Bomberman Online Preview

The old school hero is back and on the Dreamcast.

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Bomberman Online
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Since he debuted on the NES in 1985, Bomberman has become one of the hardest working icons in gaming. He's appeared in more than 40 games on nearly every platform under the sun, and he's slated to appear on next-generation consoles as well, so it's safe to say the little bomb-pitching dude gets around. Bomberman's first next-gen appearance will be on the Dreamcast, and with its sleek new look, new features, and online play, Bomberman Online is a far cry from the series' 2D-sprite-based days.

For his Dreamcast debut, the explosive one has gotten a slick cel-shaded makeover. The graphic technique Sega has been refining since Jet Grind Radio serves Bomberman well, giving him a slim and trim look. The boards you''ll find yourself playing on sport unique themes such as industrial, aquatic, and so on. Each board is bright and colorful, featuring crisp graphics that are very detailed. The roster of enemies you encounter is also equally attractive. Your foes offer a solid amount of variety, ranging from a standard palette-swapped Bomberman to an assorted bunch of cute but deadly creatures.

He's back!
He's back!

The game's modes mirror the variety found in the graphics thanks to a robust offering of gameplay and customization options. You'll find three modes to hurl explosives in: normal, battle, and network. Normal mode is a standard story mode--you'll work your way through facing enemies on different boards. Battle mode offers five game choices for you and a friend, and its rules can be configured to your liking. Survival challenges you to wade through as many opponents as you can. Ring match requires you to blow up as many opponents as you can during a specific time limit. Panel paint has you competing to change a majority of the floor panels on a board to your assigned color. Submarine is a battle game new to the series that puts you and an opponent on opposite sides of a wall in an arena above water. Bombs you set on your side submerge and resurface in your opponent's ring. The goal is to blow up your opponent a set amount of times. Lastly, hyperbomb puts you in a race to blow up three target panels and set off a bomb that takes out all the competition. The network mode will let you play online against three other opponents via the Dreamcast modem.

Submarine fight!
Submarine fight!

Some of the game's coolest features can be found in the "extras box," which offers a cool array of options. Aside from stat tracking and keeping tabs on panels you've collected while progressing through the game, Bomberman Online allows you to customize several aspects of your character. To better allow your online alter ego to reflect your sensibilities, you'll be able to edit your name and modify your character's appearance. The game provides a large assortment of heads, eyes, bodies, legs, and accessories to let you tweak your Bomberman's look. Lastly, you'll have the opportunity to edit a "calling card" your online opponents will see when you're duking it out.

We found the game to be a worthy entry in the Bomberman series, offering the addicting gameplay we've come to expect from the little dude. The online play promises to give the game a good amount of replay value in addition to the multiplayer modes, and the edit feature allows some truly funky creations. Gamers eager to test their mad skills both offline and on can look for Bomberman Online this October.

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