Bravoman

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Bravoman
Bravoman arcadeflyer.png
Arcade flyer
Developer(s)Namco
Publisher(s)Namco
Designer(s)Takao Yoshiba (Arcade)
Composer(s)Norio Nakagata (Arcade)
Platform(s)Arcade, PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16
ReleaseArcade
  • JP: May 20, 1988
PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16
  • JP: July 13, 1990
  • NA: 1990
Genre(s)Beat 'em up, scrolling shooter
Mode(s)Up to 2 players, alternating turns
CabinetUpright, cabaret, and cocktail
Arcade systemNamco System 1
CPU2x Motorola M6809 @ 2.048 MHz,
1x Motorola M6809 @ 1.536 MHz,
1x Hitachi HD63701 @ 1.536 MHz
Sound1x Yamaha YM2151 @ 3.57958 MHz,
1x Namco CUS30 @ 96 kHz,
1x DAC
DisplayHorizontal 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 and released by Namco for the arcades, only in Japan.

It was later ported by Now Production to the PC Engine in Japan and the TurboGrafx-16 in North America in 1990. This version was also released by NEC outside Japan simply as Bravoman. In 2007, this same version was released on the Wii Virtual Console.[1]

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).

As part of Bandai Namco's ShiftyLook initiative, Bravoman was adapted into a 300-page webcomic in 2012, and a twelve-episode animated web series and mobile game in 2013. The comic, web series and game have all since been removed and are no longer publicly available.

Plot[edit]

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).

Gameplay[edit]

Bravoman (left) fighting against Black Bravo (Anti-Bravoman in the ShiftyLook webcomic and webtoon) (right) in the arcade 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.

Ports and related releases[edit]

Front cover of the North American TurboGrafx-16 version

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's 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.

ShiftyLook media[edit]

As part of Bandai Namco's ShiftyLook initiative to revive older properties, a new Bravoman webcomic was created in collaboration with Udon Entertainment, titled Bravoman: Super Unequaled Hero of Excellence. Written by Matt Moylan and illustrated by Dax Gordine, the strip premiered on March 9, 2012, and focused on comedic elements such as Bravoman's poor control of his powers, Alpha Man's lackluster attempts to teach Bravoman, Dr. Bomb's misuse of Engrish, and various examples of metahumor. The strip also featured Black Bravo (renamed Anti-Bravoman), who sought to be taken seriously as Bravoman's nemesis, and Waya Hime, who had a yandere-like crush on Bravoman despite her attempts to kill him.[2] Other Bravoman characters such as Lottery Man and Pistol Daimyo also made sporadic appearances, as well as crossover characters from other simultaneously-running ShiftyLook series such as Wonder Momo. The comic also introduced two new characters that never appeared in the original Bravoman game: Bravowoman, a no-nonsense female superhero, and Braveman, a self-obsessed television actor based on the North American box art for the Turbografx-16 version of Bravoman. The series concluded with its 300th strip on March 16th, 2014, shortly after the announcement of ShiftyLook's closure. The comic is no longer available for viewing, though its first 130 strips received a published book release by Udon.

An animated adaptation of the comic by Copernicus Studios premiered via ShiftyLook's YouTube channel on May 20th, 2013, and ran for twelve episodes, concluding on February 12th, 2014. The series was written by Moylan and Jim Zub, and featured the voices of Rob Paulsen as Bravoman and Alpha Man, Dee Bradley Baker as Dr. Bomb and Anti-Bravoman, Romi Dames as Waya Hime, and Jennifer Hale as Bravowoman.[3] The series featured brief crossover appearances by Wonder Momo (voiced by Dames) and Mappy (voiced by Scott Kurtz), with Bravoman in turn making a guest appearance on the concurrent web series Mappy: The Beat. The web series was later removed from YouTube along with ShiftyLook's channel, but is currently available on Viewster.[4]

A Bravoman game for mobile devices based on his ShiftyLook appearances, titled Bravoman: Binja Bash!, was released on August 29, 2013.[5] The game has since been delisted and is no longer available.

List of Bravoman episodes[edit]

No.TitleWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
1"The Beginning and End of Bravoman"Jim ZubMay 19, 2013 (2013-05-19)101
While Bravoman and Alpha Man are dangling over Dr. Bomb's deadly pit, they reminisce on Bravoman's origin story.
2"Perky Princess of Pointy Peril"Matt MoylanMay 26, 2013 (2013-05-26)102
Bravoman must defend himself against the assassin Waya Hime, who seeks both his affection and his death.
3"Couch of Doom"Matt MoylanJune 3, 2013 (2013-06-03)103
Bravoman's attempts to play his new video game are repeatedly interrupted by distress calls from Alpha Man.
4"Watching from the Shadows"Jim ZubJune 10, 2013 (2013-06-10)104
Anti-Bravoman tries to stalk Bravoman from a distance while working up the courage to attack him.
5"Boss Bash"Jim ZubJune 17, 2013 (2013-06-17)105
Bravoman must battle his strongest foe yet, Dr. Bomb's giant Attack Bomber V9 robot.
6"Laser Mummies from Beyond the Moon"Matt MoylanJune 24, 2013 (2013-06-24)106
Bravoman and his friends engage in a series of rapid-fire TV parodies.
7"The Secret Origin of Bravo Woman"Matt MoylanDecember 18, 2013 (2013-12-18)107
Bravoman and Alpha Man are saved by Bravo Woman, who expresses repeated displeasure at the various origin stories offered for her.
8"Generic Winter Holiday Special"Matt MoylanDecember 24, 2013 (2013-12-24)111
Bravoman invites all his friends over for a holiday gaming party.
9"The Secret Society of Antagonists"Matt MoylanJanuary 15, 2014 (2014-01-15)108
Dr. Bomb gathers all of Bravoman's enemies together to come up with a plan to defeat him.
10"Heavy Meta Mayhem"Matt MoylanJanuary 22, 2014 (2014-01-22)109
While Waya Hime is busy planning her wedding to Bravoman, she sends heavy metal cyborg ninja Benjamin to kill him instead.
11"Bravo x Momo Part 2 of 3"Matt MoylanJanuary 29, 2014 (2014-01-29)110
Bravoman and Wonder Momo battle one another, only to realize they have been deceived by their respective enemies.
12"The Grand Historic Space Hockey Adventure"Matt MoylanFebruary 12, 2014 (2014-02-12)112
With only one episode remaining in the series, Bravoman and Alpha Man try to have as many adventures as possible in the time they have left.

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/FodP7Fpl5dEi6QPhOeH8OZaqvgU_0kI2
  2. ^ "''Bravoman'' webcomic". Shiftylook.com. Archived from the original on 2014-02-08. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
  3. ^ "A Brand-New Cartoon Shows Video Game Heroes Hate Annoying Help Messages, Too". Kotaku.com. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
  4. ^ http://www.viewster.com/serie/1311-19471-000/bravoman/
  5. ^ "BRAVOMAN: Binja Bash! Official Trailer". YouTube. 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2014-02-08.

External links[edit]