Atomic Bomberman

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Atomic Bomberman
North American cover art
Developer(s)Interplay Productions
Publisher(s)Interplay Productions
Designer(s)Jeremy Airey
Kurt W. Dekker
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
Genre(s)Arcade, maze
Mode(s)Single player, multiplayer

Atomic Bomberman is a game by Interplay Productions for the PC that was released in 1997. It was the first original Bomberman game to be developed for Windows, and the second game of the series made for the PC, following Dynablaster.

The game is relatively unusual in the Bomberman series, as it was officially licensed from Hudson Soft and developed by Interplay Productions, a studio based in the United States. Most titles in the series were developed in Japan. It has a different look and feel compared to other Bomberman titles as a result (despite basic gameplay being unchanged), using pre-rendered 3D characters and backgrounds as opposed to hand-drawn animated sprites, and extensive use of voice samples during gameplay. The voice clips are by voice actors Charlie Adler and Billy West.

The game used the code of Super Bomberman 3, and as such was planned to contain vehicles and other rideable items, similar to the kangaroo-like creatures of Super Bomberman 3, such as a futuristic hovercraft, but this was never implemented beyond an item tile.


Gameplay screenshot.

Atomic Bomberman can be played in either "classic" or "enhanced" mode.[2] 10 players maximum can be selected, however at least one must be controlled by the player, and no more than 1 player can be controlled by the same keyboard layout on the same computer. This keyboard map rule does not apply to local network games. An irregular jump from previous titles, it has no story or plotline. The only existing story to the game is as follows, from the games manual.

"For those of you not familiar with the Bomberman experience, I will spare you the details. The dynamics of the game are as easy as 1-2-3."

"1. Drop a bomb."

"2. Run like hell."

"3. Watch your back (and your front, your left, etc. Just watch out.)"

Level editor[edit]

The game includes a hidden level editor which allows the player to edit existing maps as well as create new maps. Maps used by the game are in the form of "scheme files" (.sch filename extension). The map editor is a simple interface, showing the map, dotted with different colors (0 to 9) to represent player spawns. A function called DENSITY chooses how "dense" the collection of breakable items is. The Powerup Manager chooses the list of powerups to be included, how often, whether they can be destroyed and what happens when two conflicting powers are picked (such as Bomb Spooge vs. Power Glove). The editor also sports a basic graphic interface: the player can switch between the "Green Acres" theme and a monochrome, patterned representation.


Atomic Bomberman was built from the code for Super Bomberman 3, which publisher/developer Interplay Productions licensed from Bomberman franchise owner Hudson Soft.[3] Project leader Jeremy Airey commented, "We're trying to make [Bomberman] a little more modern, but we don't need to change the way it plays at all."[3]

The development team had ambitions of the game supporting twice as many players as any other version of the game, until the release of Saturn Bomberman (which supports up to ten players) made this goal unrealistic.[3]

A PlayStation version was planned but never released.[4]

Being based upon Super Bomberman 3, the development team had plans to include futuristic vehicles in place of the animal-like creatures that filled Super Bomberman 3. The only remaining proof of this is a magazine entry of NEXT Generation (volume three, issue 27) documenting development, in which multiple early animations are included, (including Bomberman using what seems to be a flip phone, playing with what appears to be a Yo-yo, and standing.) including one rendered image of a green Bomberman riding a futuristic hovercraft. These were never used in game, and apart from the inclusion in NEXT Generation, never seen again, aside from the hovercraft, which had an item tile made for it.[5][6]

In the magazine PC Gamer, (issue 44) multiple interesting images are seen. these include an early version of one of the maps, a render of a purple Super Bomberman era design of Bomberman, Bomberman driving a tank, and running holding a bomb. Planned animations for when a player is trapped included the Bomberman shrugging his shoulders, then shooting himself, or staring at the bomb, screaming, and attempting to climb over the wall or bomb blocking the way out, which were likely removed to keep the ESRB rating at the desired level. The game was intended to be "100% customizable", a feature never officially supported but possible, as all the files can be swapped for others, (by renaming the target and appending ".old", then renaming the inserted file to be the same name, minus ".old") but no real methods for changing and making new files was officially released.[7]

The game is notorious for containing, deep within the game's files, a collection of vulgar, profane voice lines recorded by the game's voice talent, Charlie Adler and Billy West.[8] These lines cannot be accessed during normal gameplay and can only be listened to manually going through the files.[9]The CD ROM disc also contained a theme for Microsoft Plus! which was a theme application software for Microsoft Windows. This contained custom startup and shutdown sounds, a custom cursor of a blue Bomberman pointing, and custom backgrounds.[10]

Similarly, in the theme of added files and extras, the full copy contained underneath the manual and other inserts postcards themed around the game. These include a "bomberMAN OF THE YEAR" magazine by a fictional "TIMER" magazine company, another which states "It's da bomb!" And "It's back, and it'll blow you away!" underneath the logo of the game, and another from a fictional "Fuseweek" depicting a drawing or render of a blue Bomberman about to throw a bomb not seen or used anywhere else.[11]

The game, locally played, will still play normally on Windows 10, however the Microsoft Plus! theme will not function, but this can be somewhat bypassed by manually setting some of the included theme files inside of settings menus. These working files include the backgrounds and sound effects, of which are easy to switch from the default windows theme, however the cursor theme requires more effort to get working.


Atomic Bomberman garnered mixed or average reviews, holding a 68.40% rating at the review aggregator site GameRankings.[12] CNET Gamecenter's Hugh Falk found the gameplay faithful to the Super Bomberman series, commending Interplay Productions for not experimenting too much with it, while being fond of the game's graphics and sound. Falk noted its level designer and multiplayer for up to ten players, but saw the inability to chat during online play as an oversight.[13] Pete Hines of the Adrenaline Vault gave positive remarks to the crisp and colorful visuals, the gameplay for being easy to play but hard to master, sound effects, musical score, and the opponent's AI, but felt mixed about the game's overall interface.[22] GameSpot's Trent Ward commented that while the humorous death animations and customizable characters and rules are admirable additions to the series, the online multiplayer's jerky play and odd glitches greatly compromise the most important aspect of the game.[18]

Edge also commended Interplay for translating the gameplay to PC, but expressed that it lost the "charm" of the 16-bit console iteration with its "over-detailed" sprites.[16] PC Zone's Charlie Brooker agreed, stating that the character sprites' "American" makeover were less cute that the Japanese originals. Brooker regarded it to be an addictive multiplayer game.[20] PCMag's Shane Mooney wrote that "If you're looking for a game that you and your friends can play to kill a few minutes (or hours, or days), Atomic Bomberman packs plenty of punch."[21] GamePro's Dan Elektro said Atomic Bomberman "really preserves the classic series' essential elements and adds only worthwhile enhancements." Elektro particularly noted the team modes in online multiplayer, the level creator, and the well rendered characters, though he remarked that the backgrounds are sometimes overly detailed to the point of making the screen cluttered.[26]

PC Gamer US' Lisa Renninger praised the game's fast-paced action and multiplayer, but criticized the memory amount it took on a hard drive, lack of an advancement system, and "ugly" playfields as drawbacks.[19] PC Joker's Markus Ziegler commented about the game's controls in a positive light but expressed mixed thoughts regarding its audiovisual presentation.[23] PC Player's Monika Stoschek pointed out the high difficulty when playing against AI-controlled opponents, stating that it could prove frustrating for beginners.[24]

Galush of Polish magazine Secret Service was impressed with the graphical quality but was less pleased with its artstyle, internet connectivity, performance on certain machines and lack of single-player campaign.[25] Computer Gaming World's Kelly Rickards saw the number of maps in multiplayer and power-ups as positives. Nevertheless, Rickards wrote that "This game bastardizes the series; much of the appeal and well-honed gameplay of the Japanese console games didn't make the boat ride over the Pacific."[14] GameRevolution's Nebojsa Radakovic highlighted the game's multiplayer and sound effects, but panned its basic visuals, simple gameplay with no significant improvement, and level editing tools.[17]


  1. ^ "Online Gaming Review". 1998-02-07. Archived from the original on 1998-02-07. Retrieved 2023-04-16.
  2. ^ "Atomic Bomberman". GamePro. No. 105. IDG. June 1997. p. 58.
  3. ^ a b c "NG Alphas: Bomberman". Next Generation. No. 27. Imagine Media. March 1997. pp. 48–51.
  4. ^ "Previews (Protos) - Bomberman". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 89. Ziff Davis. December 1996. p. 42.
  5. ^ "File:AtomicUnusedIcons.png - The Cutting Room Floor". Retrieved 2023-06-04.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Atomic Bomberman: Unused Vulgar Voice clips". YouTube.
  9. ^ "Atomic Bomberman/Unused Voice Clips/Filthy - the Cutting Room Floor".
  10. ^ "Atomic Bomberman". Retrieved 2023-06-04.
  11. ^ Atomic Bomberman (PC) - Post Cards, retrieved 2023-06-04
  12. ^ a b "Atomic Bomberman for PC". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. 2019. Archived from the original on 2018-09-20. Retrieved 2022-12-23.
  13. ^ a b Falk, Hugh (July 24, 1997). "PC Reviews: Atomic Bomberman". CNET Gamecenter. CNET. Archived from the original on 1999-04-29. Retrieved 2022-12-23.
  14. ^ a b Rickards, Kelly (November 1997). "Atomic Bomberman Review: Bombs Away - Not a Complete Bomb, but Not a Complete Bomberman, Either". Computer Gaming World. No. 160. Ziff Davis. p. 293.
  15. ^ Huhtala, Alex (August 1997). "CVG Mini Review - Skyhammer". Computer and Video Games. No. 189. EMAP. p. 74.
  16. ^ a b "Testscreen: Atomic Bomberman". Edge. No. 49. Future Publishing. September 1997. p. 89.
  17. ^ a b Radakovic, Nebojsa (June 5, 2004). "Atomic Bomberman Review — Definitely Not The Bomb". GameRevolution. CraveOnline. Archived from the original on 2021-01-17. Retrieved 2022-12-23.
  18. ^ a b Ward, Trent (August 15, 1997). "Atomic Bomberman Review — Atomic Bomberman is one of this year's biggest missed opportunities". GameSpot. CNET Networks. Archived from the original on 2003-08-02. Retrieved 2022-12-23.
  19. ^ a b Renninger, Lisa (October 1997). "Reviews - Atomic Bomberman: This quirky and addictive game with a dedicated console following finally comes to the PC — but at a price". PC Gamer US. Vol. 4, no. 10. Imagine Media. p. 210. Archived from the original on 2016-03-22. Retrieved 2022-12-23.
  20. ^ a b Brooker, Charlie (August 1997). "Review: Atomic Bomberman". PC Zone. No. 53. Dennis Publishing. pp. 88–89.
  21. ^ a b Mooney, Shane (October 21, 1997). "After Hours - Playing with a Short Fuse: The frenetic game of pyrotechnics successfully makes the jump from console to PC — Atomic Bomberman". PCMag. Vol. 16, no. 18. Ziff Davis. p. 366.
  22. ^ a b Hines, Pete (August 13, 1997). "Atomic Bomberman Review". Adrenaline Vault., Inc. pp. 1–3. Archived from the original on 2006-02-13. Retrieved 2022-12-23.
  23. ^ a b Ziegler, Markus (October 1997). "Action: Atomic Bomberman". PC Joker (in German). No. 56. Joker-Verlag. p. 88. Archived from the original on 2022-08-11.
  24. ^ a b Stoschek, Monika (October 1997). "Spiele-Test: Gesilwkliihkeitsspiel für Fortgeschrittene und Profis — Atomic Bomberman". PC Player (in German). No. 58. DMV-Verlag. p. 100.
  25. ^ a b Galush (October 1997). "Opisy/Recenzje: Atomic Bomberman". Secret Service (in Polish). No. 50. ProScript. p. 28.
  26. ^ Elektro, Dan (October 1997). "PC GamePro Review: Atomic Bomberman". GamePro. No. 109. IDG. p. 110.

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