And Bomberman Tournament
is a pleasant addition to a long-standing series. Veterans will be impressed with the Battle Mode, which made it over almost entirely intact, and even more impressed by the single-player Quest Mode, which for once is actually playable. Newcomers to the series will find two games in this cartridge, and while one is overridingly better than the other, they both offer plenty of fun. Sure, the series is
getting tired--how many times can you do this before you get sick of it?--but I keep coming back to the darn thing, which must be a good sign of the series' longevity for the next twenty years.
The Quest mode is the real newcomer to the Bomberman world, and Bomberman Tournament's implementation of a single-player game is surprisingly robust. It plays like a sort of slow-paced cross between Zelda and the 'normal' Bomberman game; you have to adventure around the world of Phantarion, finding powerups and blowing up things like any good bomberman. Along the way, though, you gain new abilities that let you explore areas you couldn't before, like any good adventure game.
The main 'addition,' if you will, to the single-player experience is a bunch of Poke, er, Karabons. They're basically your warriors-in-arms, and you use them in a special battle mode against other people's Karabons. Not only can you use them to beat your opponents and get more Karabons (gotta get them all!), they give you powers if you have them equipped. It works out quite well, actually, and while the single-player game won't win any awards for depth of play or originality, it's certainly a pleasant little diversion.
The real meat of the game, however, is the Battle Mode. It supports up to four players, and each player can be either another human or the computer. In a good use of gaming ability, the game doesn't require your friends to have a copy of the game, although it'll have to download data to their GBA for them to be able to play without a cart. This is a decided improvement from the very stripped-down mutliplayer modes that games like F-Zero offer when you play them without multiple carts. Of course, if you have multiple carts, you don't have to fight the load-time, so it works out even better.
Battle Mode takes place on a single-screen environment, where you lay bombs in an attempt to blow up the other players. There are powerups here too, which lengthen your flame and increase the number of bombs you can lay at once and even let you punch or kick the bombs away from you. It's fun, it's frenzied, and it even sports some excellent computer AI so you don't have to have your friends over when you want to play it.