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|Designer(s)||Takao Yoshiba (Arcade)|
|Composer(s)||Norio Nakagata (Arcade)|
|Genre(s)||Beat 'em up/horizontal scrolling shooter|
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players, alternating turns|
|Cabinet||Upright, cabaret, and cocktail|
|Arcade system||Namco System 1|
|CPU||2x Motorola M6809 @ 2.048 MHz,
1x Motorola M6809 @ 1.536 MHz,
1x Hitachi HD63701 @ 1.536 MHz
|Sound||1x Yamaha YM2151 @ 3.57958 MHz,
1x Namco CUS30 @ 96 kHz,
|Display||Horizontal orientation, Raster, 288 x 224 resolution, 24-bit RGB color|
Bravoman (超絶倫人ベラボーマン Chō Zetsurin Jin: Berabōman?, "Super Unequaled Human: Bravoman"), which has also been known as Bioboxer and Brabo-Man, is a 1988 beat 'em up/horizontal scrolling shooter 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 Japan simply as Bravoman. In 2007, this same version was released on the Wii Virtual Console. The game is 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 that of the Parodius video game series by Konami (which is an anime-style parody of their own Gradius series).
It had a webcomic and a twelve-episode webtoon, starring Rob Paulsen (Raphael from the 1987 TV series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as Bravoman and Alpha Man, Dee Bradley Baker (Klaus from American Dad!) as Dr. Bomb and Anti-Bravoman, Romi Dames as Waya Hime and Jennifer Hale as Bravo-Woman (who did not exist in the original game, and was created specifically for the webcomic).
The plot starts up when Hitoshi Nakamura (中村仁 Nakamura Hitoshi?, also known as Arnold), a typical car insurance company salaryman (who is also a caricature of Namco's then-62-year-old founder, Masaya Nakamura) encounters an alien named Alpha Man (α遊星人 Arufā Yūseijin?) 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 make an "End the World" weapon. Then Alpha Man gives Hitoshi an odd metal rod, a tuning fork, and a 100-yen coin (the standard unit of Japanese currency required to operate arcade video games), 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 across thirty-two stages (in the arcade; it is only twenty-two in the PC Engine version).
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 two pressure-sensitive buttons (it was the only game from Namco to utilize them) which allowed the player to determine how strong an attack and how high a jump should be. Most enemy projectiles can be blocked by Bravoman's attacks. Bravoman can occasionally collect some bonuses that give him greater range, temporary invincibility, increased speed, powerful punches, the ability to warp to the end of the stage or the ability to fire energy bolts for a short while. Performing an attack at the top of one's jump will cause Bravoman to stop for a while in midair as he kicks out. At that point, pressing the jump button again will result in a smaller, midair jump. This technique gives Bravoman a little extra jumping height, which is essential in some stages of the game, but it can only be done once per jump. Bravoman has sufficient jumping power for the most powerful setting, and this technique is neither possible nor necessary. For underwater stages, Bravoman transforms into a fish-like creature, and the game then works like most horizontal-scrolling shooters. The attack button shoots torpedoes while the jump button drops depth charges. At the end of the game, or after the player gives up, there will be a short cutscene showing Bravoman returning home while reverting to his original form and telling his wife and two children (a son and a daughter) that he is home. In the first case they will walk outside and face the player.
Throughout the game, Bravoman's sort-of-partner, Lottery Man (福引男 Fukubiki Otoko?), will aid him with various bonuses during gameplay. Lottery Man is a yellow robot attached to a unicycle, and appears every time Bravoman collects ten "Fuku", offering him a random item, usually points, energy or powerups. Also, during most stages, Bravoman can collect some special "lottery tickets" bonuses. At the end of most non-underwater stages, Bravoman will meet up with Lottery Man, who will give him energy bonuses which appear to be a popular Japanese food called onigiri, depending on how many "Fuku" he has collected during the stage. In one stage of the PC Engine version, Bravoman saves Lottery Man from a tragedy. It is also possible to hit Lottery Man (just for fun), and he will answer back with increasingly annoyed comments. However, if he is hit more than nine times, he will stop giving any more powerups to Bravoman and appear only to mock him. Eventually, he will forgive Bravoman and start helping him again, but it takes quite a few stages for this to happen.
The arcade version 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 Japan for the TurboGrafx-16 as Bravoman. In 2007, this same version was released for the Wii Virtual Console. The arcade version was released for the Japanese Wii Virtual Console in October 2009 but there are no plans for this version to receive a worldwide release. Some changes were also added to the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 version, compared to its arcade counterpart. Holding the attack button will result in a ranged (but slow) attack, while pressing it lightly results in a quicker (but less ranged) attack. When walking normally Bravoman can either attack frontally or perform a diagonal forward and upwards kick, by pushing the joystick to north-west or north-east while attacking. When jumping in this version, some places require a slightly more advanced technique, the so-called "Bravo Jump". The PC Engine version also doesn't reveal the fact about Nakamura's wife and children scene until the end of the game, while the arcade version shows it in the game's intro and after the end credits have finished. If the player gets a "game over", however, Nakamura's wife and children will not show themselves.
Two years later, a Japan-only arcade spin-off titled Pistol-Shogun - Pistol Daimyo no Bōken was released, which starred one of Bravoman's bosses, Pistol Daimyo (ピストル大名 Pisutoru Daimyō?). Bravoman also 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 appear 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 many other Namco characters, Bravoman also appeared in the Japan-only Bandai Wonderswan title, Namco Super Wars. In Marvel Land, another Namco arcade game from 1989, some of the rides in the stages, along with the bonus stages' parade floats feature several Namco characters, including Bravoman. Bravoman also appeared as the Namco All Stars' defensive half for the Namco System 12-era World Stadium games. In 2005, Yujin also released a gashapon figure of Waya Hime as part of their "Namco Girls" collection in 2005. One of Taki's alternate costumes in Soulcalibur II is a cosplay version of Waya Hime's. Lastly, Dr. Bomb and Bravoman's "damsel-in-distress" make a cameo appearance in Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei 2, a game which was developed by Atlus and later published by Namco. In Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. For Wii U, in which Pac-Man is playable, the music of the first stage of the arcade version of Bravoman was included as one of the music tracks for a stage based on Pac-Land.
Webcomic and webtoon
Bravoman had been resurrected as a comic strip as part of the ShiftyLook series of webcomic strips featuring illustrations by UDON. The strip focused on comedic elements involving Bravoman's powers as well as Alpha Man teaching him how to use his powers and Dr. Bomb's comical use of Engrish. The characters Anti-Bravoman and Waya Hime have also been introduced in the strip, the latter of which appears to have a crush on Bravoman for some reason (similar to a yandere). It also added in two new characters that never appeared in the original Bravoman game which were Bravowoman and Brave Man, the latter was based on the North American box art for the Turbografx-16 version of the Bravoman game. An animated adaptation by Copernicus Studios is available on ShiftyLook, featuring the voices of Rob Paulsen, Dee Bradley Baker, Romi Dames, and Jennifer Hale. A Bravoman game for mobile devices based on his ShiftyLook appearances, titled Bravoman: Binja Bash!, was released on August 29, 2013.The game is no longer available. The series is currently available on Viewster.
- "''Bravoman'' webcomic". Shiftylook.com. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- "A Brand-New Cartoon Shows Video Game Heroes Hate Annoying Help Messages, Too". Kotaku.com. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- "BRAVOMAN: Binja Bash! Official Trailer". YouTube. 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2014-02-08.