Bionic Commando was released in 1988 by Capcom for the NES. It’s an action adventure game with platformer elements. It is similar to the Bionic Commando arcade game but it’s been changed quite a bit for the NES. You play as Radd Spencer and your mission is to save Super Joe. Radd gets some sweet guns but by far your best weapon is your bionic arm. You can’t jump in Bionic Commando and at first it seems like that really sucks but you find out the gameplay is more exciting and challenging using the bionic arm instead.
The bionic arm acts like a grappling hook that you can use to move Radd around the screen. You can shoot it and pull yourself up and across pits as long as you have something to swing off of. This really set apart Bionic Commando from the other games of the era where you usually jumped on screen from place to place.
Radd can collect health powerups from killed enemies. There are several different guns available to upgrade your standard pistol. They are the rifle, three way gun, wide gun, rocket launcher, and the bazooka. You can also find items like a bullet proof vest and different communicators.
Another interesting gameplay twist that Bionic Commando offers is being able to select your stage. You don’t have to go from level one to level two and so on. You select your level by controller a helicopter on a mini map screen. This was an original idea and kept the gameplay fresh.
Bionic Commando is not a terribly difficult game. Getting used to using the bionic arm controls is really all you need to learn. You can’t bring all your items into each stage with you so you must plan out exactly how you’re going to attack a stage. You are allowed one gun, one protective device, one special item and one communicator per level.
Much of the game had to be censored from the Japanese release. In the Japanese version they had Nazi logos that have been removed from the US version.