|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2012)|
|Designer(s)||Takao Yoshiba (Arcade)|
|Genre(s)||Platform game, beat-em-up|
|Mode(s)||Single player, Up to 2 players, alternating turns|
|Arcade system||Namco System 1|
|Sound||Sound CPU : 6809
MCU : HD63701
Sound Chips : YM2151, Namco advanced 8-channel stereo WSG, DAC
|Display||Raster, 288 x 224 pixels, 24-bit RGB color|
Bravoman (超絶倫人 ベラボーマン Chō Zetsurin Jin: Berabōman , "Super Unequaled Human: Bravoman"), is a 1988 platformer/beat-em-up hybrid arcade game developed by Now Production and released by Namco for the arcades only in Japan. It was later ported to the PC Engine in Japan and the TurboGrafx-16 in North America in 1990. This version was also released outside of Japan simply as Bravoman. In 2007, this same version was released on the Wii Virtual Console.
The game described by Namco themselves as a "comical action game", which takes a light and humorous approach to an otherwise trite theme, by using a lot of humorous elements, both graphics, plot and sound-wise, usually ridiculing or parodying stereotypical elements of Japanese tokusatsu and videogames, in a manner similar to the Parodius video game series by Konami. It is currently has a webcomic and a webtoon, starring Rob Paulsen as Bravoman and Alpha Man, Dee Bradley Baker as Dr. Bomb and Anti-Bravoman, and Romi Dames as Waya Hime.
The plot starts when Hitoshi Nakamura (中村 仁 Nakamura Hitoshi , also known as Arnold), a typical insurance company salaryman (who is also a caricature of Namco's founder, Masaya Nakamura) encounters an alien named Alpha Man (α遊星人) from Planet Alpha (misspelled as "Alfa" in the English TurboGrafx-16 version). Then Alpha Man tells Arnold that an evil scientist named Dr. Bomb (爆田博士 Bakuda-hakase ) is planning to set an "End the World" weapon. Then Alpha Man gives Hitoshi an odd metal rod, a tuning fork and a 100-yen coin, which turns him into Bravoman, a bionic tokusatsu hero who possesses telescopic limbs that can be used to fight against Dr. Bomb and his henchmen.
Bravoman can mainly use his telescopic limbs to attack enemies. Depending on his position (jumping, crouching etc.) he will either use his arms, legs or head to attack. The arcade had 6 pressure-sensitive buttons that allowed the player to control how strong an attack and how high a jump would be.
Most enemy projectiles can be blocked by Bravoman's attacks. Bravoman can occasionally collect some bonuses giving him greater range, temporary invincibility, increased speed, powerful punches, the ability to fly through most of the level without being hurt or the ability to fire energy bolts for a short while. Performing an attack at the top of one's jump, which will cause Bravoman to stop for a while in mid-air. At that point, pressing the jump button again will result in a smaller, mid-air jump. This technique gives Bravoman a little extra jumping height, which is essential in some stages of the game, but this can only be done once per jump. Bravoman has sufficient jumping power on the most powerful setting, and this technique is neither possible nor necessary. In underwater stages, Bravoman turns into a submarine, and the game then works like most horizontal-scrolling shoot-em-up games. The attack buttons shoot torpedoes while the jump buttons drop depth charges. At the end of the game or after the player gives up, a scene showing Bravoman walking back to his home while morphing back into his true form telling his wife and two children he's home. After that, they walk outside and face the player.
Throughout the game, Bravoman's sort-of-partner named Lottery Man (福引男), will be aiding him with various bonuses during gameplay. Lottery Man is a yellow robot riding a fat unicycle, and floats in the game's screen each time Bravoman collects a special bonus, offering him a random item, usually points, health or power ups. Also, during most stages, Bravoman can collect some special "lottery tickets" bonuses. After a stage's boss is defeated, Bravoman meets Lottery Man, who gives Bravoman some health bonuses which appear to be a popular Japanese food called onigiri, depending on how many "tickets" he has collected during the stage. In one stage, Bravoman saves Lottery Man from a tragedy.
The arcade game was later ported to the PC Engine in Japan and the TurboGrafx-16 in North America in 1990. While the arcade version was only released in Japan, the PC Engine version was also released outside of Japan for te TurboGrafx-16 simply as Bravoman. In 2007, this same version was released on the Wii Virtual Console. The arcade version was released for the Japanese Wii Virtual Console in October 2009, while there are no plans for this version to have a worldwide release. Some changes were added to the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 version compared to its arcade counterpart. Pressing on the fire button for a long time will result in a ranged but slow attack, while pressing it shortly results in a quicker, though less ranged attack. When walking normally, he can either attack frontally or perform a diagonal forward and upwards kick, by moving the joystick up plus sideways while attacking. When jumping in this version, some places require a slightly more advanced technique, the so-called "Bravo Jump". The home port doesn't reveal the fact about the wife and children scene until the end of the game, while the arcade version shows it in the game's intro and after its "game over" screen.
Two years later, a Japan-only arcade spin-off titled Pistol-Shogun - Pistol Daimyo no Bōken was released, which stars one of Bravoman's bosses, Pistol Daimyo (ピストル大名 Pisutoru Daimyō ). Bravoman appeared in Namco x Capcom alongside many enemies from his game. Two more notable characters from Bravoman, Black Bravo (ブラックベラボー Burakku Berabō ) and Princess Waya (わや姫 Waya-Hime ) also appeared in Namco X Capcom as bosses; however, later in the game, Waya-Hime joins the player's party and teams up with Taki from Namco's Soulcalibur series. In the same game, Bravoman is partnered with Wonder Momo from the game of the same name. Along with numerous Namco characters, Bravoman also appeared in the Japan-only Bandai Wonderswan title, Namco Super Wars. In Marvel Land, another Namco arcade game, some rides featured in levels along with the bonus level parade floats contain popular Namco characters, including Bravoman. Yujin released a gashapon figure of Waya-Hime as part of the "Namco Girls" collection. One of Taki's alternate costumes in Soulcalibur II is a cosplay version of Waya-Hime's. Dr. Bomb and the damsel in distress of Bravoman made a cameo appearance in Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei 2.
Bravoman has been resurrected as a comic strip as part of the new ShiftyLook series of webcomic strips featuring illustrations by UDON. The strip focuses on comedic elements involving Bravoman's powers as well as Alpha Man teaching him how to use his powers. More recently, the characters Anti-Bravoman and Waya Hime have also been introduced in the strip. An animated adaptation by Copernicus Studios is currently available on ShiftyLook, featuring the voices of Rob Paulsen, Dee Bradley Baker, Romi Dames, and Jennifer Hale. A new Bravoman game for mobile devices based on his ShiftyLook appearances, titled Bravoman: Binja Bash, was released on August 29, 2013.