There’s nothing a love more for a Saturday than giving you all the good word on a particular oddity joining the Arcade Archives range — And this week’s entry sees “oddity” doing some heavy lifting, as Hamster unleashes Bandai Namco’s Transcendent Lovers Bella Bowman onto PS4 and Switch.
Released to the Japanese coin-op market in 1986, Transcendent Lovers Bella Bowman, (also known by the far less interesting name of Bravoman), is a simplistic side-scrolling actioner in the vein of the tokusatsu genre, as a mild-mannered salaryman dons the costume of a powerful superhero in order to stop the machinations of the evil Dr. Bakutu, (Dr. Bomb). Utilizing his telescopic limbs, Bella Bowman battles an army of minions across 33 stages, gathering powerups, defeating bosses, and receiving occasional assistance from his super-heroic friend, Lottery Man.
Check out the very sill action in the video below, courtesy of YouTuber World of Longplays.
On release, Transcendent Lovers Bella Bowman was highly praised for its colorful and satirical visuals, cute animation, as well as its fun score, and use of pressure-sensitive buttons, (which frequently broke). Today, however, it’s frankly pretty terrible, although there is no denying the absolute charm with which it depicts the tokusatsu aesthetic.
While frustratingly difficult and not a whole lot of fun, it’s still pleasing that this rarity is now finally available in the Arcade Archive catalog, as it represents not only a window into gaming culture, but also one of Japanese pop culture. As such, it retains a level of intrinsic value in spite of its gameplay shortcomings.
Transcendent Lovers Bella Bowman is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.