Don't you just love clones of popular games? One thing gets famous to some degree, and there's a series of games out there wanting a piece of that pai. It's hardly a new thing and certainly not restricted to just games, but as the saying goes: imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. With Bombo, that takes a more ironic twist. (At least if the word of one of its creators is any indication.) In any event, comparisons with Bomb Jack in this review is not only inevitable, but mandatory.
Bombo is a Bomb Jack clone, and, as unofficial versions go, it's about as good as the original Commodore conversion of Bomb Jack in most aspects, among them the most important one; gameplay. The whole concept is, like most arcade games of the early-to-mid eighties, deceptively simple, but with an angle complex enough to create some added challenge to those who seek it.
However, despite the game's setup being simple, the game is anything but. Particularly with Bombo, whose controllable character move a good deal slower than his chunky counterpart in Bomb Jack, the game turns into a bit of a challenge just staying alive, never mind getting all the bombs, particularly in the "correct" order. And the main complaint about Bombo is that its enemies are just as nimble than the character you're most desperately trying to control. Thankfully, they're also not quite as mindlessly aggressive as some of the ones in Bomb Jack, so the peril of this game might be slightly exaggerated.
On the upside, the more sluggish control of your character in Bombo does help with some of the trickier jumps, which add some leeway and helps against the sometimes annoying collision detection, though you might still be caught up in platforms and dying from that. Also, with the complete width of the screen being used for the game itself, Bombo feels a little less constrained than Bomb Jack does.
Bottom line: The two games are about equal. Bombo looks a bit worse than Bomb Jack does, but sounds a bit better. The gameplay suffers from some give and take -- its controls are worse, but recuperates some of that inferiority through its more manageable pace. It's got that slight "rushed" feel to it, but it's not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination.
|GRAPHICS - 4/10|
|The sprites in Bombo simply doesn't look very good, nor does the background, of which there are a selection of three. In the great battle against its big brother; Bomb Jack, Bombo simply loses out -- and by a noticeable margin at that -- by having less of everything. It doesn't look ugly per se, but there is certainly an amateurish feel to it.|
|SOUND - 7/10|
|When it comes to music, however, Bombo turns the tables through Ben Daglish's music by about the same degree. It doesn't come close to his efforts in Last Ninja, of course, but Bombo does at least have a roundtable of three melodies that alternates through the stages, and are all quite memorable in their own rights. (The first one in particular.)|
|PLAYABILITY - 6/10|
|Bomb Jack wins out on the controls side. Yes, it's nice to not have to rapid-press the button to make your character hover, but the awkward way of breaking off a jump may cause some deaths, because Bombo makes the odd decision of also making your character float if the stick is pulled down, even though general controller logic would dictate that your character should literally (and pun-itively? Oh, ha ha I kill myself) divebomb instead. It's an odd choice, and one that may come at odds with those among you who has played Bomb Jack. Due to the slower movement of your main character when walking/moving sideways, precision jumping can get a bit easier, which is quite important if you plan on maximizing your bonuses, but due to the game's more fiddly collision detection, you will also die more easily. Also, if the button is pressed when your character touches the ground, he will immediately jump again, and you better be ready for that.|
|OVERALL - 6/10|
|Bombo is... a generally fun game, and I do remember thinking a little more fondly of it back in the days. Granted, it's a hard game, and the many years where I haven't played it has clearly taken its toll on me upon retrying it. However, I'd like to think I recognize the things about this game that could have been done better, and a little tightening up on player movement and crash detection could have served this game well, maybe even lifted it above its original kin.|