Bomber King (aka Robowarrior) was an extremely difficult action game published by Jaleco in 1988 and developed by Hudson Soft. Many oblivious consumers in Japan purchased this game thinking that it was a sequel to Bomberman (apparently there were subtle hints with the marketing). Though it’s not without its similarities, Bomber King turned out to be a different game altogether.
The game basically involves bombing surrounding areas (necessary in order to progress), collecting items, and killing enemies (who drop bombs for you to collect). There are a few different types of levels, ones that cycle indefinitely until you find the ‘crystal’, levels that have finite space (find the key to exit), and underground levels where you can collect items (it’s not necessary to visit the underground to complete any given level). There are also several bosses for you to defeat along the way.
However, it’s notoriously easy to die in this game, and few have made it to the first boss (or even past the first stage). Much like in Bomberman if you are anywhere near your bomb when it detonates, you die. Add to that the fact that bombs detonate very quickly, and when you place them you slide backward, which takes some getting used to (if you’re holding the wrong direction on the D-pad you’re sure to get absorbed in the blast). Not to mention, sometimes you get shoved into your own bombs by an enemy. Finally, you only get one life, which means instant game over. Even though it’s a fun game, this is the reason that many have given up on it.
Without a guide (if not for a certain Japanese site I would not have beaten the game) it’s near impossible to beat this game. It’s easy to die, but add to that its cryptic nature. For example, there are certain walls that can be blown up in order to make passage, but sometimes there’s no way of telling what walls can be destroyed from those that can’t. To top it off, sometimes it can take anywhere from two to four bombs to destroy a wall.
When you get used to it, it’s actually a pretty addicting game. Still, it’s pretty difficult, and it takes a lot of determination to finish it. If anything, they could have made the first stage a little easier, because there are far easier stages later in the game, but I guess they wanted to weed out the “casual” players. Nevertheless, I like the fact that there’s a fair bit of content (roughly 10 hours of gameplay). I also like the variety of items. When used at the right time, they are all pretty useful, especially missiles, which are practically mandatory for boss battles.
Basic Nintendo graphics. Backgrounds tend to be repetitive textures, but the enemies, bosses and main character are fairly well-developed. Some of the bosses leave something to be desired, but the battles are still fun. All of the items are fairly easy to tell apart, which is a plus.
Sound & Music
I enjoyed the music in this game, but you better get used to the idea that there are certain themes you will be hearing over and over. That’s not to say that there aren’t a decent number of themes, it’s just that the game is pretty long and the main theme tends to repeat throughout most of the game (unless you’re in a hidden room or underground). I would have liked some more variation, obviously, but it was still enjoyable.
You really have to wonder why nobody suggested any changes at the Beta development stage (were there any Beta testers?). Obviously it’s not an unbeatable game, and those who love it really love it but you would have to be borderline obsessive to finish it (I guess that makes me borderline obsessive). The gameplay is just plain fun, and that’s one thing this game has going for it. Apparently there’s a sequel on the Game Boy and I’m rather tempted to check it out.
Check out this video to see what I’ve been talking about:
I would recommend Robo Warrior if you are up for a challenge.