Review by QuiescentGranduer
"Bonk battles King Drool... this time on the powerful SNES console!"
The first two adventures (Bonk's Adventure, Bonk's Revenge) of our little pre-historic, titanium-skulled, yet cute and adorable caveman were very good games. In fact, Bonk's first adventure was so successful that he eventually became the mascot of the Turbo Grafx-16 console, a position that a lowly Keith Courage once held. Needless to say, not all of Bonk's adventures have been a treat for many gamers. Bonk's third installment, Bonk's Big Adventure was an empty, desolate shadow of the two previous games. Although it did produce a few neat ideas and a good variety of characters, the gameplay and graphics were not at the expected level of many gamers. Nothing seemed to come together for Bonk's Big Adventure; around the time of the game's release, the Turbo Grafx-16 was becoming a forgotten system. The two machines of Sega and Nintendo had steadily pushed the Turbo Grafx-16 out of contention.
What would become of Bonk? The cute, little Neanderthal that had won so many gamers' hearts seemed to be on the worst path any gaming character could ever take... the celestial rise to stardom, followed by a dismal fall to nothingness.
That is until...
Bonk bashed his way onto the SNES scene in Super Bonk!
I like this story better than previous ones. The past stories involved King Drool (or other members of his family) kidnapping the lovely Princess Za. This time, King Drool has set a trap for our hard-headed hero. Bonk, minding his own business in the land before time, comes across one of his favorite items... a giant piece of leg-o'-dinosaur! Too bad our hero doesn't see the sign that says 'trap'. Needless to say, Bonk dashes at the bait only to become encased in the glass dome of a time machine. King Drool flips the switch and Bonk is transported into the future where the land is no longer covered with forests and volcanoes, but is now a thriving city of modern invention! You can see all of these events if you wait a few seconds at the title screen.
Sound & Music: 10
The Super Nintendo is the most powerful of the 16 bit consoles. It's understandable that the sounds and music of Super Bonk are better by leaps and bounds over that of the preceding Turbo Grafx installments. The sound effects are so clear and distinct that nearly every effect seems to have its own slight echo. Not only do the effects sound marvelous, but the effects themselves are very numerous throughout the game. Whether it's bashing an enemy, taking damage, collecting a butterfly, cloud-hopping, shooting revolving coins, or riding through the colon of a sea creature wearing bows in her hair, all the sound effects add greatly to the game. Music... ah, such an important category in any game. Until the production of Super Bonk, I took Bonk's Revenge as having the best tunes (and some of the best of any game) of the series. Super Bonk has met the challenge by introducing some of the coolest tunes I've ever heard. Each tune is indicative to its stage. The most effective tune (in my opinion) comes on a lunar stage where Bonk floats above the gravity-free surface of the moon. The stage tunes of cloud-hopping, Rage!-riding, coin shooting, and all the other tunes are equally impressive.
As with the audio category, the visual category benefits tremendously thanks to the capability of the Super Nintendo. The graphics are fantastic and also compliment the wide array of colors on the game. Each character onscreen is drawn and colored to a high degree of detail, which includes, on some characters, the addition of shaded colors and shadowed areas. The backgrounds feature nice, multiple textures. This includes color blends and minute specks of alternating schemes. For example, when Bonk is high in the clouds, you can clearly see the city from above in the form of many individual buildings. You can also see good color schemes while you're fooling around inside the rib cage of a dinosaur!
This is where the fun takes place even though the other aspects are key factors in the game's success. The gameplay is pretty much the same as in the previous adventures Bonk has had, but more additions have been added to increase the playability. Before, Bonk would eat meat and gain temporary invincibility. Later, Bonk would be able to eat candies and grow to immense proportions or shrink into a miniature version. Super Bonk retains those same abilities but adds even more surprises to the mix such as transforming into various creatures (dragons and ostriches) and using a Rage! technique that eliminates enemies as well as carries Bonk over pits and gorges. I’ve also noticed that the hosts of enemies in your path all come from previous Bonk adventures. The same goes for your friends too. The candies that change Bonk’s size can be eaten by friendly butterflies (which you can ride on at that point) or by your enemies such as alligators and crocodiles. It’s nice to have some stage interaction with the characters that are onscreen. The bosses are giants and provide more of a challenge the further you advance! You fight everything from colossal bacteria to flying warthogs with vacuum snouts. One thing that makes Bonk’s games so great are the hidden secrets. On this game there are secrets to find and alternate routes to take before moving onto the next stage. Lastly, are the mini games which you can play as you advance through the main game. These enjoyable, little games can boost your energy level and give you more points. Sometimes you might not need (or want) to play them, so just don’t pick up the little pink flower. There’s no obligation.
Simple yet effective. The D-pad controls your direction and the buttons perform the actions. You have the option of configuring your controller set-up. Bonk will get to where he’s going if he has to climb up steel girders with his teeth, swim up waterfalls, or glide through the universe. All are simple to pull off with whatever configuration you choose.
Despite the charisma of this game, the stages do require more thought and strategy as you advance in the game. There are 6 stages, each with their own amount of sub-levels. In a few levels, there is only one strategy to use but there are signs along the way that give you hints. The little mini-games are lifesavers sometimes, they’re there whenever you need a boost. They do become scarce in the late stages of the game though. The bosses naturally get harder and require more hits to defeat them. At one point there is a stage where the whole object is to defeat all the bosses you’ve faced one after the other.
I can pick up the controller to play this game just about anytime, but beating the game proves to be a lengthy experience. After a few days, you’ll pull yourself to play again.
Rent or Buy? Buy
Super Bonk is pretty rare and it’s the only Bonk title on the SNES system. I don’t know too many places that rent out SNES games, but even if there are, this game is still worth the buy. It’s an excellent platformer and a top-notch adventure.
Having Bonk, King Drool, and the rest of the gang come to the SNES proves to be a delightful production. The many fans of Bonk’s adventures can now see him on a superior system that provides much more visual and audile possibilities along with gameplay that features pleasant additions to an already fun concept.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/11/01, Updated 11/11/01
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