What a bizarre game! When the random generator gave me the name Bomb Boat, I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into. I think part of me assumed it must be some kind of warship simulator, like an Ace Combat for boats. I certainly didn’t expect a bizarre Pac-Man knockoff released on the ORIGINAL PLAYSTATION in 2002!

I would love to be able to talk to the developers of this game and just know what went into making this. What compelled them to make this game in the first place? I’m sure it’d be fascinating.

2/18 – Bomb Boat

Hello and welcome. My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s video game of the day.

Today’s game is Bomb Boat, originally released in 2002 on the Sony Playstation. Bomb Boat was developed by Success and published by Hamster Software. It was only ever released in Japan but due to the gameplay, it is quite simple to play even without an understanding of Japanese.

While western audiences have likely never played Bomb Boat, the gameplay may sound very familiar. Players take the role of a round, yellow character who must travel through a maze to eat all of the fruits on the ground while they are being chased by four ghosts.

Despite the obvious similarities to the arcade classic, Pac-Man, there are a few differences. The mazes are made up of solid tiles and bridges. Players can drop bombs throughout the maze. These bombs can be used to stun ghosts but can also be used to destroy bridges and sink ghosts. While the ghosts and bridges do respawn after a short period of time, the player is rewarded with power-ups when they sink a ghost. Mazes also contain one-time use boats that will shuttle a character in a straight line until they hit another part of the maze. These boats can be used to get a player out of a tight spot but can only be used once.

Bomb Boat has only one mode allowing players to play through the levels in order or use stage select to start a later point. There are no unique settings or play modes apart from the standard game. Bomb Boat does have a 2 player mode but I was not able to confirm how this plays.

Bomb Boat was never localized for western audiences and it’s not hard to see why. Not only is it a fairly blatant rip off of Pac-Man but it also was released on the Playstation in 2002, two years after the release of the Playstation 2 in the west. Plus, it was a budget-release in Japan and likely wasn’t worth the effort to localize, even with the limited text. The few reviews I could find for the game have confirmed that it isn’t terrible but is fairly mediocre, especially for the time. It’s hard to say how popular it was in Japan but it did see a re-release on the Playstation Network in 2011 and is currently playable on the PS3, PSP and PS Vita. While it is not localized, it is available for purchase from western storefronts.

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