The first thing that one thinks of when they here the name Bomberman is probably “Multiplayer.” Rarely has there been a quality one player Bomberman adventure. The N64 saw a couple of Bomberman games. First came Bomberman 64. The single player in this game was a somewhat decent adventure that brought the player through various lands. However, that game hit its high point in the multiplayer ring. Up to four players could compete in a free for all or in a team battle. Several different uniforms and arenas could be unlocked by conquering the single player game. The Bomberman series tried desperately to make a name for itself in the single player department when Bomberman Hero was released. The game was strictly single player, but bland level design caused this game to choke. Lack of multiplayer caused this game to self-destruct. Bomberman Tournament is the first Bomberman to have a successful single player and multiplayer design.
Tournament’s single player is the best single player Bomberman to date. It seems that the game’s designers took a note from the Zelda series and a bit from Pokemon. Mostly, the game captures the adventurous Zelda feel. Pokemon like creatures called Karabons are used throughout the game. These creatures give Bomberman enhanced features. They allow Bomberman to run faster, kick bombs, and even act as keys to doorways in dungeons. It is in the player’s best interest to find them all, but it is not necessary. However, some Karabons need to be found in order to advance in the quest. Karabons can be used later in mini game type battles. Battling Karabons is not completely necessary, but it offers the game a little something more.
The structure is that of Zelda’s. The player will find a Karabon that will let him into a dungeon. Once inside the dungeon, an item will be found to advance the player to the end of the level. After a boss fight, a heart container is obtained, making the player stronger. This is where that RPG feel comes into play. This Zelda structure has worked since the beginning, and works in Tournament. The only real gripe that I had with the game is that dungeons are very plan. They don’t really offer much of a challenge. The player will go through the same dungeon layout in every dungeon. The puzzles and challenges don’t seem to change very much.
Bomberman will find many different types of bombs throughout his quest. Each weapon serves a purpose. He will need a specific bomb to survive in each new environment. One example of this is you will need the water bomb in water world. Makes sense. Each Karabon will help along the way too. For the most part, you must get each Karabon as they appear in order. Karabon “A” is needed to get Karabon “B” while “B” is used to get “C” etc. This structure works, but it rarely beats off the path to find a secret Karabon. More secret Karabons would have been nice, but at the same time, it could have bogged down the game unnecessarily. Besides battling Karabons, other mini games are present such as fishing. Once the proper tools are acquired, fishing can bring about a nice break from the regular game.
The graphics are very colorful. Never once will you wonder where your character is on screen. Everything stands out, as it should. The animation is also very well done. Enemies and Bomberman himself move very fluidly. Tournament’s graphics are as colorful as any other system. The music is also your basic Bomberman music, but it fits the game like a glove. The techno like beat compliments the sound effects.
What is Bomberman made for? You guessed it, Multiplayer! A Bomberman isn’t a Bomberman without a good multiplayer. Just look at Bomberman Hero. That game suffered tremendously from lack a battle mode. Surprisingly, the entire multiplayer experience is only needed with one game pak. Up to four people can play at once. The game offers eight arenas, each with its own experience. Many options can be turned on and off, allowing for best multiplayer experience possible. Once a player dies in battle, Revenge Mode takes place. This mode allows a player to move vertically on the east and west walls of the arena, and toss bombs at the remaining players. This is a great way to prevent boredom if you get knocked out early. After each battle, fishing mode may take place if that option is chosen. This allows the winning player a chance to start off the next round with an item such as another bomb or a punching glove. I found that if fishing mode is turned on, it takes too long in between battles. If player 1 wins, he probably doesn’t need an advantage anyway. Nevertheless, this option offers a little bit more if one so desires. The loading times in between battles are shockingly short. You won’t have to wait all day for the game to load on everyone’s GBA. This keeps the battles intense and challenging.
Bomberman Tournament is great game to own simply because of the wonderful single pak linking function. But the game is also bright in the single player mode. Tournament may look and feel like a Zelda, but it doesn’t bring the same quality as a Zelda. If you are looking for a decent single player adventure, then play Tournament. If you are looking for a superb adventure, play any Zelda. Even though this is best single player Bomberman yet, it is not at the same level as Zelda. Not that Tournament is a bad game, but Zelda offers so much more. But on the other hand, Zelda is not known for its intense multiplayer battle modes. If anything, pick up Bomberman Tournament simply for its multiplayer capability as it has one of the best single pak link options on GBA.