Wednesday, February 17, 2016

VGR Bonk 3

VGR: PC GENJIN 3 also known as Bonk 3: Bonk's Big Adventure or Bonk's Big Adventure or also Bonk 3, alternatively known as PC Kid 3
From Red Company/Hudson Soft/NEC Home Electronics
Played on PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16) & PC Engine Duo (TurboDuo)
Also available on Virtual Console & PlayStation Network

Type Sidescroller platformer
Year 1993

Does anyone seriously remember Bonk? The original mascot created by Hudson Soft in cooperation with NEC?

Move away, Bomberman!

Originally developed as a mascot for Hudson & NEC's attempt at a video game system, the 8-bit/16-bit hybrid system the PC Engine which is known in the west under the name TurboGrafx-16. It was a pretty impressive 8-bit system, which would get closer to true 16-bit consoles once it latest saw the support for the CD format.

Bonk, or PC Genjin as he's known in Japan, first starred in a little platformer back in 1990, before Sega's Sonic's debut in fact!

The following year in 1991 Bonk returned in the much more improved Bonk 2. Depending how you see those, they're either really advanced colorful 8-bit games or pretty simplistic basic 16-bit games.

Me? Personally I find them and fun and some of the best games released on that obscure gaming system.

Around the released of the PC Engine Duo (the TurboDuo) in 1993, Bonk received one final installment. PC GENJIN 3, aka Bonk 3: Bonk's Big Adventure! Which was both available as a HuCard release and a "Super CD-Rom".

Once more developed by Red Company and published by Hudson Soft.

The story sees our hero Bonk - a "Pithecanthropus Computerurus" - return to face the evil King Drool trying to take over the Dinosaur Kingdom with his army of half-hatched minions!

There's not more story than that. This new game finally sees Bonk move past these prehistoric lands.. and we surprisingly find more modern world settings right around the corner for some reason!

From a pyramid to a giant's home, boats and sewers. This third episode tries to offer a more balanced adventure to mimic the other similar platformers at the time.

Gameplay feels mostly similar to the previous two episodes.

It's yet another simple sidescroller. With a ton of worlds to visits, enemies to stomp on and bosses to face!

There's a few notable additions! Bonk has a access to a few power ups he eats some sugary sweets. He can shrink or grow. And get madder or way to cute for his own good. 

Think of it as Mario's own growing mushroom or fire flower power-up.

Also new to the game is the welcome addition of a 2-player mode. The game allows for simultaneous co-op, it really adds a lot of fun to the game!

Like it's predecessor, the level designs are pretty fun and cartoony. All colorful, distinct and fairly unique from one another.

Sadly there's also a lot of recycling from Bonk 2. Where Bonk 2 was a great overhaul from the first game, this third episode doesn't really add anything new visually. 

It's a fairly basic sequel, no changing any thing really but simply building upon the last game.

Well, it is a lovely cartoon game. With a great design and graphics. It also sounds a lot better than the past two games, just edging on on the corner of the 8/16-bit generations.

Whenever Bonk grows huge on screen it's pretty impressive. It doesn't really add much to the gameplay compared to, say, shrinking size which allows you to access different areas, but it sure looks great!

The soundtrack is perhaps the best of the series, not counting the spinoff Zonk games. Great catchy tunes composed by Hudson veterans Taro Hara and Kunio Komatsu who were able to finally play with more creativity. Although I feel like the game only does their work great justice on the CD release of the game, to truly enjoy these new songs.

Overall, Bonk 3 didn't add anything new to the formula of the past two games, aside from a few new aesthetic ideas. The most notable new elements being the fun two player mode. 

The problem is the series was getting a bit repetitive by this point, this was starting to lag miles behind the other games developed at the time. The few new ideas were nice, but just not enough. It's not a bad game per say, but probably the "least good" entry in the trilogy. But I'd say still Recommend for a Try, it's still pretty fun.

If you can, go for the CD release, that one is a lot better in my eyes, even though it's a lot harder to find nowadays.

Like the other two, the game would receive a port on the PSNetwork and Virtual Console around 2010. But sadly they've always been based on the HuCard release, no lovely CD audio-quality soundtrack, otherwise it's the exact same game visually and game-wise.

The series would end by this point, only to be revived on the Super Nintendo with Super Bonk. But there's also a couple of SHMUP spinoffs we can talk about some other time...
I give it:
2 / 3 Bruces!

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