The only good thing about Bravoman is that its poorly translated dialogue is sometimes amusing.
- The badly translated dialogue is occasionally funny.
- Run-and-punch design gets old fast
- Weak collision detection makes the game unfairly difficult
- There are 20 levels, but only five different backdrops
- Graphics and audio vary from bland to bad.
Most games available for the Wii's Virtual Console are noteworthy for some reason or another. Some are standouts in their genres. Others lack mainstream appeal but have developed loyal followings throughout the years. Bravoman for the TurboGrafx-16 is a thoroughly lousy 2D action game that's notable for its strange characters and batty broken-English dialogue. The main character is a bionic superhero that attacks by extending his arms and legs, and the story revolves around a madman named Dr. Bomb that has unleashed an army of robots, weird beasts, and Power Ranger wannabes on the world. The game was most likely meant to be taken as a parody of the action genre. Unfortunately, the humor is impossible to appreciate since the action and graphics are so lame.
Bravoman is a blueprint of how to make a bad action game. The design is as basic as it gets. In the majority of the game's side-scrolling levels, you run to the right, jump over hazards, and use Bravoman's limbs to attack and destroy enemies. By pressing up or down on the controller, you can direct Bravoman's attacks high or low. You can also control how far his limbs extend by pressing the attack button longer. Enemy attack patterns and level layouts are simple, so the game gets old quickly. It doesn't help that the same five backdrops are recycled four times each to give the game 20 main levels. To make matters worse, Bravoman's attacks don't come out immediately, which is a big no-no for an action game. The collision detection also tends to be unfair, in that you need to be right on the money for your attacks to hit an enemy, while their missiles and bodies will often suck away some of your health even though it looks like they've missed you by dozens of pixels. On top of everything else, it's tough to keep your eyes and ears focused on the action, because the shrill music, ugly character designs, choppy animations, and dull backdrops are a constant affront to the senses. Enemy characters usually resemble toasters and giant magnets. The backgrounds consist of a bland day or night backdrop peppered with brown crates and the occasional brick building.
The game's only entertainment value comes from the weird characters and the badly translated dialogue sequences that occasionally appear. Frequently, the enemies you destroy will leave behind bonus items. If you collect enough of them, a yellow robot riding a unicycle will drop down from the sky and give you a random power-up. At the end of some levels, the yellow robot will ask you if you're hungry and then give you pieces of sushi that will refill some of your health meter. That's pretty crazy. Crazier still is that you can attack buildings and phone booths to elicit such grammatically butchered comments as, "Hello I'm Japanese telephone box." Also, at the beginning of some levels, another spandex-clad hero will appear in the sky and give you a useless hint in the form of a badly worded riddle. If you want, you can jump up and kick him, which will make him say a variety of complaints and insults. Seeing those comments is good for an isolated laugh here and there. That sort of zany humor would have been much easier to enjoy were the game not utterly atrocious.