European cover art
|Mode(s)||Single player, 10-player multiplayer|
Saturn Bomberman (サターンボンバーマン Satān Bonbāman?) is an action video game by Hudson Soft for the Sega Saturn. The twelfth instalment in the Bomberman series, it was first released in Japan on 19 July 1996, in North America on 22 August 1997 and in Europe erstwhile in 1997. It is best known for its multiplayer functionality for up to ten players.
The game received positive reviews upon release, with some critics citing it the best Sega Saturn game of all time.
As from the instruction manual:
- The Fuse Is Lit
- It was just another seemingly routine day for Bomberman. While flying on patrol, looking for threats to the sanctity of peace that the world so enjoyed, Bomberman stumbled upon something that could potentially throw it all into shambles. Deep in the tangled underbrush of the rainforest, a glint caught Bomberman's keen eye. Rising from the green depths, the Crystal Tower loomed. But the crystals which held the horrible monster Crator inside the tower were missing, and so was Crator. Then a radio message crackled into the cockpit. It was Dr. I...
- "Bomberman, Mr Meanie (Mujoe in Japan) has unleashed Crator and is using his powers to conquer the world! You must get the crystals back before it's too late! The MeanieLand Amusement Park is their secret base. Please hurry!"
- It is up to Bomberman to regain control of the crystals and restore order to a crumbling planet, crushing the evil Mr. Meanie along the way. With that, a new chapter in the fight between good and bad begins...
Like most Bomberman games, Saturn Bomberman features a battle mode as well as a story mode. Along with them is a master mode in which the player races to finish a series of levels after which the player is given a rank based on time taken. This time is then saved to memory and kept on a scoreboard for future reference. The game also features several new powerups.
Saturn Bomberman utilizes Dinosaur helpers, which are initially found as eggs released upon the destruction of a soft block. Dinosaurs come in three levels: babies (the weakest), adolescents, and adults (the strongest). Dinosaurs can only take one hit no matter how large they are. If a player is riding a dinosaur when this happens, the dinosaur takes the hit instead of the player. As powerups are collected, a special meter at the top of the screen slowly builds up. Once this meter is full, the dinosaur will grow one level, from baby to adolescent or adolescent to adult. However, in battle mode this system works differently. Whenever a player collects an egg while riding on a dinosaur, the dinosaur will grow. The player can jump off of the dinosaur at any time.
Saturn Bomberman has a story mode which can be played single player or two-player.
The story mode levels involve blowing up poles with glowing red orbs on the top (which are known as Zarfs) while avoiding (or destroying) enemies, blowing up blocks and collecting powerups. Once all the Zarfs on a level have been destroyed, an exit appears. Upon entering the exit, Bomberman will do a victory pose, then a short cut scene takes place. The cut scene shows a piece of scenery moving out of the way, then Bomberman walks through, and something closes up the way he came from. After the cut scene, the next level begins.
Saturn Bomberman supports up to ten human players on battle mode with 2 Multi-taps, 7 players with just one Multi-tap, or only two players without any multi-taps.
If the number of players in a game exceeds eight, the game is played on a widescreen arena, shrinking the characters and blocks to tiny proportions, making the playing field very large. This also disables many of the powerups including dinosaurs.
Hudson Soft was founded in Sapporo, Japan on 18 May 1973 by brothers Yuji and Hiroshi Kudo. The company was named after a Japanese locomotive which used to pass through the brothers' hometown. The brothers earned a capital of ¥500,000 through selling their telecommunication and photographic devices. When Yuji Kudo visited the United States to market his communication tools, he realised the potential investments in personal computers could bring to the company.
Electronic Gaming Monthly gave Saturn Bomberman the 1997 Game of the Year awards for "Saturn Game of the Year" (beating Street Fighter Collection and Madden NFL 98) and "Multiplayer Game of the Year" (beating GoldenEye 007 and Mario Kart 64). In 2016, Watchmojo.com ranked the game #1 on their "Top 10 Best Bomberman Games".
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- McFarren 2009, p. 68.
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- "GamePro - Issue 109 Volume 09 Number 10 (1997-10)(IDG Publishing)(US)".
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- Saturn Power, issue 1, page 75
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McFarren, Damien (July 2009). "Hudson Soft - Part 1" (PDF). Retro Gamer. Future plc (66): 68–73. Retrieved 9 August 2016.