Well, well I see your back. Good to see you haven’t been run off, this part of the sector can get pretty rough. I tell you, I wasn’t in the office more than a few cycles and already the local sec-copper give this place the once over. “Scanning for content” he says, Yeah yeah. Anyhow, been lookin’ through some of the old files and came across one you might like. You like Cyborgs? You like CLASSIC Game properties? Oh man, is this the case for you. While you give it a look, I’m going to have a tip from the bottle.
Once again lets look at some of the facts of this case, With out a doubt, Bionic Commando is one of the more recognizable properties of the early game video game age. ( I actually REMEMBER playing this in the arcade as a kid. Yeah, I’m that old.) There was a lot of changes between the original console release and the arcade release, Bionic Commando in the arcade was actually marketed as a sequel to the game “Commando” featuring a character named “Super Joe”, the marketing department went so far as Naming the unnamed protagonist of Bionic commando “Super Joe”. When it was ported to the NES around the late 1980’s. Ladd Spencer was the titular hero and “Super Joe” was introduced as a vital guide to the success of the mission. Looping back to 2009, “Rad” Spencer ( Notice the name is actually a phonetic spelling of the Japanese “Ladd”) returns in a darker update of this original port.
Let’s not mince words here, the development of this game was one of the cases that I have witnessed where Production team and Development team did NOT get along creatively. In fact in an interview with Joystiq (September 7, 2011) Keiji Inafune intimated that development was a strained process between the companies. “At the end of developing Bionic Commando, things got really messed up between the two companies,” He did not say exactly what happened to result in a bizarre ending to the game but, the general consensus was overall bad. To make matters worse Inafune even commented that the usual response between Studio Grin and Capcom was literally “"Whatever, do what you want, I don't care." Never a good sign. Especially telling when Grin Studios closed it’s doors in August of 2009, a mere four months later.
So, let’s launch into to this title…Our story follows one Nathan Spencer as he is freed from prison by Joseph “Super Joe” Gibson on a matter of EXTREME military business. So years before there was a “purge” of bionic individuals because of the fear of the general population. A terrorist organization known as “Bio-Regin” has detonated a weapon of mass destruction over Ascension City. With the population decimated Bio-Regin now occupies the shattered remains of the metropolis searching for something. A secret military project that you must prevent them reaching at all costs. Along the way Joe will drop hints about information on the whereabouts of your missing wife (PLOT POINT!!), Complete your mission and he will reveal allll! Oooo!!! ( You have to read that last sentence while wiggling your fingers like a scary ghost…really, it’ll help drive home the sinister point)
Throughout this game you will be given plenty of opportunity to see the amazing work that was put into this game. The decimated metropolis, a body broken by the ravages of a destructive force. Navigating the cities shattered elevated highways and ravaged buildings. I mean, that’s some post apocalyptic shit going down here and you’re in the middle. Alone, no back up just a man his Bionics and a couple of guns.
Let’s do this.
All in all you fight through the city to find that it housed a highly destructive military project ( Project Vulture) And through some pretty unimpressive twists It turns out [ SPOILERS!!!] that “Super Joe” is behind the attack, Oh noes! He plans to activate project Vulture, which is some sort of Bionic-ressurection process of some kind, they don’t really go into it that much. The next Shamalan-esque twist is that in order to get Bionics to work Joe figured out that the devices needed to be attached not only physically but, EMOTIONALLY to the user..aaaannnd here’s the twist outrage in 3…2…1.. Your Wife is your arm. Let that sink in a sec,…your…ARM.
Seriously. Now, I know your all going “WTF!? How does that even work?” I know, I know. It hurts. My mind burned with the realization and it was almost enough to make me drop the controller right there. Then the masturbation jokes FLOODED in and it was okay. In the end you slay Joe and end his ambitions for world domination with his army of cyborg vulture,angel..uh…things. Spencer falls, presumably to his death and credits roll.
Okay here’s the skinny, was it a good story? Nope. Not even close. It was a Saturday morning villain with a world domination plan. A POOR PLAN with TERRIBLE execution, you know what? Cobra Commander had better, well-thought out plans than this guy. Who destroys a whole city and then gets a terrorist group to search for a military secret YOU ALREADY KNOW ABOUT? An idiot with a delusions of grandeur that’s who. I mean, Joe already knew where this thing was and had access to it. In fact it was HIS LAB to begin with. Jeegus, with the amount of holes in this plot it’s practically cheesecloth at this point. Not to mention we get introduced to two other Bionics and aside from exposition they are nothing characters. NOTHING, throw-aways. Ugh, why even bother with them. I realize that you were trying to build rapport with them, but, they just showed up said a bunch of stuff and then disappear for HOURS of gameplay. Even when Speedy-cyber legs girl dies I really didn’t care. So seriously? I can’t really rate this high at all.
Graphics: What can I say here? The graphics in my opinion are great. Check some of these shots Lighting is solid and the motion blurs that kick in at really high speeds really feel fluid and not jarring. The cityscape is just amazing and well done. The broken architecture really give a sense of devastation and ruin.
Boss battles are well done and give a real sense of scale. Attack animations are fluid and with a few exceptions( Launching a target into a wall glitch) that sometimes happen, over all it was well executed and rendered with amazing detail.
Okay..now the PAINFUL part. Really. What could be more painful than a lame story? REPETITVE LINER GAMEPLAY.
Look at this game..LOOK AT IT! Look at the screenshots!
This game screams OPEN WORLD!! and yet, no. Not even close. Radiation areas keep you on track or you die. Wanna try swinging off something on to the top of the building? Oh shit! Radiation! Wanna hide in a corner for a moment to catch your breath? Better make DAMN sure the devs want to ALLOW you to go there or BAM! Radiation! Get hit by a rogue rocket and thrown off in a direction? Better make sure you weren’t too close to that rad field cause no amount of swinging is gonna save your sorry ass. This just KILLS the feel of this place for me. I went into this thinking “Oh sweet! A whole city I can swing through and explore!” NOPE. It was like Hitler was standing next to me and barking where I could and could not go, in that high pitched stressed Austrian accent. “You go zhere! unt zhere! now jump! NEIN! NEIN! NOT ZHERE!! ZERE!! NEIN!!! Als Strafe für deine Unverschämtheit fordere ich eine Schachtel mit Gebäck!!”
And speaking of environmental factors how about water? NOPE. You weigh a ton so no swimming for you. Okay cool, I get it. but WAIST DEEP WATER could kill me? WTF? Come on guys, really? I know a few games that even now in 2014 are doing that shit and seriously it just pisses me off. If I can stand in water I shouldn’t drown. I don’t know what kind of wacky insectoid-mutant you are but, I do NOT breathe with my legs.
Now, some of the boss fights had neat mechanics, like the worm machine. It felt right. It felt epic. It was good. Surprisingly good.
Good enough to save this game? Sorry guys, clocking in at about 12 hours (Including me mucking about with collectables for a bit then giving up) It was just repetitive and at some points downright boring with all the rote movements and actions. Swing, recover,shoot. Swing,recover, shoot.
Gameplay: Ugh sorry guys but, gotta be honest here 4/10
Conclusion: Was the game REALLY that bad? Yes and no. It is unfortunate that this game had the looming specter of “Doomed from the start” With Developer / Publisher issues plaguing it from the beginning and the “I don’t care“ attitude of Capcom to the whole project really hurt this promising title. An open world Bionic commando was what we were looing forward to but, this..this single-path experience enclosed in a styrofoam fast-food container of mediocrity was what we ended up with. Had we been given our open world who knows what could have been. All in all what we ended up with was a sub-par action title with a weak story and pitiful excuse for a twist.
Is this a game you should play? No. If you can find it REAL cheap somewhere sure it’s a great time waster with some nostalgia but, only if you can really ignore the blatant flaws in the story and gameplay.
There you go kid, a twisted story of betrayal, nostalgia and apathy that is Bionic Commando. Sure it’s a sad one, one of many is this dingy city. Not all of us can reach those ivory towers; most of us have to do with cold mud-caked mean streets. In the words of Raymond Chandler “down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.”
That’s what I aim do to and so should you. Now get outta here kid, I got an eight o’clock appointment with Jim, Jack and Johnny at that gin-joint in sector 10 and I already know it’s gonna be a late night.