Bionic Commando Rearmed is an update to the original 8-bit classic originally released on the NES in 1988. The game is a "2.5-D" side scrolling shooter and retains all of the shooting and swinging of the original. The game features a new soundtrack with remixes of the original music, as well as the anime-inspired "Go! Go! Bionic" theme song. The CD is available on iTunes, Sumthing Digital and the Bionic Commando website. The game features two player co-op, and new bionic arm abilities. Rearmed sticks to the original's story of Nathan "Rad" Spencer's first mission: rescue Super Joe (dubbed Joseph Gibson in Rearmed) and eliminate the enemy leader.
The main feature which differentiated the Bionic Commando gameplay at the time in relation to other 8-bit era platformers was the lack of a jump button. Due to the simplicity of the NES controller (two buttons) most side scrolling shooters had one jump button and one fire button (such as Contra) however in order to differentiate the product at the time Capcom developers came up with the idea of introducing the grappling hook mechanic which, due to the limitation of the NES controller, meant the elimination altogether of the jump button.
The game still holds this easy-to-use control scheme, with little timing involved. The player is required to push B/Triangle while standing still to shoot the grappling hook diagonally, while running forward causes Rad to shoot forward, and firing up while looking up shoots it up. The hook is used to reach different platforms in the game (replacing the above mentioned jump button).
Also, Rad has the power to crouch and fire off his grappling hook at concrete barriers on the ground to slide across the floor, and grabbing a barrel lets him bring it towards himself and use it as a weapon and shield. Certain stone walls can be pulled away by using the bionic arm, and enemies can be grabbed and thrown/used as human shields when an upgrade is applied later in the game.
A new mechanic was introduced in Rearmed which was absent from the NES version of the game. In order to hack into enemy computers, Rad must shoot a ball in different directions hitting blocks, trying to get to the green block. These puzzles get more and more challenging as the game progresses, and start to incorporate such things as teleports. The A button is the shoot button and requires multiple button presses to get multiple shots off.
Another new addition is the ability to gain momentum while suspended. While players got stuck and were forced to drop down in order to shoot their arm to move again in the original title, Rearmed allows the shotgun to propel Spencer backwards to start swinging again.
Nathan "Rad" Spencer has a wide variety of weapons in his arsenal, many of which unlock via progressing through the game's many levels. Weapons upgrade when the particular item is found in secret areas or allied bases.
The Revolver is a Standard Issue .45 with a nickname of "Daisy." The single-fire pistol is able to shoot three bullets at a time when upgraded and deals minimal but effective damage.
Grenades are thrown, usually over barriers to reach crouched and hiding enemies. Holding down while throwing it drops the grenade to the platform directly beneath Spencer. They are useful for dealing with groups, machines, and unreachable foes.
The Plasma Rifle is a laser weapon that deals very little damage to human enemies, but dishes out lethal force to mechanical beings. It is most effective against patrolling robots and bosses.
A traditional rocket launcher with varying accuracy and enormous power. A single-fire weapon, it kills most standard enemies instantly, and is lethal to the player should they be standing too close to the resulting explosion. The bazooka is upgraded in the final level of the game and allows remote control via the right analog stick (consoles) to maneuver the wayward rocket. Since it deals incredible damage, firing rockets at bosses and groups is very effective.
The 13 gauge "Hagle Breaker" is essential for close combat. While useless at long range, the forceful impact of the spread will kill standard soldiers in a single shot. Shooting the shotgun while suspended from Rad's bionic arm results in momentous propulsion, giving the player a chance to swing again whereas they'd normally have to drop to whatever doom awaited below.
This rebounding laser is effective against machines and humans, and is essential for reaching meticulously placed turrets or gunmen. The rebounding shot arcs at a 45 degree angle and shoots up or down depending on the player's standing/crouching stance.
Joe's Machine Gun
This rapid-fire machine gun deals phenomenal damage at a high rate. Essential for quick clean ups and taking down groups, the weapon will push players backwards, if they aren't running while shooting. The weapon initially belonged to Super Joe, and is available upon his rescue.
The Helmet, Shin Guards and Bullet Proof Vest
The Helmet, Shin Guards and Bullet Proof Vest all allow players to take an extra hit of damage without it affecting their Hit Points. Once hit with a bullet, the respective piece of armor will degrade and fall off, as indicated by its gold logo flinging off of the character. When one is equipped, one shot is deflected; when two are equipped, two shots are equipped; when three are equipped, three shots are stopped.
Unlocking and equipping the Iron Boots means players that swing in to most enemies will plant their metal foot in to their face and likely kill them instantly. Some enemies are not affected by the attack, such as the bulky blue Bomb Expert, Shielded Soldiers and most bosses.
Health Recovery Pills
The pills are actually a liquid that increase Rad's total health. The fact that the "pills" are a liquid is joked about in a dialogue between Spencer and Hayley. This is a reference to the NES version of Bionic Commando where the icon for Health Recovery Pills was also a liquid.
The Power Claw allows Spencer to grab enemies and throw them, which immediately kills them, or use them as human shields to absorb incoming bullets. Grabbing and throwing an enemy negates any item drops such as health or bonus points.
Stand still and press B to fire a grappling hook diagonally. The main gameplay elements introduced in the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) version of the game have been kept almost intact in this version of Bionic Commando.
Pricing and Availability
Bionic Commando Rearmed retails for 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live Arcade, $9.99 on PlayStation Network, and $14.99 for the PC via digital distribution. The PSN version will be Remote Play compatible. The game is scheduled to release on August 13, 2008 (XBLA) with the PSN and PC versions following on the 14th. The list for digital distributors on the PC is yet to be confirmed.
Producer Ben Judd announced on August 13, 2008 that the PC version of Bionic Commando: Rearmed will feature additional challenge rooms included in a free patch to be released sometime after the game's release. Judd did not announce when this additional content would be released for the PC, or whether console players would have a chance to purchase this additional content. Though becoming fairly standard with digitally distributed PC titles, Bionic Commando was not released via Valve's service, Steam upon release. Capcom claimed that they could not reach agreeable terms with Valve, leaving the game to be distributed solely through Capcom's online store. However, the game has since been released on steam for $9/9€
- Rad Spencer: Rad Spencer is the protagonist that the p-layer assumes control of in Rearmed. He yields a bionic arm and often has many sly remarks to make about the situation at hand. Official badass.
- Super Joe: Super Joe is a super soldier who fights on the protagonists side after he has been rescued. It is also well documented that he is a badass. Super Joe also is the original owner of the "Super Joe's Machine Gun" weapon, easily one of the best weapons in the game.
- Hayley: Hayley pilots the drop ship.
The Bionic Commando Rearmed soundtrack features remixed tracks from the original game. The tracks were remixed by Simon Viklund.
- "Bionic Commando Rearmed (Main Theme)" 3:32
- "Heat Wave" 3:50
- "Power Plant" 3:38
- "Leap of Faith" 2:42
- "Rise of the Albatross" 4:59
- "BCR Menu Theme" 3:22
- "Prologue & Epilogue" 3:02
- "OK, We'll Move" 2:29
- "Meet the Enemy and Descend" 2:00
- "Killt's Hidden Treasures" 2:30
- "Amongst Allies" 1:20
- "Intruder Alert" 3:28
- "Suzuki's Heroes" 2:00
- "One Man, One Bionic Arm" 1:40
- "Go Go Bionic" 0:18
- Supported OS: Windows® XP Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista™
- Processor: Intel Pentium 4 2 Ghz/AMD XP 2200
- Memory: 1 GB RAM
- Graphics: 128 MB DirectX 9c compatible card / nVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT / or ATI equivalent
- Sound: DirectX 9 compatible sound card
- DirectX®: DirectX 9c
- Hard Drive: 650 MB free hard drive space
- Peripherals: Keyboard and mouse, Xbox 360 controller supported