TIME: 1.5/10.
Perhaps the worst aspect of this game is the lack of a long amount of play. Each level can take ten to fifteen minutes to complete, if even that. There are five levels to play and that sums up to about an hour of play time.
Of course, that's not my main issue with the play time -- I can play MegaMan Legends in about forty minutes and have a lot of fun doing that. Rather, it's a lack of variety over the five playthroughs in how to play and win, the lack of some kind of prize for winning, and the lack of any true conclusion to the story.
Now, let's say you get over the lack of variety in gameplay and the lack of actual time that the game takes up.
Well, you'll actually be able to enjoy playing this a bit over and over again. Each level's layout and the robots' starting locations are randomized, so it isn't like you'll find a walkthrough for the game. Trust me, I've tried making one.
But, if you can't get past the aforementioned problems, you'll probably never play this again. It's a double-edged sword. One problem in a game can really destroy any other saving graces.
THE END. Overall score: 5.6/10.
Well, that's my point of view anyways. This game, in effect, was a nugget of gold, conceptually, buried beneath a bunch of scrap metal. This game could have really been a lot better. The concept truly is a good idea, but spoiled by bad gameplay and inexcusably low level play times. I don't recommend getting this game.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Product Release: Bionic Battler (US, 11/30/92)
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