Earlier this month, Capcom held a media event at its Osaka, Japan R&D Studios to present Bionic Commando Rearmed to the North American press. The series has been around since 1988, when Capcom released the original Bionic Commando on the NES. Two subsequent versions have since been released, garnering the series a loyal fan base: one game in 1992 on the Game Boy, and another seven years later for the Game Boy Color. Now, 20 years after the series' very first release, Bionic Command Rearmed returns as a full remake of the original on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Although we've seen this new version before, Capcom recently unveiled a variety of new features, including the Challenge Room, Database, various multiplayer modes, and other settings and options to try out.
The leap to 3D graphics makes for an interesting Bionic Commando experience, particularly with weapon effects.
The Challenge Room is a timed race mode in which you use the wire mechanic, a staple of the series that lets you use a grappling hook to swing around from start to finish. We were able to see the Timing and Stamina modes of the Challenge Room. In the Timing mode, you'll have to shoot the wire out of your bionic arm at precisely the right time to grab certain blocks to make it to the goal. Stamina mode lines the ground with spikes; if you fall to the ground, then you'll have to restart. Clear times will be uploaded to a worldwide leaderboard where you can check your world ranking and the world-record times.
Multiplayer versus mode lets you choose from four characters: Spencer, Killt, Groeder, and Super Joe. Each of the characters will have his own varying attributes. These attributes include how much ammo he can carry at a time, how much damage he can dish out, and the amount of health he'll have.
Multiplayer modes include Deathmatch, in which you compete to see who can rack up the most kills; Last Man Standing, in which players battle it out to see who can last the longest; and Don't Touch the Floor, in which you compete by forcing your opponents to fall to their deaths as many times as the clock allows. These game modes are available in Free for All and Team Battle modes. During play, power-ups such as better weapons, health bonuses, and barriers will come falling from above.
Certain weapons can be deflected with the Bionic Arm, which changes the strategy of the arm's use from purely offensive to defensive as well. Multiplayer tends to feel bit chaotic, but we nevertheless found it to be extremely exciting. We can't deny the appeal of using teamwork to focus your attacks on a certain opponent, or to pick out an opponent with only a bit of health and attack him or her relentlessly.
Players can choose from four commandos, all of the bionic variety.
The Database portion includes lists and descriptions of characters, weapons, and power-up items, some of which (such as the 1up and Yashichi) are found in many other Capcom games. Detailed descriptions offer you the opportunity to learn about these aspects of the game, and the nostalgia factor may bring a smile to the faces of longtime Capcom fans.
Bionic Commando Rearmed offers new weapons such as the laser, spread bomb, and rocket launcher. You can also perform other feats with your Bionic Arm, such as grabbing barrels and throwing them at your enemies, which adds an interesting new facet to the game.
A demonstration of a boss fight was also given in which many of Rearmed's new features were used to defeat the baddie. This gave us a good perspective on the way these new play styles can be enjoyed. We also got to play the previously announced co-op mode. This one is definitely a different type of experience from previous versions, but we got the impression that even difficult parts of the game were able to be conquered with proper teamwork.
One feature that we took notice of during the co-op mode occurred when any player came close to the edge of the screen: Scrolling becomes locked, making the player unable to move on until the other player moves forward as well. This felt like a throwback to the 8-bit games, where similar things occurred. Secret areas that may be hard to maneuver through may require a good deal of teamwork and coordination. Unfortunately, co-op and multiplayer can be played only on a local connection. This is a little disappointing, to say the least.
Try to watch out for that water. It'll get ya.
Capcom has also delivered an in-game tutorial that lets you practice vertical, horizontal, and diagonal wire techniques, as well as swinging techniques and passing through small openings such as airflow ducts. Hopefully this will mean that people who have no experience with the previous versions can easily learn to get into the tough action of Bionic Commando.
In a series first, three difficulty settings are offered: the standard easy, medium, and hard. On medium, everything is the same as usual, but in easy mode, floors are placed in areas where you're in danger of falling, removing that particular danger from the game. On the hard setting, everything is stepped up, including the enemy's attacks, making it more difficult all-around.
One interesting tidbit we can't help but share is that during the production of this game, producer Ben Judd commented that perhaps they should change the purple coloring of the foot soldiers in the first level. When this suggestion was brought up to the company in charge of development, GRIN, its response was to send a screenshot from the original Bionic Commando that clearly showed the purple coloring that was used way back then. This lets us know that, despite all these changes, the developer is still sticking to the original spirit of the game. Bionic Commando Rearmed should be enjoyable for both fans of the original and series newcomers when Capcom plans to begin downloads in late May on Xbox Live Arcade at a price of $10 (800 Microsoft points).
Ed. note: This article was provided by GameSpot Japan, and has been translated from the original Japanese.