Bomberman Max is yet another entry into the Bomberman franchise by Hudson. The game comes in two versions, Red Challenger (Soldier of Darkness in Japan) and Blue Champion (Hero of Light in Japan). Each version of the game contains a different playable character, 20 exclusive stages, and different types of Charaboms. Charaboms, rather obvious copies of Pokemon, appear for the first time (although a particular one appeared in Bomberman 64: The Second Attack as Bomberman's sidekick). This game rather extensively uses the GBC's infrared capabilities.
"In the infinitely expanding universe..."
...there are five planets. The fifth planet, Future Star, protects its neighbors. However, a mysterious cloud infects the planet's central computer, Brain; the machine, now bent on galactic domination, has transformed all of the lifeforms on the other four planets into cold machines. Dr. Ein calls on Bomberman and Max to save the Charaboms inhabiting each planet. Max decides to make this rescue into a competition, as Bomberman immediately takes off to the first planet.
Each game has a total of 80 stages spread across five worlds. Each stage has a certain condition that must be fulfilled, such as "before laying nine bombs, destroy all of X enemies" or "destroy all soft blocks." When the objective is fulfilled, several exit portals appear, which warp the player to a different level. This continues until the player reaches a boss level (there are three for each world, each one featuring different difficulty). Once the boss is defeated, the player moves on the next planet.
The mission objective "Step on the Hidden Panel" allows the player to play minigames by activating the panel, then sending an infrared signal through a device such as a TV remote.
There are three different endings: one for if the player has less than 80% completion, one for completing every stage that doesn't require "Pitch Area" (80% completion), and one for clearing all 100 stages.
Replacing the classic Bomberman multiplayer formula is Charabom Battling. The player selects three battle plans ("attack", "special attack" and "defend" arranged in different order) then sends their Charabom to the opponent via the infrared sensor. Both Charabom battle in rock-paper-scissors fashion until all three battle turns are finished, or until one Charabom is defeated. The winner receives the loser's Charabom.
The Pitch Area feature allows players to "send" their exclusive stages to a friend's game via IR, so long as said stage has been completed by the sender. Using this feature, it is possible for a single game to contain every stage between the two games.
In Japan, copies of a special version of the game (named Bomberman Max Ain) were given away in a contest. Other than several instances of product placement, the game is essentially Blue Champion with all 100 stages available from the start.