In the early-mid '90s few games matched the fun that Super Bomberman and Super Mario Kart provided
Ever wonder what if someone combined the two?
Imagineer of Japan did... sorta
BATTLE CROSS is a 6-player fixed screen racer and does a good job of cramming bits of Bomberman and Mario Kart in a blender. The airbike is easy to control. Once you get in the zone, you'll be screaming past tight corners, blowing up the competition, and scorching toward the finish line with dazzling flamboyance unseen since the glory days of Babylon
There are weapons and powerups randomly strewn across the course at any given time. Nothing beats dropping a land mine under a hidden overpass... *evil grin*
Bomberman meets Mario Kart?!
Weapons and powerup's (how to employ)
Laser (press R to shoot)
Unlimited. You could be on one side of the track and hit someone on the other. It's weak however; stunning the victim for a split second (but enough to tick the tar outta 'em, which is half the fun really)
Speed Up (automatic)
Increases your speed for that entire race. Collect a couple and you'll blaze right through the competition
Zipping at break-neck speed, anyone caught in your path will flip out. It's just like the Star from Super Mario Kart
Land Mine (Y)
My favorite. The more land mine icons you collect the more you can lay at a time. If you collect three or four as I once did, you'll OWN that race!
Speed burst. If you're on a track with steep hills, activate it at the bottom and watch your guy FLY!
A 1-shot deal that, when released, darts around the track til it finds someone or burns out
Like the missile, a 1-time deal that sends a blue skeleton disc around the track until it finds someone or passes out. This causes the infected driver to go considerably slower
Turn Over (R)
Evil in its purest form. Bolts a yellow skeleton disc around the track -- if it finds a target, that driver will temporarily have his control REVERSED. On basic tracks the transition is usually no biggie. But on those with lots of turns, it's a TRUE you-know-what. Luckily, when infected, a fairy (!) appears carrying a first-aid kit. Love it. Odd, but very cool!
The reason for different buttons? So you can drop a land mine WHILE shooting your lasers. As NBA Hall-of-Famer turned commentator BILL WALTON would say: "Now HOW cool is THAT?"
Three game modes: Battle, Grand Prix and Practice
In Battle you pick from 1-30 laps to win a course. 15 is the default; I like playing on 10 just to keep things moving. Pick from 1-5 match wins. You can even select a new track after round! In Bomberman, you're restricted to the SAME field until one player can win the designated amount. HERE, say it's 3 wins to the trophy, well you can play on tracks 1, 2 and 8 if you wish. Brilliant!
Up to 5 human players can play, with a total of 6 maximum bikers. Any combo is possible: 1-on-1 race, or 4 bikers instead of 6. Go 7 laps, or 27. Adjust the AI from 1-5. It's very user-friendly
The Grand Prix follows a storyline, but like Bomberman the meat of Battle Cross is playing the Battle mode
Nine initial courses are available, with one being unlockable
Just your basic introductory track to help ease the player in. The course is devoid of any gimmicks. A volcano rests peacefully in the middle and a fisherman enjoys the action at sea. Oh and UM... a Godzilla like creature plays in the sand pit. It's the wacky Japanese at it yet again... are you not shocked?
A couple puddles atop and a grumpy pirate who doesn't like trespassers highlight this track. He launches a cannonball across the screen every five seconds or so. If you find yourself in the line of fire, do what the 80's Anthem preached. JUMP! (by pressing L)
The orange arrows operate as a speed burst. This is the first track to implement high and low drops. I really like the curve before the finish line -- it's the perfect opportunity to smoothly turn the corner and accelerate on through. And for some reason, I really dig the way the grass looks. It's so lush. I've said it before -- it's the little things!
This course rocks. Leap over the wooden spikes and watch out for the rocket that comes screaming out of the hole. A little gate near the totem pole swings open periodically, allowing the precious possibility of a short cut. But if the gate closes as you go for it, the AGONY! The shrubbery at the bottom left obstructs the playing view. It's ripe for mine-dropping. Overall this course has a good deal of strategy, making it one of my faves
See that wolf peering over the cliff there? ACE! It's the little things that make video games cool I always say. Here the slopes get very steep and if you got Nitro, use it at that bottom hill. Your momentum can propel you straight through the finish line!
Twice the hidden overpasses equals twice the potential danger of land mines. I love the corner where my red guy is at -- making a smooth turn and having that long raceway to steam forward is pretty cool stuff
Love this devious track. It's wide open... til you get to the two red pillars. To make matters worse, they move randomly! It's a short stage but very fun because of the chaos the red pillars usually cause. Blue and yellow there did OK -- green and purple is a different story! As for me, red, oh you know.. you know... uh... overlapping them. *cough* Nothing beats cutting through those pillars unscathed! Not only will you probably be in the lead but you'll look real cool too oh yeah
Those are some big animals! O_o Course gets a bit bumpy in the middle there Dunno why, but this is one of my least favorite tracks
Pinball-mania. Nothing but sheer tomfoolery found here. The three yellow things move and are hard to avoid. Hit the bumpers as I did here, and you'll be bouncing back and forth for a while. He here who minimizes mistakes, will win
[Hey, I got that in my fortune cookie today -Ed.]
Misc. Notes ----
-Graphics are nothing to write home about but they're serviceable and for this type of game works
-Sound is OK. But the music is pretty dope. I enjoyed some of the catchy course tunes
-Like Bomberman, it's still fun to play alone, but the real treat is getting 4 others to join... a perfect game to play after a night out with your buds
-Even your little brother or sister can play, thanks to the option in BATTLE mode for "human-CPU" mode. Think of it like.... auto-defense in baseball video games. In other words, steering is taken care of
-Can't read a lick of Japanese? No problem! Though the storyline in Grand Prix will fly over your head. No biggie [Biggie Biggie can't you see, sometimes your words just hypnotize me! Ahem, carry on -Ed.]
-Never a hint of slowdown
-The back cover of the manual has the best Engrish I've seen in some time:
Battle Cross is a fun party game. It possesses a unique charm and the little things like the wolf and revolving gate, for example. The more I played BC the more I liked it. It's well worth owning, especially if you have like-minded gaming friends. (I bet if my old gaming group knew about this back in '94... it would be right there with NBA Jam and Bomberman... that's no small feat!)