In 1997, Nintendo pushed one of its most successful 8-bit and 16-bit characters into the realm of 3D. Detonating friends and foes alike, Bomberman transitioned onto the Nintendo64 amidst mixed reviews. The question still remains, was his entrance as explosive as his SNES debut? Or are three dimensions just too much for the mouth-less protagonist? (see Bomberman Act Zero)
I remember the day I first got my hands on Bomberman64 with vivid detail. I had played Pocket Bomberman for the Gameboy Color (see-thru purple plastic? craziness!) ad nauseum, and I was itching to try out the latest iteration. One stop at Funcoland and $30 later, I was the proud owner of BM64.
This is what I remember about my initial opinion of the game: I thought the character models where the sweetest thing since the second-gen Power Rangers, but I had trouble working the 3D-adapted controls during the single player campaign. The story was fluff, but suiting. The bosses were mildly memorable (nothing like MegaMan though). The mechanics were a little funky.
The multiplayer on the other hand, was a fresh take on one of the building blocks of multiplayer gaming as a whole. I spend many more hours trying to outwit my neighborhood friends than doing homework, let me tell you.
All in all, I think Bomberman64 was exactly was the series needed, for two reasons: First, it allowed designers to fully realize the Bomberman universe, which is still used in games today. Second, it reminded Nintendo that updating a game doesn't always mean one should forget about its roots. Bomberman Live is considered one of the best entries in the series ever, and no one can argue with such a pure form of multiplayer. That's what Bomberman is all about.