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Bonk's Adventure

NES

1991 Hudsonsoft

 

This was a cool find, I never even knew there was an NES release of Bonk's Adventure back in the day. The TG16 version of Bonk is one of my favorite games, and I have to say the NES pulls off a decent translation.

The graphics look great, although I'm sure this cart uses some kind of special chip or something to do this. Bonk is large and has all the same frames of animation, and is actually a little more Japanese looking too. Controls are the same, jump, spin in the air, climb on rocks with your teeth, and bonk stuff with your head. Simple and classic, the way all NES games should be.

Bad guys are all there and animate as well as their NEC counterparts. They are limited by the less advanced color abilities of the NES. The levels are all represented too, you still walk across deserts with quicksand and volcanoes in the background (that spew damaging rocks,) swim through a dinosaur's insides, and eventually end up on the Moon. They have been changed around somewhat, seems like there's a lot more platform jumping and such going on here. For the most part they look good (particularly the waterfall level where the electric fish jump out at you) but lack the parallax scrolling.

The bosses are all here too, and they're just as large as the NEC version. One of the things about this game was that the Bosses were all large sprites that the NES couldn't possibly handle. Well, now we know. They all have the same attack patterns and animate well too.

Some little gameplay differences exist. Bonk controls a little more sluggishly here, plus unlike the TG16 version there's no kickback when you bonk something by spinning, you just continue to fall. So the boss battles are actually harder because you have to actually like, play and everything instead of just hovering over the bosses' head and bonking him over and over. Something tells me they did this on purpose. Also unlike the NEC version you're no longer practically invulnerable while spinning too, enemies have a tendency to knock you out of the spin.

To compensate there seems to be an abundance of bonus items throughout the levels. No longer do you have to search to find fruit or extra men, now they seem to be out in the open. There also seems to be a lot of Bonk invincibility meat all over the place, like three on every level. Kind of overdoing it a bit.

If there's one area where the two games have major differences it's in the sound department. Normal sound effects are pretty much the same, but the NEC music sounds waaaayyy better than this one. The tunes are all represented, but they just sound pathetically weak.

Overall a decent translation of a great game that everyone should play. If you don't like Bonk, you are a loser.

 

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