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Retro Fire

Written: 3.22.07
Acquired: 3.28.06
Status: Cart only
Price: $3.99

Pub: Electronic ArtsJune '93
Dev: Gray Matter8 MEGS

Yet another game from my childhood that I always wanted to play, but never did. Lost in a vast sea of thousands, brace yourself -- it's yet another platform action game on the good ole SNES. But does B.O.B. do anything to warrant a play through? The short answer is: I'll be damned. Not only is it pretty good, but it reminds me of Megaman crossing Metroid, and if Doom were a platform game, it might be like B.O.B.!

"Hey babe, ya like the size of my gun?"


"Megaman-Metroid hybrid that's Doom in platform spirit? Yer nuts!" I can hear you saying. Three of the most beloved gaming franchises of all time. Surely I must be sniffin' something real good, right?

What is certain, though, is the off-beat plot. Rather than controlling a hero preordained to save the world, our protagonist here is simply looking to meet his hot date in a timely fashion. She gets kidnapped by some bad dudes, right? Another contrived save the damsel in distress plot? Nope. B.O.B crashes his dad's car into an asteroid and lands on the strange planet of Goth. The natives are restless and hostile. After Goth lies the moderately difficult Anciena. After that, the controller-chucking Ultraworld. Over 40 bad guys want to make "Shish-ke-B.O.B" of you, and if they don't, surely one of the eight bosses, scattered throughout the 48 levels, certainly will

WHO -- OR WHAT -- IS B.O.B.?

Nobody knows. The manual doesn't say. A magazine once called up the people at EA, and they said they themselves have no clue. I bet B.O.B. stands for Big Ole B [SNIP! The children, for pete's sake, the children! -Ed.]

We do know that he is one funky piece of work... heck, the Japanese namesake is Space
Funky B.O.B.

At the beginning of each level, B.O.B. teleports to this lovely effect

Reach this orange swirly exit
before the timer expires. The
exit is sometimes hidden in
a very devious spot, lending
a maze-like aspect to B.O.B.

B.O.B is a big talker. He says something at the beginning...

... And at the end of each level he blurts out a "trendy, hip" colloquialism

Even does a little
dance number!

He also yaps when he bites the dust:

I don't think you'll
be able to, buddy...

B.O.B is well-animated, and quite a character


What good would a platform blaster be without loads of cool guns and gadgets? B.O.B's got the lot!

Pressing start switches
to this screen. Here's where you can change your tools. L and R will cycle through the guns and gadgets in real time as well for a more seamless experience. Ace!

Speaking of which, make sure you grab as many gun and gadget icons as you can. Knowing when to use what is critical. Each gun can hold a maximum of 99 rounds. The gadgets max out at 9 a piece. Don't use any of them unless you absolutely have to...


                              Stronger than you'd believe.
                              Use this when you can, as
                              ammo is precious


Weak but it's got range.
You can shoot up, too.
Be ashamed, Megaman,
be ashamed...

                          TRIPLE SHOT

                          Cuts a wide swath when shot
                          and possesses moderate
                          power. The gun of choice in
                          most situations


Homing missiles searching
for the closest source of
heat, but at times, misses
its intended target. Not very
strong, but it has its uses



                                 FLAME THROWER

                                 Not very useful, unless
                                 you're dealing with the
                                 organic baddies. It also
                                 eats a lot of ammunition
                                 in no time flat


The 2nd strongest gun, but
the shot is very narrow. It'll
take a highly skilled darts
player to use this weapon
well  [What the hell? -Ed.]


                           This is undoubtedly the BFG
                           of B.O.B. and the one to pack
                           the bosses in. It is sheer raw


B.O.B can only jump so high.
Use the TRAMPOLINE for an
additional boost

X employs the gadget you've selected

THE FLOATING BOMB kills (usually) any baddie on-screen

Fly with the HELICOPTER
. You've five seconds
before it expires

                           Save whatever SHIELDS you
                           can find for the bosses. They
                           last for about 8 seconds

The FLASH freezes
all enemies briefly

Out of ammo? The
blinding light gives
you a good eight
seconds to get the
hell outta dodge


                                   The UMBRELLA slows
                                   down your fall. It stays
                                   open until you touch


Duck and crawl through tight
spaces. You can shoot while
crouching, but can't jump


                                  These recharger units
                                  completely heal B.O.B.
                                  The programmers have
                                  positioned these units
                                  perfectly. But, after level
                                  15 or so, they go the
                                  way of the dodo

Wrenches restore you
to 100% vitality. They
may pop up during a
boss fight as well


Four "B.O.B-sled" levels
are scattered throughout
to break up the shooting
madness. Put those
Battletoads nightmares
to rest, this is all easy
stuff. Even the last one,
which has multiple dead
end's, should be a cake
walk after 5 or 6 tries

                 D'oh! JUST
                 missed the
                 goal! Talk
                 about a big
                 bag of suck


A look at some:

These 'bots have great speed

Hard to avoid, but easy to kill

                             Horse flies are no problem.
                             They make a little buzzing
                             noise -- the damn bastards

Not all enemies
can be killed...

                            Where do they come up with
                            these brilliant, original ideas?

A hairy situation, this.
Nothing that the Triple
can't take care of!

                           Snout monsters are animated
                           wonderfully. You almost feel
                           bad for killin' them. ALMOST

Disgusting thing... bugs
come flying out like bees
outta a bee hive!

                              Crash turtles roll mindlessly
                              back and forth. So best end
                              its misery, no?

Ole Mr. Potato Head wants
revenge for all those times
you put his parts in the

                             Wizards conjure up lightning

Watch out for the sparks that come flying out when you kill these guys

                               In the 3rd world, EVEN the
                               ladders aren't safe! Ladder
                               monsters are extremely
                               protective of their territory!

Many more strange
enemies await you. All
in all, it's an OK cast. I
would have liked more


A password is given after
every 3rd stage. The 1st
level may contain MUST
HAVE items (e.g. Wave,
shields) if you're to have
a shot on the next two,
particularly if the 3rd level
is a boss. It's a brilliant
system the programmers
have intentionally crafted


The first -- the Borg Snake!

He's easy, and flashes like
a mutha when hit

                                   Missiles and triple shots
                                   work best against him

                                   You'll take damage, no
                                   doubt about it, but the
                                   damage you dish out is
                                   much greater

Hmm, gimme 5 on the
snake's missile...

                           His head-butting technique is
                           quite lethal though. Just avoid
                           being on eye level with him
                           and you should be OK

                                                                              "Oooh!  Not right there, it tickles!"

Ole Lava Lord is
tough if you don't
have a certain gun
on you...

This acid-dripping nasty is full of surprises

                                                       He's quite reminiscent of a Contra baddie...

For the tougher boss battles, shield icons, wrenches, etc. pop up on the screen every once in
a while. You'll need every single last one!

One boss took me close to 30 tries to beat. He's the final guardian of Anciena, the bastard. His large fist will instantly pound you to the Game Over screen, regardless of your health status. It wasn't until I tried -- [SNIP! Can't tell 'em everything now, can we -Ed.]

The last boss is very tough and has 3 or 4 forms! If you collect enough firepower and gadgets in the previous 2 levels though, you should be fine. He's a nasty thing, resembling an abominable cross between a mutant spider, elephant and squid!


It baffles me that some
prefer the GEN version.
Having played both
extensively, I can say
the SNES port has the
better graphics, sound
and control

GEN port had dull color and worse control, meh


[You fool! What they've said about YOU! -Ed.]

B.O.B. did not fare too well with the critics:

  • EGM: 5, 5, 7, 7
  • GameFan: 64, 67, 70, 80
  • Super Play: 54%

Well, at least GamePro loved it... wait, does that even really count....

Let's see if the game fared any better with internet gamers....


  • I always loved the game. One of the better EA non-sports titles. I'm surprised that
    it never got a sequel

  • It's a decent game, I like the crouching and ways of shooting because games like Megaman lacked that back then. I wouldn't say there's anything too special about
    it but it has its fun

  • I like just about everything about B.O.B. except for its hardcore difficulty once you reach the middle stages of the game. B.O.B. is resplendent with early nineties pop culture.
    You get a lot of funkadelic synthesized music that actually fits the foreign backdrops perfectly. I could rock out to the boss theme for a good ten minutes or so. B.O.B.'s music and sound effects fit it like a glove
      -Snow Dragon

  • The graphics in this game were pretty darn good. The bug-like main character was chock full of detail. All the enemies were just as good as B.O.B. himself. The environments had a ton of detail drawn into them. B.O.B. was never a game that was really heard of a lot, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not good  -BrakZero

  • The graphics of the game are pretty good. There's good use of shadow, and B.O.B. looks excellent, as do most of his enemies. The animation also flows smoothly. The sound
    is good too, but not excellent. This game is worth a play. Although it's mostly just an average shoot 'em up side scrolling game, the humerous plot and difficulty will keep
    you coming back for more

  • I really liked it. Really unexpectedly good game  -PWHerman

  • Great game. I still play it now and then today. If I recall right it flopped pretty hard critically since it was dismissed as just another SNES platformer. Dismissed as pedestrian and derivitive when it is in fact a pretty fun refinement of this type of game  -Neo Rasa


"Dude, this game is like... a retarded Metroid." One guy once eloquently put it. It wasn't until I finally played Super Metroid did I realize how true that statement is! A back-handed compliment if there ever was one eh?

The graphics have a lovely colorful, almost pastel-y look to them. B.O.B animates extremely well, packing a lot of personality into those nuts and bolts, and the various baddies look great too. The music and sound effects suit the game just fine. The boss theme really rocks. The gameplay I found to be fun and quite addicting, if not a tad frustrating at times. The exit for certain stages requires some thought process, some of them even require the trampoline or 'copter hat! Nice. Speaking of which, the various gadgets give the game a more versatile scope as compared to others of its ilk. I'm very glad Gray Matter skipped the ole hop 'n bop routine. It's a blast to rip the bugs a new one with the efficacious flame thrower. Although nothing new is really found here, B.O.B. is all done very well; minus some minor control flaws (floaty jumps and control not very crisp from a standstill point). Some stages have multiple routes, and while they're very basic, they're there at least. B.O.B. reminds me of the ole 8-bit games. There's an old school, back-to-the-basics feel, and this isn't meant to be interpreted as a bad thing, not at all. The gameplay is largely about memorization and repetition -- trial and error. What saves it, in my view, from being tedious are the cool graphics, fun main character, bizarre enemies and an inexplicable urge to see what the next level will bring, despite them perhaps not having the greatest of variety. The B.O.B-sled levels do help break things up, though

The game is oddly addicting! It became an obsession for me to beat the next subset of levels, earn the next password, and get my little robotic friend one step closer to his date. Actually, "little" is mischaracterizing... look how huge a sprite he is! Pal, you gotta lay off them Krispy Kreme Donuts

The boss battles were executed fairly well, though I think too many power-up's are provided during these fights. On the other hand, if they weren't, the game would TRULY be impossible. The 1st world is child's play compared to Anciena
and Ultraworld, which will utterly destroy even the best of you weekend warriors out there, initially, anyhow. But trust me, it's never to the point that a little gut-it-through effort can't see you through, though you may come damn near close to chucking the controller on more than one occasion

Keep in mind B.O.B. is not a fast-paced run 'n gun. It's a deliberate, slower-moving action blaster. If you run through the levels, it's a sure-fire ticket to the waste bin. You have to take the levels step by step, conserving your ammo, trying to find and reach the exit before the timer expires. Some of the later stages become maze-like as you scramble to locate the exit!

All in all, I'm very pleased with the game. My expectation coming in was that it'd be decent, nothing more. Instead, I dare call it "pretty good"

Give it a shot!

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8
Longevity: 6

Overall: 8.0

Silver Award