Tech News on G4
'Bionic Commando' sequel a decent upgrade
Feb 11, 2011
By John Powell - G4 Canada
'Bionic Commando', even the title brings back memories of crowded arcades and all of those hypnotic electronic sights and sounds. Released in arcades in 1987 and originally envisioned as a sequel to the original 'Commando', 'Bionic Commando' was what would have happened if the best characteristics of Inspector Gadget and Rambo were cloned into one cigar-chomping, trigger-happy special agent-quasi mercenary who shoots and asks questions later.
That's our favourite kind of special agent-quasi mercenary, by the way.
Over the years, the 'Bionic Commando' (Joseph Gibson: AKA: "Super Joe"), has been put through his paces in every format imaginable including the Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari, NES, GameBoy, PS2, Xbox and PS3 and Xbox 360. While the production values have steadily improved, the game play has stayed true to its side-scrolling, platforming roots.
It has been three years since the "next gen" adaptation 'Bionic Commando Rearmed' was released on Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network and took no prisoners with fresh-faced bionic agent - Nathan "Rad" Spencer carrying on the mechanized warfare legacy. Sporting a spiffy new mustache and hair-cut, Spencer is back in action in 'Bionic Commando Rearmed 2', available on both Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network once again.
On this mission, Spencer is not alone. Spencer and a team of four other bionic agents have been ordered to take down a notorious Castro clone (General Sabio), disarm his missiles and rescue a missing Colonel. To do so, Spencer's bionic arm has been enhanced with gadgets beyond the customary grappling hook. His arm can now act as a grenade launcher, a taser, and can hack-scan electronic systems (giving him hints, clues or opening doors). Spencer can also earn other special attacks and the awesomely named 'Death From Above', a super duper jumping shockwave attack introduced in 'Rearmed' and the ability to jump have both returned in this sequel.
Ah, the ability to jump. Purists, developers Fatshark have not forgotten about you. For those who believe it isn't a 'Bionic Commando' if the commando can jump, Fatshark has included a special achievement, trophy which can be earned by beating the game without ever jumping. As one who really must be in the mood to have the time or patience for intricate jumping, swinging challenges, I am glad to see the series shift away to some extent from that irksome focus. Gone too are the top-down levels, which are really missed. They did add some welcome variety to the side-scrolling mayhem.
When he is not shooting enemy soldiers, battle robots and some end level bosses full of holes, Spencer can detour into the Challenge Rooms which utilize his special abilities for various rewards, if completed correctly. You can also play the game locally with a pal and share the mechanized adventure, rewards.
'Bionic Commando Rearmed 2' is exactly what we have come to expect from a sequel, not too many changes to turn things completely upside down but enough to keep us interested and intrigued. 'Bionic Commando Rearmed 2' could have been bigger and better than its predecessor. At least developer Fatshark (who took over the project from the defunct GRIN) got everything right and made some things even better. 'Bionic Commando Rearmed 2' is an inexpensive diversion that doesn't quite compare to its predecessor.
'Bionic Commando Rearmed 2'
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G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.