Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 Review

Now with more Mustache!

I loved the original Bionic Commando for the NES. It was the first game that I played, beat, and played again. When I heard that the game I loved as a teen was getting a new coat of paint, I had to give it a shot. It appealed both to the old school in me (Giggling at the references) and the new school in me (Whoa, that looks awesome!). I found Bionic Commando Rearmed to be a great retelling of the game with new graphics and slight tweaking to the formula that I dug the most.

When I saw there was a sequel coming, I was pumped and grabbed it as soon as I could. The download completed, I fired it up and planned for some of the same awesome gameplay that I remembered. I forgot that with few exceptions, video games, like movies, don’t often turn out the same magic in sequels.

Yes, the gameplay is still classic 2D side scrolling with a never ending supply of dumb guards that think that hiding behind a red drum will save them. Yes, Rad Spencer has the same bionic arm that will grab walls and allow you to swing across gaps as well as the “I wanna be like Donkey Kong” barrel claw grab and launch action that was introduced in BCR1. Yes, there is a jump button. A jump button, you ask? I do not know why they even bothered to put in that mechanic when the stages can be completed without jumping (garnering the player an achievement) and the player can actually remove that functionality from within options.

Another new addition to this edition is Bio Vision. Confused on how to get from point A to point B? And you can’t swing there? Use your bio-vision, find the path and swing to victory. Can’t figure out how to kill the boss? Bio-Vision can help with that too! It won’t tell you exactly what to do, rather make a suggestion. It is also fun to see what the creators have written about scanned items.

Just like BCR2’s predecessor, there are powerups that are gifted when completing a level. New in this edition are powerups hidden in the stage, sometimes only accessible when returning to the level after later acquiring specific items/weapons. Sounds a little like Metroidvania, huh? (Or is it Castletroid?). The player can see how many upgrades are yet to be found in each stage and when completing them can learn what they missed. That increases the replayability of this game and kept me returning to earlier stages.

Pros

  • Same tongue-in-cheek/breaking the fourth wall meta references as BCR1
  • The challenge rooms are back! When you’re frustrated with the actual game, drop out, do a few challenges and try that stage again. (Note: Sometimes the Challenge Rooms can get just as frustrating)
  • Like most XBLA games, BCR2 employs leaderboards, so you can flex wang not only with other players around the world but also with your friends that are playing.
  • The graphics and sound are crisp and clean with no caffeine. The music, while no Super Adventure Island (Thanks Kyle Murdock!), is still fun. The explosions are as fun to watch as they are to make.
  • Being able to pick and choose the upgrades that you want active at any given time is a fun way to replenish your health, your weapons or do a little bit of extra damage.

Cons

  • New swinging mechanic takes some getting used to. Might be easier for a new player not used to how the old game worked.
  • Bosses have specific patterns and while fun to learn, they can be a controller-flipping frustration at times.
  • PROOFREAD YOUR SCRIPT!!!

Bottom Line

This is a game for players who like the gameplay of a Bionic Commando title and are looking for a challenge. I enjoyed it because I dig on the 2D side-scrollers, most because of nostalgia.

Note:  I have not taken the time to play either online or local multiplayer.