Bomberman is an arcade style game released for the Nintendo gaming console in 1987. Since then, there have been a number of different versions released of the game. This guide will focus on the original Nintendo version. The goal of the game is to direct bomberman through each underground stage, (there are 50 regular stages and 10 bonus stages), killing all enemies, and finding your exit
Basic Game Play
You are in control of bomberman. When the game begins, Bomberman’s position will always be in the upper left hand corner of the screen, and the screen will scroll to the right to expose more enemies and blocks.
Upon starting out, Bomberman can produce one bomb at a time, and it will explode with a range of one square in each direction. He will die if touched by an enemy, or if he gets caught in his own bomb blast. If he dies, the level will be restarted and the layout of the walls and enemies will be different, but the amount and types of enemies will be the same.
There are power-ups that can prevent such things from happening. Each floor contains a power-up, which will help you in your quest to reaching the surface. There are 8 power-ups in all. They are: Bombs, Flames, Speed, Wallpass, Detonator, Bombpass, Flamepass, and Mystery. They can be seen with a description of each in Figure 2.
In each of the stages, you will come across a variety of enemies. Each one is slightly different from the other. They will vary in the speed at which they travel across the stage, ranging from slow to fast. They all have varying levels of intelligence; some will chase you around the stage while others will stay on a set path. Each enemy is also worth a different amount of points, and some can pass through walls. Below is a chart showing these various aspects of your enemies accompanied by a picture. (Figure 3)
You will also encounter bonus items throughout the course of the game. Most are almost impossible to find, and require great skill. Each bonus will be harder to achieve than the one before it. There are six in total: Bonus Target, Goddess Mask, Cola Bottle, Famicom, Nakamotosan, and Dezenimansan. You will find a description of each accompanied by a picture in the figure below. (Figure 4)
Basic Strategy (Single-Player)
Since Bomberman consists mostly of placing bombs to kill enemies, it is important to master this skill. Placing bombs in intersections as opposed to between two blocks will lead to a blast radius expanding in all directions, instead of just two directions. It is very important to have the bomb and flame power-ups. You can place bombs an intersection apart and they will create a chain reaction. The power-ups will allow you to place more than one bomb at a time and also allow the flames from the explosions to reach further. This will help to ensure that the quicker enemies are killed.
If you have the detonator/bomb power-ups, you have the ability to lay down bombs and blow them up when you wish. You may want to think about causing a chain reaction to kill your enemies. A chain reaction can be very helpful, but also dangerous. If you don’t have the detonator power-up, you have to be sure to give yourself enough time to get away from the blast. Also, be careful not to trap yourself with your bombs and blow yourself up. I wouldn’t recommend placing more than 4 bombs at once. Bomberman can only run so fast, unless, of course, you have the speed power-up! Just be cautious and pay attention to what you are doing. Know Bomberman’s limits and don’t try to push them too far.
In earlier stages, Bomberman is weak. He can only drop one bomb at a time and does not move very fast. It is best to try and find the power-up in each stage before going after enemies. If you can easily kill an enemy before finding the power-up, then go ahead. Enemies can easily elude you if you open up too many pathways with your bombs. Start slow and try and trap enemies in holes.
Once you have the power-up, go for the enemy that is the easiest target. Once you clear enough of the weaker enemies, it will be easier to focus on the ones that are harder to kill.
Now, if you’re like me and my friends, you might want to play some sort of single-player tournament, where either you are trying to get the furthest in the levels, or you want to end up with the most points. Because enemies have a fixed amount of points attached to them when killed individually, there are two ways to get a higher score than your friends. One way is to go for chain reactions, killing multiple enemies in a row. You are awarded more points for each enemy killed after the first one. The other way is to go for the bonus items. This will ensure you a victory! If you’re merely shooting for the highest finished level, patience is a must. Take your time, but finish each level in the amount given to you. Don’t rush into things since the only thing that matters is how far you get in regard to levels.
As I mentioned previously, there are 10 bonus stages, each occurring after five normal stages. As the game progresses, these bonus stages will come after every 6th regular stage. The point of these bonus stages differs from the regular stages. Basically, all you need to do is kill as many enemies as you can in the allotted time (30 seconds). You cannot be killed in the bonus stages, so feel free to blow up bombs you are standing next to or touch enemies. You can shoot for chain reactions here, because as mentioned before, you will score higher points.
Basic Strategy (Multi-Player)
If you are playing the multi-player version of Bomberman, you will not be concerned with bonuses, enemies, or levels. The stage look and layout may change, depending on the stage theme, but you will not be progressing through levels. The other players playing with you are not only considered your enemies, but your competition as well. They must be eliminated! You can set a desired number of matches you must win in order to become the victor, for example, best out of 5.
The easiest thing to do if you’ve never played Bomberman before is to stand back and watch. Let the other players with less skill blow themselves up. This will sometimes lead to an immediate victory, or at least a quicker one than normal. It’s also the easiest thing to do if you HAVE played before! It may feel a bit like cheating, but hey, it’s not your fault if the other players blow themselves up!
If you are playing with more skilled players, hoping people blow themselves up won’t always work. Sometimes it is a good idea to merely just stand back and watch for another reason. It is almost like poker. Sometimes you have to lose a few hands to find out people’s weaknesses or strategies. You can stand back and watch how the other people play. Do they like to lay down chain reactions? Do they ignore power-ups? How aggressive of a player are they? Once you get a feel for their style of game play, you can use it to your advantage and take them down! If you are the one to accidentally blow yourself up (whoops!), then take the time you are given to sit there and watch how the others play as well. You don’t have to actually be alive in the game to take note of how the other players play the game.
Sometimes, I find it best to let the trouble come to you rather than seek it out. It is easier to lay a trap when you are sitting there waiting for another player to come to you. If you are more daring, then feel free to seek out the other players. This can also work in your favor. Some players may get nervous when being chased, causing them to go the wrong way and get blocked in by one of your bombs. They may accidentally place a bomb where they don’t mean to and blow themselves up as previously mentioned.
If you are a strong player, another strategy for you is to pick off the other stronger players early, since they are a bigger threat to you than the newer players. Let the newer players wander around the board (and hope they stay alive), while you seek out the more experienced player and kill them. Then the newer player will be an easy kill if he hasn’t blown himself up already. You an also look at this from the opposite side. Killing the less experienced players may be a better plan for you if you are worried about their bombs getting in your way. You can eliminate them, and then sorry about the experienced players, leaving you more room to roam around and plan your attack. It just depends on what kind of player you are..
It is also a good idea to try and steal other people’s power-ups. Sometimes walls will be blown up and a power-up will appear. Some people may not see them as fast as you do, so be sure to get there quickly and snatch it away from the other player.
You definitely want to make sure that time doesn’t run out before killing all the other players, or the match will end in a draw. Where is the fun in that? Doing all that work to kill other players, only to have the match end in a draw because you couldn’t finish the last player off, is enough to annoy anyone. Don’t let it distract you from the next match. Keep your head in the game, and you’ll be the victor in no time!