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Silent Bomber

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Released: 1999

Genre: Shoot-'em-up

Format reviewed: PlayStation

Publisher: Studio 3

Developer: CyberConnect2

Forgive me for mentioning it, but man, wasn’t Bomberman: Act Zero dreadful? There’s nothing that series needed less than a gritty reboot, especially given the lack of gameplay innovation. If they really needed to take that route, they should have gone down a different path – one rather more like that of Silent Bomber. CyberConnect2’s bomb-’em-up is an excellent game that is all too often overlooked (although Retro Gamer readers, proving their fine taste, voted it into our top 25 PlayStation games in issue 127).

The standard anime nonsense plot puts you in control of Jutah, a war criminal who has been drafted into his home planet’s military to destroy the Dante, a space cruiser threatening the planet. What this entails is 14 stages of running around sci-fi environments and blowing things up, usually specific targets such as power generators or dormant mechs. Of course, you’ll be under constant enemy assault as you do so, so it’s a good job that Jutah is able to move around the open environments at a nippy pace.

You’ll need to master your weaponry to be effective in Silent Bomber, as the bombs only have a limited destructive range. That can be increased by stacking multiple bombs in one place, which will also increase the damage done. If you don’t want to get too close to a target, bombs can be shot at enemies, sticking to them until they are detonated or destroyed. There are also special liquids which produce additional effects with bombs – Napalm deals extra damage against human targets, Paralysis deals extra damage against mechanical enemies and Gravity sucks enemies in.

Of course, no fast action game would be complete without bosses, and Silent Bomber doesn’t disappoint. There are large robots which need to be taken out leg-by-leg, persistent mech-piloting enemies and all manner of other deadly enemies to beat. Encounters are usually tense as bosses have lots of health, meaning that they’ll often come down to the wire even when you’ve worked out an effective strategy.

This is one of the PlayStation’s hidden gems – if you haven’t yet tried it, I implore you to do so!

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