Bionic Commandos
By Capcom
Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #39

Bionic Commandos

Go's spectacular shoot 'n swing arcade conversion

Enemy forces are amassing a stockpile of missiles, hidden deep within the heart of the jungle. The launch countdown has started, and only the player can stop them: parachuting into the undergrowth, the quest begins.

Each level scrolls multi-directionally with a status ship at the top revealing the high score, current score, lives and time remaining and weapon carried.

Bionic Commando

The player begins with four lives, depleted on contact with enemies, their projectiles or armoured craft or the creatures that roam within the landscapes. Each level has a 200 second time limit: failing to complete it within that restriction loses a life.

The player is equipped with a rifle and an extendable claw: pushing the joystick in an appropriate upward direction and pressing Fire attaches the claw to the nearest outcrop and pulls the player up or swings him accordingly.

Weapons and other useful equipment (such as a device to speed up arm movement) are collected by shooting parachutes periodically dropped as progression is made: these are picked up by walking over them or using the extendable arm.

Bionic Commando

The levels are loaded in pairs, so that progression from the second multi-loads the third and fourth levels. Each section is separately titled, has a unique style of landscape and theme tune, and poses individual problems.

The first stage comparises forest terrain, crawling with armed guards: other hazards include birds, deadly plants and killer bees; the second involves scaling a large fortress guarded by heavy cannon, crate and grenade-throwing soldiers. In the third section creatures eat away the pipe work, stray pipes being fatal; the Control Tower makes up the fourth, with huge metallic barriers to open and bomb-dropping helicopters and hopping robots to avoid.

The final stage involves stopping the missile before its launch, swarms of guards on constant patrol.


Bionic Commando

A brilliant release has been long overdue from Go!, and this more than makes up for the dearth of quality up to now. The most outstanding impression is made by the superb music: every piece from the funky metallic bashing of the title track to the psychedelic 70s strangeness of the fifth stage is brilliant!

Graphically it's OK: the landscapes are all detailed, different and colourful, but things get a bit obscure at times as your character clashes with some backdrops; the main sprite is compact and his extendable claw is effectively done.

Gameplay is simple and not all that difficult: once you've got the hang of where to go and when to make a move, it's quite straightforward. However, until then there's plenty of blasting action and swinging to do: if you're looking for a neat conversion that captures the atmosphere of the original and is compelling in its own right, Bionic Commandos hits the mark.


Bionic Commando

The programmers of Bubble Bobble have turned up trumps again with a superb conversion of this little-known platform arcade game. It doesn't look particularly impressive - the sprites are a little indistinct and some of the backdrops, although nicely coloured, are unclear - but it plays extremely well.

The extending arm is a brilliant idea, and Software Creations have captured just the right sort of inertia on the swing, so you can get the Commando to grab a support, leap across chasms and retract his arm to land safely on the other side before he swings back and falls to his doom.

As well as climbing up the landscape, the Commando also blasts soldiers and avoids the attentions of giant robots, killer bees and robotic dogs as he battles through six challenging and frenetic levels.

Bionic Commando

Supporting the gameplay are six incredible soundtracks - each one is as individual and innovative as the last. If you're looking for a fast and addictive game, swingalonga Bionic Commandos.


I've looked twice, and, yep, this fabulous arcade conversion is definitely from Go!, so try and forget all their previous naffness, because this much maligned company has obviously turned over a new leaf.

Sprites and backdrops are very good indeed, but the game's most striking feature is its array of unbelievably good soundtracks. The most accurate appraisal I can give is to say that they're simply the most imaginative and well-implemented pieces of music I've heard on the Commodore since Rob Hubbard left these shores.

Bionic Commando

Get your ears into gear and salza through level one to the accompaniment of a strange blend of Latin-American and ELO riffs. Also on the musical menus are a 70s TV detective theme soundalike, a mellow metallic track, and a tense war movie piece.

Amazingly, the quality sounds are matched by the gameplay, and the combination of swingabout and shoot-'em-up is accomplished in fine style. This is horrendously good fun and I'd recommend it without reserve.


Presentation 79%
Friendly and unobtrusive multi-load, high score table and polished display.

Bionic Commando

Graphics 80%
Colourful and smooth eight-way scrolling backdrops and compact, neatly animated sprites, but a slight lack of clarity overall.

Sound 97%
Five superbly psychedelic in-game themes, a brilliantly funky title tune but no spot effects.

Hookability 92%
The combination of visual and aural effects complements the initial ease of progress and enjoyment of exploration.

Lastability 85%
Only five levels, but completion is a difficult and enjoyable task.

Overall 90%
By far the best Go! conversion so far, and another great arcade conversion by Software Creations.