In Bomb Squad, players have to defuse a bomb planted by the nefarious Boris, whose actions threaten to blow up the entire city. While the player is not particularly adept at defusing bombs, they can succeed by following the instructions of demolitions expert Frank and applying logic to determine the correct disarm code.
Bomb Squad is one of only a few games to make use of the Intellivoice voice synthesis module. The Intellivoice is used for Frank's instructions, occasional encouragement, and frequent taunting from Boris.
At the start of Bomb Squad, the city skyline is shown, and the player selects the difficulty and number of code digits on the bomb. The difficulty can be one of three levels, which affects the speed of movement, the complexity of defusing, and the amount of hazard involved. The number of code digits required for defusing the bomb can be between one and three digits.
The game then begins, and a thirty minute bomb timer begins to count down. Each code digit is a 4x5 block of circuit boards, and how many of these the player sees in total will depend on how many code digits were selected at the beginning of the game.
The player selects one of the circuit boards, and the view switches to a close-up of that board. At this point, demolitions expert Frank will speak up, and tell the player whether they will be cutting or replacing pieces on the current board, and the order the components should be handled. This is a specific sequence of two to five components, depending on difficulty level; for example, "Cut this piece out first, third, and second," as each of the three components Frank is referring to flash. The player can choose to have Frank repeat himself at any time if the instructions were not clear.
To succeed on a circuit board, each component must be handled in the order specified by Frank. Regardless of whether cutting or replacing is the task at hand, the player begins by taking out the cutters and trimming the wires connecting the component to the board. Pliers are then used to grab the component and drag it off the board, where it is discarded. From here, if the instructions said to cut pieces, the player simply needs to replace the component with a piece of wire (a rectangular grey piece) by grabbing it from the top of the screen, dropping it in place with the pliers, and attaching the sides with a soldering gun before continuing on to the next component.
However, if the instructions said to replace the pieces, the player will need to replace the discarded component with a piece of either the same shape or the same color, using the replacement pieces shown at the top of the screen. This varies for each board, but the rule remains consistent for all components on the board. For example, if the same shape component worked for replacing the first piece, then all subsequent pieces on the current board should be replaced with pieces of the same shape. The new piece will need to be dropped in place by pliers and attached to the board using the soldering gun. In the event more than one piece is a valid replacement, the player will need to experiment with guesswork, and attaching an incorrect piece will require the process to be repeated (see Hazards below).
In the event the player is not properly aligning the cutters, the pliers, or the soldering gun while working, Frank will chime in on which direction the tool needs to move; for example, "Right more." Once a board is completed, the pieces at the top will disappear, and Frank will congratulate the player. At this point, it is possible to exit back out to the code digit display.
Defusing the Bomb
As these boards are completed, they will turn either grey or green as they reveal pieces of the code digit, a number 0-9.
Completing all twenty boards in the block for a digit would be both time-consuming and wasteful, and is ill-advised. A far more effective tactic involves tackling only the boards necessary to determine the number hidden behind the code block through process of elimination, and then successfully guessing the number to reveal the entire block. Guessing becomes available after two boards in a block have been successfully completed, or in the final 15 seconds of the bomb's timer in what is called a final "one shot guess."
If the player can complete enough boards to correctly guess all the digits for the bomb's disarm code, or succeeds at guessing the disarm code during the "one shot guess" period, the bomb is defused and the city is saved. In the event the timer runs down completely, or the player incorrectly guesses a code digit, the bomb will explode, decimating much of the city, and the game will be over.
There are numerous hazards or mistakes that can occur during the game which will either hamper the player's progress, or in severe cases, cause the bomb to explode.
The most basic error involves connecting an improper component piece to a circuit board or dropping a piece in the wrong place on the board. When this happens, the bomb timer will turn yellow and count down much faster, as the music becomes more frantic. To stop this, the piece must either be disconnected from the board with cutters or picked back up with pliers.
Attempting to cut or replace a piece in the wrong order is a more serious error that requires immediate re-soldering to fix the connection. Failure to re-solder the piece within seven or eight seconds on level 1 or 2 difficulty will cause the circuit board to short out, rendering it useless and kicking the player back out to the code digit screen. On level 3 difficulty, failure to fix a piece within nine seconds will cause the bomb to explode and end the game.
On difficulty levels 2 and 3, circuit board fires may occasionally occur, as a component piece flashes and begins to overheat. When this happens, the fire extinguisher must be brought out and sprayed at the flashing component. Failure to extinguish the overheating component within eight seconds on level 2 difficulty will cause the circuit board to short out, rendering it useless. On level 3, not extinguishing a flashing piece within nine seconds causes the bomb to explode, ending the game.
Level 3 difficulty also has the nasty surprise of a shaking screen, which may occasionally dislodge replacement pieces from the top of the screen and drop them onto the circuit board. It is necessary to remove these pieces to continue unhampered.
Points are earned for working successfully with components, circuit boards, and by figuring out the bomb's disarm code.
- Properly removing a component: 20 points
- Properly replacing a component: 30-50 points, depending on skill level
- Repairing a circuit board: Double all points earned working on the board
- Correctly guessing a code digit: 1000 points
- Defusing the bomb: 2000 points