• Graphics
  • Sound
  • Playability
  • Lastability
FormatAtari 8-bit
DeveloperMad Team
PublisherABBUC contest
ReviewDan and Christian

Main review

Remember the days? Remember the wars? C64 versus Spectrum, Amiga versus ST then along came the age of the consoles and it started again with the Sega Master System versus Nintendo Entertainment System (or Famicon as it was known in Japan). The NES won that one without a doubt but it was odd, whoever had a NES always seemed to want to play a Mario game or wanted to talk Mario. Not me, I had a friend who had one and the only reason I ever played on the NES was to have a session on Bomberman, later to be renamed Dynablaster by Ubisoft. And now, the latest incarnation of Dynablaster has hit the Atari with a bang (pun intended) If you are not familiar with the game I suggest you crawl back under your hole, or simply read on…

It’s another case of simplicity rules all. The idea is to kill your opponent by either blowing him up (being careful not to blow yourself up in the process), or by letting one of the alien creature blob things kill him. Simple to do? Not really, the route is blocked by a series or randomly placed, er, blocks which need destroying with more bombs. It’s a case of drop the bomb next to or near the block and run away from the blast so as not to kill yourself or get trapped behind the bomb. The blast itself radiates in four directions so you need to watch where you hide. Also on your back are the alien creatures, these can also be killed by your bombs but can also have a nasty habit of being able to float over the destroyable blocks – eek!

To help you in your quest, the blocks can leave a few power ups (unfortunately not as many as the other incarnations of the game) and the most useful of these is the “extra bomb” power up. This allows you to drop more than one bomb at a time so, if you are quick and nifty, you can start laying waste in no time whatsoever and as a bonus, you can pick up more than one of these. There is also the “extra blast radiation” pick up with, as you might have guessed, expands the bomb explosion area making it easier to kill aliens, your opponent, and gulp, you! Like the extra bomb you can pick more than one of these up for some awesome blasting power. The last of the power ups is the “blast invincibility” power up which protects you for a small amount of time against any bomb blasts.

So is this Atari version any good? Well, yes and a big no. Yes in the fact it’s Dynablaster. The graphics are faithful to the original, if slightly messy (a shout to the lovely explosions) and the presentation is gorgeous, especially the round over and game winner screen which are all accompanied by some nice music. Sound effects are slightly too sparse and a manic in game tune wouldn’t have gone amiss. You can also set how many rounds a player needs to win the game and there are two different game styles to choose from and oh, did I mention it was Dynablaster??

So why the big “no” then? It’s two player only, if you don’t have a friend to play the game with you you may as well stare at a brick wall and watch the weeds grow up it. It’s such a shame the developers didn’t take the time to think about some sort of single-player-type missions to stick in there (kind of like Worms has on the PC) and the lack of them just makes me want to cry…

Second opinion

Unlike Dan I do have friends, so Dynablaster‘s missing single player mode is no problem for me. Besides, did anyone ever play Bomberman or Dynablaster alone? You run around in a maze-like grid, dropping bombs to nuke obstacles and, of course, your enemy, who is trying to do the same. The bombs are equipped with a timer, which delays the explosion for a few seconds, so you have enough time to hide behind a wall and avoid blowing yourself up… if your way isn’t blocked, either by your own or an enemy bomb, that is.

The game’s graphics are good, it’s just that the bomb blasts are a bit blocky sometimes and the palette looks quite bland in places. The animations are okay, but the player sprites could be a bit more detailed.

On the other hand, the gameplay would be as good and enjoyable as ever, if there wasn’t a little design glitch: the players and enemies are placed randomly at the start of each level, and sometimes, there’s an enemy right next to you right from the beginning that kills you instantly. Apart from that, I sometimes confuse my own player with the enemy after a while, but that happens with any version of the game, and only when I’m drunk!