Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Bionic Commando", NES, 1988.

OK, I was premature by one measly view. Hey, first reader of this post -- you're my 3000th viewer! Congratulations! Your prize is some half-baked analysis of a video game ad scanned from a comic book. OK, we're all up to speed? I've got a couple of sets I'll be posting up next -- different ads for the same or similar products. First up, Capcom's Bionic Commando!
Get set for rapid-fire action as you're transformed into the Bionic Commando. This best-seller from Capcom is a dynamic adaptation of the original arcade classic.
Expect an onslaught of challenges and extraordinary graphics when you battle enemy forces in their futuristic lands. Your powerful extending bionic arm and incredible arsenal of weapons give you all you'll need to become an unstoppable one-man army.
To the most daring soldiers, this might seem an impossible test, but they've never experienced the power of Bionic Commando!

There are two Bionic Commando games released about the same time and with the same name: one version is for the NES and the other, which is similar but different in many important regards, is for, well, all the home computers of the age -- patterned after the initial arcade version that got the whole ball rolling. The NES version is the only one that departs from the arcade version's pattern, but nonetheless it's a lineage that is stressed here.

The one everyone knows is the NES one, partially due to ads like this. Capcom must have gotten a good deal from some advertising agency, since there are a few other games from this period (Willow comes to mind) with eerily similar layout -- down to the eXtReMe scribbled handwriting up top. You'll see when I get to it. Konami had a few ads with consistent similarities also, they're coming.

Ultimately, "an onslaught of challenges and extraordinary graphics" don't necessarily amount to a game that you want to play. In this case, it did. But, y'know, if your game is about a super-soldier killing Hitler, wouldn't that be a better selling point? (I can't explain why or how Japan got over the psychic trauma of WWII in their entertainment products sooner than the USA did. Of course, English-speakers aren't fighting Nazis in this game, but Badds. Everybody in the know could read between the lines, however.)