The Anatomy of Final Fantasy VI | 1 | Slave 4 U

Twenty years ago this week I drove across town to the nearest Target one afternoon as soon as my classes were out. My goal: The Super NES game case, where a brand new release was on sale. I’d seen it advertised in late-night MTV commercials, of all things, and the gushing EGM review from a couple […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 14 | Heil THIS

This is the end, beautiful friend. All that swinging around like a loon and collecting bullets from the corpses of defeated foes in order to incorporate the strength of the dead into your own essence leads to this: Area 12, the Empire’s headquarters. A below-ground concrete bunker surrounded by concertina wire and fascist emblems. Area 12 […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 13 | Top secret

Area 11 is as colorful and bright as Area 10 was dim; rather than the Empire’s sewers, this appears to be its furnace. You’ll meet a few human enemies here, but the real challenge comes from the need to perform non-stop advanced grappling in order to proceed. For instance, the level begins with a moving platform, which you […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 12 | Loose ends

Once you’ve rescued Super Joe, he mentions a guy called Destroyer-3 in Area 18. This answers one of the weirder questions of the game, which is, “What’s with all those ‘Destroyer’ dudes in Area 18?” If you happen to enter Area 18 before completing Area 7 and rescuing Joe, you’ll find these three guys — Destroyer-1, […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 11 | No more another castle

Bionic Commando doesn’t want you to rescue a princess or a damsel in distress; instead, the plot revolves around saving some old guy from captivity. This was clearly a game designed when ’80s action movie stars were still in their prime. The glass ceiling of viable heroism hadn’t begun to shift upward to accommodate the entire […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 9 | The back nine

Oh, so you managed to survive the gauntlet that is Area 6 of Bionic Commando? The stage that serves the same “do or die” road bump as, say, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne‘s Matador battle? Nicely done. Welcome to the rest of the game. The travel pass you acquire from Area 6 has exactly one use in […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 7 | A tower struck down

I’m as surprised as anyone by just how many parts this Bionic Commando series is turning out to be. I figured by this point I’d be toward the end of the game already, but I’m still working toward the halfway point. Maybe the second half will be much faster, but who knows? I mean, I already […]

The Anatomy of Bionic Commando | 6 | Botany bane

Note: I just realized I never bothered to mention that The Anatomy of Mega Man Vol. I is available on Gumroad, if you’d like the PDF. So… there’s that.   If Area 2 was the game’s optional warm-up, Area 3 is more of an instant-kill death trap trial-by-fire… though still an optional one, as it […]