PSX Mania – 013 – Silent Bomber (1999)

Completion time: 8:40:38

This is a tale of two halves just about, or rather three thirds. Silent Bomber starts off with a bang, with solid controls, innovative combat in how bombs are used, a flexible upgrade system that doesn’t permanently lock you to any one upgrade (which was absolutely vital for how I took on the last stage), and a pretty kickin’ soundtrack. Hell, even the so-bad-it’s-good voice acting was charming.

Then the final act kicks in, and Silent Bomber‘s charm and good times gets blown away by a severe spike in difficulty that all but ruins the experience.

Mission 11 or 12 has players defending a teammate that is trying to do something on a computer while waves of enemies come. The problem is, you can’t bomb too close to her or she gets damaged, but you have to in order for you to get any enemy that is currently attacking her to come for you. You can’t just kite them off and bomb them down slowly, oh no. If you don’t hit one with a bomb within ten seconds, they forget you and go back on the attack. I spent possibly an hour on that part alone, and it made me rage harder than I have in a very long time over a video game. It’s horribly executed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I wasn’t the only one to rage at this section.

Then the final boss portion is complete and utter garbage. Most of the time you’ll get a checkpoint between boss/mid boss fights so that you don’t have to unnecessarily go through the same thing over and over if you were defeated by the boss. Silent Bomber suddenly revokes this mid fight, mid stage checkpoint, and forces you to fight through an admittedly clever and mostly fun fight over again (and it ain’t easy at first) just to get back to fight the last boss, who will almost always be hitting you before you can hit back. The fight its self is trash, and the fact that you have to repeat the chessboard fight each time you lose to the final boss is asinine. Eventually I persevered, and I gotta say….as awful of a difficulty spike as that was, it’s been a long long time since I was that satisfied beating a final boss.

Within one fell swoop, Silent Bomber went from brilliant to bummer. Those two instances were more than enough to ruin my view of the game, although the good was extremely well done. With such a great core game, and a solid first two acts, it’s a travesty that the final act bombs as bad as it does. I only cautiously recommend this to anyone interested. Just be warned that final stretch will taint your view when it’s all said and done.

Rating: 6

Twitch VOD:
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Part 2:
Part 3:

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