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Achievement Review: Bionic Commando: Rearmed


Almost two months ago, Capcom released the remake of their cult classic retro title Bionic Commando. If 2D platforming and/or frustratingly difficult games are your thing and you haven't picked it up yet, you owe it to yourself to do so.

But this isn't a review of the game (short review: it's great, buy it), it's a review of the Achievements. As with all XBLA games, it comes with twelve Achievements for a total of 200 Gamerscore. What makes this game different from any other that I've played is that one could play through the entire game and not score a single Achievement. Oh no, Bionic Commando: Rearmed isn't going to hand these things out to you. You've got to earn them.

Nine of the Achievements can be earned on any difficulty, one more must be on Hard or above, and one requires you to finish the game on Super Hard. The last deals with the challenge rooms, which aren't tied to a particular difficulty (but the last ones are on par with the Super Hard difficulty).

The most notable Achievements are "A Real Challenge," "H4><0rz," and "Elite Commando." Let's take a closer look.

"A Real Challenge" requires the player to complete all 56 of the normal Challenge Rooms. You might remember that I was extremely addicted to the Challenge Rooms when I first started playing, given their just-one-more-try-I-swear nature. And indeed, after 2000+ attempts total, I finished all 56 Challenge Rooms, and not only that, but it was the third Achievement in the game that I earned. As of this writing, my total Challenge Room time is ranked 50th in the world on the 360.

"H4><0rz" asks that the player hack through all the hacking minigames on Hard or Super Hard. The hacking minigame takes place of just hitting the "wiretap" option from the original game, and it's a 3D version of the classic sliding block puzzles that require the player to think ahead and plan out moves. On Hard and Super Hard, the puzzles are larger, and to make things even more difficult, each move must be completed within five seconds, so you can't map out the entire run before making your first move. Doing all of these require quick thinking and a good gut feeling. Of course, it also requires you to play through all twelve areas on Hard or Super Hard, which is difficult in itself.

"Elite Commando" is the last Achievement I earned on BC:R. It gives a simple explanation: "Beat the game on Super Hard." But earning the Achievement is anything but simple. It is by far, the most difficult five Gamerscore I have ever earned. After two months of playing the game, slogging through the levels, upgrading my weapons and armor, I finally beat the last boss this morning. What I had to do was travel around the entire map, collecting 1-ups from each of the FSA camps and each of the three different anti-aircraft sections, going into the last level with thirteen lives. After having gone through the level plenty of times now, I could get to the last boss without dying once, and having picked up the two 1-ups in the level, it brought me up to fifteen lives to face him. And this wasn't the first time I've gone through all of that either.

I could tell that I was improving. When I first fought him on Super Hard, he killed me before I could land a single rocket. Now, I average three hits on him before I die. One time I got four, just one short of what was necessary. And then, on my very last life of fifteen, it happened. I made it to four hits and I was still going. All I had to do was survive this last onslaught of missiles, and then send my own out. My heart was pounding. And then, when it all turned to slow motion, and I watched Hitler's head explode by my hand, I literally jumped out of my chair. I was so elated, I thought I'd never beat this game, but I finally did. And then, "Bloop!" I got "Elite Commando." It may only be worth five Gamerscore, but I am going to cherish those five points more than any of my other 9500. Those five points are special.

After the credits finished, it showed me how well I did point-wise. Over 200,000 points. To put it into perspective, the next person down on my Friends Leaderboard is Conrad, with 90,000, less than half of what I've got. And Grim, famous for beating everybody at everything ever, has a measly 40,000 points, one-fifth of my score. And where do I rank worldwide? EIGHTEENTH. And out of everybody who has played the game, only 47 people have gotten all twelve Achievements.

I don't mean to toot my own horn about it, it's just that it was such a gaming accomplishment for me, that I can't help but feel proud. It all goes back to what Tristero said about Mega Man 9: it's about persistence. And when you set such impossibly difficult goals and actually achieve them, there is no more satisfying feeling in the world.
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About Darren Nakamuraone of us since 2:29 AM on 11.06.2006

Darren is a scientist during the day. He has been a Destructoid community member since 2006, joining the front page as a contributor in 2011.

While he enjoys shooters, RPGs, platformers, strategy, and rhythm games, he takes particular interest in independent games. He produced the Zero Cool Podcast for about four years, and he plays board games quite a bit when he can find willing companions.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Darren Nakamura knows several people in the video game industry, most of whom are Destructoid alumni. These include:

Anthony Burch, former writer for Gearbox Software
Ashly Burch, notable voice actor
Nick Chester, publicist for Harmonix Music Systems
Chad Concelmo, writer for Golin Harris
Aaron Linde, writer for Gearbox Software
Jayson Napolitano, publicist for Scarlet Moon Productions
Brad Nicholson, former publicist for Uber Entertainment
Alex Ryan, publicist for Kalypso Media
Jim Sterling, notable voice actor

Darren backs a lot of Kickstarter campaigns! If you want to see what he has backed, you can go here. If he ever reviews a game that he backed, that will be explicitly disclosed in the review.

Darren invested in Psychonauts 2 on Fig.
Xbox LIVE:Dexter345
PSN ID:Dexter345
Steam ID:http://steamcommunity.com/profil
Mii code:1257 7687 3747 6405


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