Friday, 12 June 2015

Bomboy (Mega Drive)

Bomboy is an unlicenced game from Taiwan that serves as a Bomberman knock-off, and like most modern movie mockbusters, it actually came out before the actual Mega Drive version of Bomberman by a year. Unusually for an unlicenced Mega Drive game, programming-wise it seems pretty robust, with no noticable glitches. The graphics also seem to be both original and of decent quality.

The game has a couple of giant, glaring flaws, however. The most immediately obvious is that the main draw of the Bomberman games, the battle mode is completely absent. There is a two-player option, but it's just "normal mode" co-op play. The second flaw takes a while to sink in, and it's the atrocious stage design.

Every stage seems to be some slight variation on the theme of having diagonal lines of blocks all the way across the screen, with only a couple of destructible blocks in each line. In the grid-based world of Bomberman (or rather, a clone of Bomberman), this makes each stage into an exercise in slow, onerous tedium. It's made worse by the fact that the enemies seem to move completely a random, leaving the player to place bombs nearby and just hope that they wander into the explosion at the right time. The scarce amounts of destructible blocks also makes power-ups a rare occurance, and on one occasion, I'd managed to slog my way through the entire first 5 stages before getting a bomb-up or fire-up item.

You might notice among the screenshots, however, a stage that doesn't fit with the rest. After playing Bomboy for a while, I wondered if it had any kind of intro or anything, so I left the title screen running to see what happened. There wasn't an intro, but there was a rolling demo, featuring a completely different Stage 1-1 than the one ingame. Some further research online reveals that there is an entire different set of levels to the ones I played. So are there two different ROMs floating about? Or the same ROM that somehow plays different stages depending on whether it's being played on an emulator or real hardware? Maybe there's Action Replay codes that might allow players to play both sets of stages? We might never know.

I conclusion, the version of Bomboy I played was awful. But there might be a better one out there somewhere, maybe?


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  2. Looks professional... I will try it soon :]

  3. Wow. I'd never noticed this, but apparently the stage layouts differ depending on which emulator you're using. I just tried it in both RetroArch cores (Genesis Plus GX and PicoDrive), Kega Fusion, and the original Genesis Plus, and each of these gives a different layout for stage 1-1-- none of which match the version shown in the demo!

    1. Amazing! I wonder how this happens. Is it something to do with copy protection, or maybe the exact levels of accuracy each emulator might have?

    2. I think it's related to a random value generator or related to the console internal clock, since not all emulators have the same system for managing "the time" or fps.
      PAL and NTSC video systems have different refresh rates of course, the blank, I think this can also may affect the generation of random values on different consoles type and emulators.
      Disassemble the rom code may get light on this mystery ;)