Old School Vs. New School

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Retro Review - Bonk's Adventure (TG-16)

Having Ulticron rave on and on about the Bonk series is second only to his uncanny facination with the Sega Saturn. So when he gave me a chance to borrow his coveted TurboGraphx-16 unit for a couple of months, I jumped at the chance. Actually, he shoved the console and games into my chest and said in a demonic voice "PLAY BONK OR DIE". Well, either way, with the TG16 plugged into my TV at home, I was able to finally enjoy Bonk as it truely was meant to be, not as the bastardized versions of Bonk I had on the Gameboy would lead you to believe.

Since Ulticron apparently didn't trust me enough to possess the Bonk manual, I have no idea who exactly Bonk is, or why he is on an adventure, since the game is from the days where we did not have any 20-minute cinema scenes that set up the story. You had the read about the story in the instruction manual! That's right kids, you had to READ the MANUAL! Scary, huh? You don't wanna hear about 28k modems, trust me. But in any case, Bonk is a little caveman dude and he uses his head to bonk around little dinosaur dudes. The enemies are full of character, from dancing cactuses (or is it cacti?) to blue dinosaurs who sport buck teeth and thick glasses. The graphics are very nice, looking very much like a late era SNES game. Despite many instances of many objects on the screen at once, I hardly ever noticed any slowdown. The music isn't very memorable, but it gets the job done.
The controls are pretty basic, Button I to jump, Button II to bonk. Pressing button II repeatedly while Bonk is in the air will let Bonk slowly glide to the ground (Similar to Mario's Raccoon tail in Mario Bros 3.) And since the TG controller has built in Turbo functions, it's a snap to do. I quickly found myself using the turbo spin to find slick shortcuts to one ups.
The bosses are a hoot, usually some huge, geeky monster that you don't actually kill, you just knock some sense into them and they'll become "your friend". Yeesh. The conversations after boss battles are priceless.
The game is fun, but I don't see many modern gamers going for it, for the simple reason that there is no save function. Yes, another horror from the early days that you kids don't have to worry about. Of course, you could just leave the TG16 on all day. But you might melt the hue card. And Ulticron would punish you for that.

Stay tuned for more TG-16 reviews!


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