PC-8801 cover art
EU MSX cover art
EU ZX Spectrum cover art
Bomber Man (爆弾男 bakudan otoko, literally Bomb Man) is a video game developed by Hudson Soft. It was the first Bomberman game to be created.
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Eric and the Floaters
The player controls Bomber Man with the arrow keys. Bomber Man moves half of a tile space with every step. The map is comprised of a grid of hard blocks with soft blocks scattered throughout. Bombs can be placed with the Space key. The goal of the game is to destroy all the balloon-shaped ghosts with explosions to progress to the next stage. The game is ostensibly endless.
In each stage, a bonus item is contained within a random soft block. Collecting the bonus item will increase the game score. Bonuses include a Coke can, cocktail, penny-farthing bicycle, sack of gold, treasure chest, and other various affects. Another soft block in each stage contains an exit. Touching the exit will restart the current stage. If either an exit or a bonus is hit with an explosion, it will be destroyed and will release four more enemy characters, which also must be defeated to progress. The player begins with three lives; extra lives cannot be gained through gameplay.
Bombs are passable by both the player and enemies. Up to five bombs may be placed on the field simultaneously, and each bomb explodes with a firepower of two tile spaces. A bomb may be placed between two tile spaces. When one side of a bomb blast is obstructed by half of a block, the resulting lane of fire is only half the width of a tile space. In this way, half of a given soft block may be destroyed. Neither the player or enemies may move through a half soft block, but another bomb blast can go through the empty space, allowing for tactical attacks against enemies while maintaining a defensive position.
The first stage of the game has one enemy character in it. Each subsequent stage adds another enemy character to the map. After the third stage, every stage includes four enemies. Enemies appear as pink balloons that appear to move randomly. Periodically, a balloon's face will change to another expression, signifying that it is about to shift into an aggressive state. It then becomes red and exhibits an angry expression, pursuing the player relentlessly, though due to its low AI, it can still become trapped behind walls.
Each stage begins with a bonus counter of 1,000, which gradually diminishes in 10-point decrements. When all balloons are destroyed, the remaining value is added to the player's score. If the bonus counter reaches zero, all soft blocks disappear, making it harder to evade the remaining enemies.
Every fourth stage is a "Bomb Auto Setting Stage" (the text is displayed at the bottom of the screen), in which the player automatically drops bombs, with up to five being allowed on screen simultaneously.
- When reaching stages higher than 99, the number in the tens place is replaced by the upper-left corner of the bonus sprite for that stage.
- When two or more balloons are hit with an explosion, and all of them occupy the same exact tile space, only one of them will be destroyed.
The ZX Spectrum version of the game has less detailed graphics with fewer colours. Bomber Man's hat is one pixel taller, the exits have been redrawn, and the cocktail bonus item is missing its lemon. The game appears to run faster than the MSX version.
The Sharp MZ-700 version has very primitive graphics consisting primarily of large pixels, dithered squares, and pound signs. All bonuses appear as groups of four yellow diamonds. In lieu of facial expressions, enemies cycle through shades of red (aggressive, 200-160 points), pink (worried, 150-110 points), sky blue (transitioning, 100-60 points), and yellow (normal, 50-10 points). "Bomb Auto Setting Stages" are completely missing from this edition, as every fourth stage of the game plays normally.
- Eric and the Floaters game package and manual, Kuma Computers Ltd., Pangbourne, Berkshire, England, 1984.
- McFerran, Damien. From the Archives: Hudson Soft - Part 1, Retro Gamer, 2009, p. 71.