E3 06: Bomberman Hands-On

We wander over to Konami's E3 booth and start blowing stuff up on the PSP.


LOS ANGELES--Earlier today, during a visit to Konami's E3 booth, we had an opportunity to get our hands on Bomberman on the PlayStation Portable for the first time. The game's multiplayer battle mode wasn't available on this occasion, but we did get to check out the normal and classic gameplay options.

As you might expect, Bomberman's classic mode bears more than a passing resemblance to the Bomberman games of old. In fact, the only real difference is that the graphics are 3D now. Our goal on the classic levels was to clear the maps of destructible walls and enemies within a time limit. The enemies had very little going for them in the intelligence department, but the time limit was pretty tight, and the levels were made far more challenging than we expected them to be by the fact that very few power-up items dropped.

After giving up on the classic mode due to the lack of power-ups, we decided to check out the normal mode, in which Bomberman will travel between planets and blow up stuff in different environments. The seven worlds included in the demo, which might well represent everything in the finished game, were named Bomber World, Desert World, Ice World, Electro World, Lava World, Spook World, and Jungle World--which pretty much covers all of the bases as far as requisite level themes are concerned. We opted for Jungle World, which was a somewhat organic-looking environment in which small areas of the map were covered by tree canopies (or bushes, or something) in such a way that it was impossible to see any enemies or bombs that were underneath them.

Bomberman's most significant departure from the formula of the original game is undoubtedly the option for you to collect power-ups and save them for later use. The PlayStation Portable's shoulder buttons are used to call up a power-ups menu that occupies a narrow column down the left side of the screen during gameplay, and this menu lists all of the power-ups that you can currently choose from. Another gameplay feature that wasn't present in the original game is a button that automatically drops multiple bombs in a line, saving you the trouble of repeatedly mashing the single bomb drop button. It's probably a pretty good addition, but we can't really comment on it because we never tried it out. We wish we could tell you that we simply refused to try it out because using it would've felt too much like cheating, but the truth is that the power-ups were so scarce in the game that we never had more than one bomb in our arsenal. Other buttons that we didn't get to try out were labeled "stop kicked bombs" and "remote weapons," which both seem pretty self-explanatory.

Based on what we saw of the game today, Bomberman for the PSP looks like it'll have plenty to offer solo players, but like every other game that's ever borne the Bomberman name, it'll be best when played with friends. We look forward to bringing you more information on the game as soon as it becomes available.

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