Saturday, April 7, 2012

Retroulette #1: Bionic Battler

Today the journey of Retroulette begins. The idea is simple, I pick a retro game at random (using a very advanced algorithm I assure you, I don't just close my eyes) and , with no prior knowledge of the game, describe what happens.

Today's game is a little "gem" called Bionic Battler for the Gameboy. It took me a little while to figure out what the name actually was, because the font on the title screen seems to be "Some of the letters just go all over the fucking place for no reason".

The new Comic Sans.

Upon pressing start you're given the option of two robots, Valiant and Sirius. I picked Sirius because he looks like a badass mech while Valiant looks like a robot...Bear? Pig?

Adorable! But this is war.

After that you're given the choice of 5 levels. It doesn't matter what one you pick though, because they all look the same, and they are all boring.

Level One

Not Level One?

                       You're then given a little clip of a monkey getting inside of the robot's...


The premise (as I understand it) of monkeys in robots fighting leads me to believe this game takes place in a future that loves the action packed violence of something like The Running Man, but values human life for some reason. Anyway, then the action begins! Well, not yet. First you're given a few options. The first is "Option" of course, with the choices being Off or On. This seems to be a trick question, so I look for a third option, but I cannot find one. You win this round Bionic Battler. Next you're given a choice of music. "C&W", "Japan", and "Disco". Only one of those sounds like a genre of music, so again I feel like the developers have only a vague idea of what "options" even are. I played one round with the Disco music, and the screeching nonsense that came out of the speaker convinced me I failed the option test, as "Off" is clearly the right answer. Then the action begins! The first thing you will notice when you play is that, despite a Gameboy's screen being somewhere around 1 square inch, the map of the maze takes up 2/3 of it.

Bionic Battler, in a rare moment where you're not punching or dead.

What is the point of throwing someone into a maze if you give them a map anyway? Who knows but without that map it would be impossible to tell if you're even moving at all. There's only two aspects of control. The D-Pad moves, and the A button punches. The Gameboy only has two buttons, and the developers still couldn't think of something else awesome for a robot to do. I could list at least 185, though half of them involve becoming a cop.  As you walk around the 3D maze, you will eventually run into another robot. You have two options at that point, "Punch" and "Why are you not punching??". The strategy here is simply "Keep punching until one of you dies". Sometimes the robots will scream "NO!" at you when you punch them, and at that point you learn there's other robots like you out there. You should have told me this is a team game before some poor monkey got hurt.

Don't you understand that only makes me want to punch you harder!?

After punching all the other robots to death you're taken back to what I assume is the zoo keeper's office. He shakes your hand and then.....

I don't think I want to know where he went or what he's doing...
You're then given a dollar and thrown out the door.

That's really the whole game from what I can tell. Pick five samey looking levels and punch robots or die, and then do it again. I can't imagine this game was fun even in 1992, and you can get more complex games on your refrigerator these days.

How Much Did the Cover Art Lie?

Darth Vader?


A lot, as it turns out. This game looks fucking awesome! Two robots in trippy Tron mazes duking it out with lightsabers and laser guns while explosions ring out in the distance for no reason. Well, more accurately, one robot shoots the other from 10 feet away and misses while the other one dances. I saw none of that in this game.


  1. Dude this blog is fukken awesome :D can't wait to read more!

    1. I'm incredibly jealous of your format. The Retroroulette concept is bloody amazing, and it's a well that will never run dry. Well done.

  2. That teddy is either duck facing, or it's a bear with a beak.