Review by discoinferno84

"Smooth Criminal..."

The good side always prevails over evil. It's one of those commonly accepted aspects of life that makes things seem so easy to endure. It's a concept that makes people feel good about themselves, something that reinforces our cultural values and keeps the image of ideal behavior intact. Despite countless obstacles and adversity, a hero will somehow succeed in passing on whatever cause worth fighting for. No matter what brilliant scheme or monumental power at their disposal, evil masterminds will ultimately fail in some climatic or cheesy demise. It's this formulaic clash of opposing forces that has entertaining people for ages, each story introducing new characters with the same overall outcome. People can rest easy knowing that whatever happens to their beloved hero, good will always win in the end.

However, this tried and true way of life is coming to an end. Lurking deep within the shadows of the Atari game library, The Mad Bomber is plotting an evil plan to annihilate anything in his path. This psycho has amassed an endless supply of bombs, and he's ready and willing to use them on an unsuspecting population. His dangerous aspirations will leave bring society to its knees, where evil may finally win in the end. But for this arsonist, seeing you fail gives him more pleasure than the anarchy he represents. Sure, the Mad Bomber is not the brightest criminal to ever grace gaming history, but his raw determination, deadly abilities, and utter lack of morals make him an unrelenting force. He's ready to blow up the world, and you've got to stop him.

But what can you do to stop this evil presence? This guy is slinging bombs around at will, throwing caution to the wind with ease. This is the mid 80's, long before those fancy bomb defusing techniques and Metal Gear gadgets came into video game limelight. The only thing stopping the fiery destruction is a trio of water buckets stacked at the bottom of the screen. Using only some mighty reflexes, hand-eye coordination, and a truckload of patience, you'll have to maneuver these buckets underneath the falling bombs. Once they land inside, their threat is extinguished…until the Mad Bomber starts throwing even more explosives in your direction. You'll have to be able to act on instinct, moving the buckets wherever and whenever they're needed. Sometimes they'll all be dropped into a straight line, while other times they'll be spread out far and wide over the entire screen. All you can do is watch where the bombs fall and hope you can make it there in time. And as you take out bomb after bomb, your high score will record your smiting of evil.

Unfortunately, you're fighting a losing battle. While you may have the godliest gaming abilities known to mankind, the Mad Bomber has an infinite supply of bombs to use against you. If you miss even one of the explosives, the screen will light up with a few bright flashes as the bombs detonate. When the smoke clears, you'll be missing a bucket. Then the struggle begins again, with you missing a third of your resources and your adversary continuing unfazed. To make things even more challenging, the Mad Bomber will throw even more bombs with greater speed. You'll be scrambling to move the buckets around, praying that you'll be able to catch every single flying deathtrap before it lands at the bottom of the screen. And for a time, you'll be able to dispose of everything that gets thrown at you. But despite all your efforts, you'll screw up eventually, and your failure will lead to your demise.

As you ultimately fail in this heroic quest against evil, the Mad Bomber will gave down at you with a psychotic grimace. Once you've finally collapsed from exhaustion, his awful glare will brighten into a cheerful smile, teasing you for your inability to keep up with him. However, you'll be spending too much time focusing on the countless onscreen bombs to notice your foe. They'll be dropped from the roof of a green building, their simple black blob shapes and sparkly fuses decorating the screen. While not very intimidating in terms of graphics, they give off an annoying crackling sound as they fall toward you. When you miss a bomb, the chain reaction of bright flashes and loud explosions will leave you reeling and begging for another shot at the evildoer. Once the flashing lights fade, it's just you and the Bomber, with another round of bombs between you and victory.

But despite having to endure a lost cause, you won't walk away from Kaboom without satisfaction. There's something incredibly addictive about catching bombs in water buckets, no matter how many times you fall to the Mad Bomber's might. It's one of those games that you can come to for a quick entertainment fix. The thing is, you'll end up coming back time and again, trying to outdo your striped foe. You'll spend countless sessions perfecting your technique, taking whatever challenges the game can throw at you. This quest against evil will never end, the only solace being your improved high score and some well-deserved bragging rights to keep you going. While many games of the current generation will have your eyes practically glued to the screen with amazing gameplay and graphics, Kaboom will always be there for some simple gaming and an incredible challenge.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/14/05

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