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Bomberman Act Zero

Act Zero. Year Zero and very nearly zero percent

You can turn it off. And with the full gamut of good points about Bomberman: Act Zero summarised in one solitary sentence we can now move onto the bad it is a faecal travesty, a box full of bum, the binary equivalent of the clap. And if we had the technology, those words would now be flashing, broadcast over long wave on the hour like a scatological Shipping Forecast. Luckily, describing why this approaches dog-interfering levels of wrongness takes only a few words more: apart from the most antique gameplay, all that was good, everything you loved about the original, has been removed. And what's new? It's bad.


The problem is that everyone knows Bomberman; it's been on mobile, in minigames and on multiplayer handhelds, it probably even appeared in a few cave paintings next to a speared elk. It was simple, bright, cute and fiendish. And it was also tighter than an Arctic Monkeys set. And since everyone knows the originator or the endless follow-ups, they also know what has been chucked out the window - what has been purged to leave just three modes on the barest of sun-bleached bones. Out has gone the classic single screen multiplayer for one, plus the ability to kick bombs for another. The Baroms, the Power Glove, the Crown mode and the spikes for three, four, five and six. The list could go on and on and on but what really matters is this: that what has replaced them is mostly ill-conceived, careless or bludgeoningly unimaginative. And if it none of those, it is, instead, just old-fashioned crap ideas.

Take the first-person Bomber mode as an example. Designed to be a player's eye view to show off the next gen greyscale graphics, it instead gives you a too-zoomed-in-to-use third-person camera that barely moves, obscuring any TNT that has been planted. So you fiddle with the angles and die. Then you die and die and die some more until you vow never to play the game that way again. And with a whole third of the package ruled out with one terrible design decision, you turn to the Standard mode with its fixed full-screen view. But before you get the chance to enjoy the game as it was a decade ago - forgetting those flash textures and the jiggling breast-flesh - you discover that there's no Save or Continue option. Instead you must complete all 99 never-changing levels in one arse-breaking sitting. No passwords, no mercy, no fun. Finally, that leaves the Live game, which with eight online players just happens to be the best of the lot - but only because it's like putting in your contact lenses with a soldering iron instead of taking them out with a JCB. Often laggy and prone to booting you off the server between games, you can play in random Deathmatches against friends, or face those of a similar skill rating. And that's meant to be the challenge - to climb the rankings, to reach the top of the global table. But as soon as you see the names and the national flag next to your rival it brings home the real tragedy of playing Bomberman - there are human beings out there trying to wring some joy out of it. People with eyes and hair and teeth, people with dignity, people who bought it, people who aren't being paid to suffer as we are. It could make you weep salty tears of pity to imagine the poor mites forced to play because it was a birthday present and their bi-focal octogenarian benefactor is in the room, craning her shrivelled tortoise face in confusion at what her 50 billion Yen bought.


Except that two seconds later the little gits indulge in a spot of ungentlemanly conduct, ganging up against you or running away just to scrape a stats-maintaining joy. Cheating; just what an already dull game really needs.
And so, at the end all you're left with are questions. Lots of questions. Like, when is a cheap version of original flavour Bomberman coming to Live? And, how could you cock up Bomberman? Or why did they think they could charge £50 for this? Or why did they put in on 360? Or why did they bother at all? And of course, why, God, why? Stinkingly bad.

The verdict

Less of a game, more the regurgitations of the Devil's own bowel. On every single level, technically, artistically, conceptually, it is bad.

  • Stupid, squalid and sacrilegious
  • An unbreakable franchise broken
  • A new low for gaming on Xbox 360
Xbox 360
Action, Puzzle