Atomic Bomberman Preview

One of the best multiplayer games ever in it's first PC appearance

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Anyone who is big into SNES games needs no formal introduction to Bomberman. For the uninitiated, HudsonSoft's Super Bomberman and kindred are to this day revered by legions of gamers, who fervently laud the series for offering the finest palm-sweating multiplayer action available. Now the doe-eyed detonator and his mine-crazy pals have their fuses lit for a different occasion. Interplay Productions has recently received license to release a new addition to the series, Atomic Bomberman for the PC. With the imminent release of Sega's Saturn Bomberman, will Atomic Bomberman have enough ingenuity to blow away an audience of PC users? Given the numerous new features added to the game, the answer is "most likely."

Most of the basic game model has remained constant in Atomic Bomberman. Each player begins in an isolated portion of a top-down, single-frame map. Players then begin to strategically lay down bombs, destroying portions of the map until pathways to their competitors are eventually formed. Exploding these barriers yields a variety of random power-ups from speed boots to triggered-bombs. Once the path is clear and players have acquired all the necessary power-ups, they can begin concentrating on finding their friends - and blowing them to pieces.

To add to the cute dementia of the original, Interplay will present the new Mr. Bomberman in 3-D rendered SVGA colors. As an extra bonus, when a competitor is obliterated, one of several humorous death animations may overtake said enemy - his head may blow up, his corpse crumble to ashes, or his body suffer a grisly immolation.

Besides getting gory, Bomberman will become a little surly in the PC version. Thrusting a fatal bomb at an opponent, your character now shrieks taunts like "All right, tough guy!" and "Your ass is grass!" Picking up an extremely potent power-up might elicit an exclamatory "That's it - time for 'Zen-Bomberman'!" Atomic Bomberman will also feature new power-ups, such as jelly bombs, super-soakers, and multi-bomb droppers. And the game will allow a throng of ten bombermen to compete at once over the usual channels, LAN and modem, and Interplay is hoping to get Internet support up and running before the game's release.

Fans of the Bomberman series who are growing up into the world of personal computers will find Atomic Bomberman a novel addition. But until its release in May, the SNES generation will have to wait with fuses held vigilantly.

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