Who needs the Jump concept?
Remakes of classic games don't always turn out to be as enjoyable or fulfilling as their originals, and Capcom has already proved so with recent releases of 1942: Joint Strike and Commando 3. Bionic Commando Rearmed is the latest installment in Capcom's nostalgic remake craze, deriving from the original Bionic Commando, and unlike 1942 and Commando 3, Rearmed keeps what was good about the original and made it even better in certain spots.
In general, Bionic Commando Rearmed is essentially the same as the original Bionic Commando. The missions are near identical and the ever-beloved arm is obviously still in the mix, where a player will use it, aside from running, as their primary method of maneuvering the game by shooting it at 45 degree increments and swinging between platforms and climbing to the platform above. The map is the same, complete with the enemy encounters, however navigating around it became increasingly annoying as diagonal movement is best used with the directional pad, otherwise you may find yourself going the wrong way. On your quest you will encounter plenty of enemies, and your arm will help protect you and your weapons will help you dispose of them, and as your progress on your journey various equipment upgrades or new weapons will become available as the levels get a little more challenging.
If you never played the original Bionic Commando, you may have yourself a little confused as to the control scheme really is. The most distinguished concept that is absent in the series is jumping. You simply cannot jump. Your bionic arm is your only friend when it comes to a jumping substitute. You may be frustrated at first as controlling the arm itself has a bit of a steep learning curve, but once you learn the basics it will all sink in rather nicely. Additionally, whenever you climb to a platform above you, there is no way to get back down unless you happen to be able to fall back down by going over the edge of the platform currently standing on.
While Rearmed is a lot like Bionic Commando, there are a few new elements in relation to gameplay presentation and mechanics that have been added in to the remake. The most notable, and the most obvious, would be the enhanced visuals, producing an awesome Claymation scene almost like it came out of an episode of Robot Chicken. Among the less noticable adjustments include a fixed health bar, which will slowly progress downwards every time damage is inflicted upon you, and a full arsenal of weapons at your disposal during a mission, meaning you don't have to leave a mission to bring in the correct weapon. Finally, the boss battles are a rather different sight if you've played the original, particularly with the final boss, including a final mission that is completely new to the series.
But perhaps the most fulfilling new features in regards to value and your loss of sense of time are the Multiplayer capabilities and the Challenges. Multiplayer options allow you to step in co-operative play, complete with more enemies and alterations from the single-player mode that emphasize working as a team, and a free-for-all option with three different modes will add excitement and replay value to the bag. Unfortunately, these modes are strictly offline. Challenges consist of over 55 stages in which you must complete the stage in the quickest time possible with no instructions or indications whatsover in regards to how to actually complete the stage, which may be frustrating to some but the majority are easy to complete and it's mad fun to experiment with trial-and-error on some of the tougher challenges. Leaderboards are available, showcasing the quickest times for each stage and where your successful attempt stands among the community.
While Bionic Commando Rearmed may be hard to win over for those who haven't played the original due to its unique mechanics, the subtle yet superb additions to an already pleasing game ultimately make it one of the best downloadable console games available. As a remake, it is best summarized as the same uniquely original hit with an awesome modern twist, but as a game itself it's got enough highly addictive content to last for a while and boasts a price tag nobody can turn down. In the end, if you want to experience (or re-experience) what all the Bionic Commando hype is all about, Bionic Commando Rearmed should in no way be passed on.