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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004


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by Bandai

Ups: Great shooter; nice graphics; epileptic gameplay.

Downs: The wait for the US version.

System Reqs:
Sony PlayStation

New to importing? Check out the GF! Guide to Importing

Tonight I sat arguing with myself about whether to buy beer or go a round (or maybe six) on Silent Bomber. As far as  Japanese imports go,  this is probably going to be one of the best games of the year. Yes, I would say it’s better than Omega Boost. At least one thing is for sure: screw Bomberman. It may be a classic, but give it up; it’s child’s play. Silent Bomber is a pleasant mix of Bomberman, Apocalypse and R-Type.

For me the story seemed superfluous. As far as I could tell, you’re either a member of a special, elite military force or some screwy rebel cause. At any rate, you now can imagine what type of game this is. The centerpiece is neither the story, nor the FMVs. The majority of this game relies upon the player’s ability to adapt to ever more chaotic situations—movement, lasers, shields, explosions. etc.—something you’re exposed to quickly in the game. For awhile I began to doubt my ability to adapt. Much like R-Type, you’re dropped into the middle of battles that only seem to intensify until the end boss, leaving the only break to be those brief interludes of story (which were, of course, in Japanese). During combat I found myself constantly checking my life-meter, with questions running through my head: Should I run here? Throw a bomb there? No, the key to this game is keep moving and don’t get cornered. Oh, and for god’s sake don’t detonate a bomb while you’re standing on it!

As far as control, it took awhile to get used to Silent Bomber. The joystick at times seemed a little too haywire while I attempted to target people with my bombs. This forced me to learn how to scramble across the screen avoiding everything in any which way, then aim at each enemy. Luckily enough, the game has an option that allows you to change your button configuration (I always mixed up the shoot and detonate buttons).

As you move from mission to mission, you find yourself traveling from a city to crash landing on a Star Destroyer-esque space ship where you really get to test your metal within an almost 360 degree world. Once on the surface of the battleship you must move across it with your Silent Bomber taking out specified targets, while avoiding any land borne or airborne enemies. All I can say is that this game gets apocalyptically intense in a much cooler way. One mission, I believe it’s number four, has you moving up levels while defending yourself against attackers coming from below, above and all around you.

Much like other shooters (if you can call this a shooter), you collect special weapons icons during the course of the game. In the first level you’re trained to use the napalm weapon, but you are able to acquire other types as you move through each mission, destroying your assigned targets.

There’s really only one fault I found with this game. When you first start, you’re forced to walk through a training level, which, at times, I found to be tedious to plow through—especially when you’re not able to read Japanese, let alone speak it. But as far as imports go I’d rank this right up there with Omega Boost and a little more. Rumor has it that Bandai has slated Silent Bomber for a February release next millennium, so keep your eyes open for this title, because I smell sleeper hit of the year for this game.

--Matt Baldwin