Let me start off by saying that, to my memory, the first time that I played Bionic Commando was in the form of Bionic Commando Rearmed, Capcom’s remake of its classic side-scrolling shooter. After spending a few days with it, I came to the conclusion that it is one of the toughest games I have ever played-but I had a lot of fun playing it. So, I was pretty excited when I found out that Capcom was making a new imagining of its classic game that will hit consoles later this month.
When the game releases later this month, it will be a totally different game from the original in, not only the look, but also due to Capcom throwing in a multiplayer mode. We got a little taste of this mode with the demo that was recently put up on Xbox Live. Needless to say, the multiplayer felt like it was indeed thrown in.
When the match begins the first thing you see is your fluorescent colored character that looks an awful lot like the characters from the abysmal game, Bomberman: Act Zero. This can be taken as a good thing, considering that the only level you get to experience is a night time level with no radar. So the colorfulness of the characters is helpful in finding out where your enemies are. The look of the level is bland, at best. There aren’t a lot of colors used and it seems like the only vibrant things in the environment are your character and the gun pick-ups (which are neon in color as well). But, so far, no frame rate issues to contend with.
The gameplay is that of your average shooter. You run and shoot your enemies in typical deathmatch fashion. The only difference is the ability to use your grappling hook to swing from building to building, or to save yourself from falling to your death. Of course you can only use the hook when your reticule turns green, letting you know that you are close enough to the item you want to swing to/from successfully. My problem with the gameplay is that everything you do seems to lag. When playing, the actual game didn’t lag at all, just my actions. For example, I went to use my grappling hook to zip me up to the top of a building. When the cursor turned green, I hit the left trigger. Nothing happened. A second later, I was flying through the air. I had a similar problem with shooting some of the weapons. These are minor problems, but ones that can really hurt an already mediocre multiplayer experience.
The controls are basic. The A-button jumps, the B and Y-buttons let you punch weak and heavy respectively. The left trigger shoots out your grappling hook; while the left bumper lets you evade enemy fire. Of course, the right trigger shoots whatever gun you have equipped. If you want to duck, click down on the left stick. Want to zoom in? Just click down on the right stick. You can switch between weapons by tapping the right bumper, and the variation ranges between shooter-standard firearms to more explosive items such as the grenade launcher.
When Bionic Commando hits store shelves on May 20th, I have no doubt in my mind that Capcom will deliver a solid single player experience, but after playing through the multiplayer demo, I am really concerned about just how well this mode will turn out. It just seems like Capcom has thrown in a multiplayer mode just for the sake of having one. This is not a good idea. Other games have done this, and failed miserably, but the single player modes in these games were stellar, and from the look of things, Bionic Commando is headed in that same direction. Will Capcom deliver a good multiplayer experience? We will find out in a few short weeks.