Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Bomb Boat (Playstation)

This game's title, in isolation, might lead you, like me, to assume that it might be some kind of military simulation game, or maybe a nautically-themed shooting game. It's actually some thing completely different, and, some would say, slightly unoriginal: Bomb Boat is a maze game about a hungry yellow blob eating stuff while avoiding ghosts.

That is a little harsh, actually, as Bomb Boat does have a couple of its own little gimmicks, and they're right there in the title, even: bombs and boats! The mazes of which each stage is composed are weird little docks, with solid stone parts connected by flimsy wooden bridges. Your means of defence against the ghosts is to drop bombs, bomberman-style, on the ground. On solid ground, the bomb's blast will just stun any nearby ghosts for a couple of seconds, which is useless. However, a bomb that explodes on a bridge destroys the bridge, as well as any ghosts standing on it, scoring you points and getting a ghost or two out of the way for a short time. Furthermore, the bridge will reappear a few seconds later with an item upon it! These are usually just points-granting fish, but there's a few power-ups in there too, like speed-ups, temporary invincibility, and so on. I'm not sure if there's any relationship between simultaneous ghost sinking and the quality of items that appears.

The boats are a lot simpler, though. Each stage has a bunch of them dotted around in pre-determined places. You step onto one and it'll take you in a straight line until it hits another bit of path. Assuming the levels have been designed with enough care, theoretically, someone with a lot of patience might be able to figure out the best route around each stage, to maximise ghost killing and boat-riding for the quickest, most efficient way of getting through the game. I highly doubt anyone has ever been so dedicated to a mediocre Japan-only budget-price Playstation game released at the end of the console's life though.

Bomb Boat isn't a bad game, but I still can't recommend it. There's just no excitement, no hook, nothing to it at all. It would have been a forgotten also-ran if it had been released in 1982, let alone 2002.

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