Sequels made over 15 years later are notoriously awkward. The Phantom Menace, Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Plastic-Wrap Aliens, and more recently Tron: Legacy have tainted that which we held dear all those years ago.
Bionic Commando is a great little game, well worth the 7/10 score it received in Eurogamer, but as discussed at length in both Face-Off Round 20 and this more in-depth Digital Foundry article the console versions are something of a mixed bag technically, with varying graphical effects and uneven performance on each platform.
Having spent the day playing the first half of Bionic Commando, so soon after falling in love with Street Fighter IV, it's tempting to accuse Capcom of finally getting its act together with remakes. This hasn't always gone well for the Japanese company (Final Fight: Streetwise, anyone? No? Correct), but thanks to the persistence of devoted fanboys within, like SFIV producer Yoshinori Ono and Bionic Commando's affable Ben Judd, the company's on the verge of hitting a rich vein of form. It also helps that in both of the above cases, the big old boxed games have been preceded by excellent downloadable versions strictly mentored by the original source material.
Now that Bionic Commando Rearmed has finally made it onto our Internet (complete with special Eurogamer Challenge Room - did we mention?), it's time to turn our attention once again to Capcom's more expansive, thematically bleaker 3D re-imagining of the series. Developed in Sweden by GRIN with occasional input from some of Capcom's most seasoned hands, Bionic Commando is a cross between acrobatic platformer and third-person shooter, bringing a twenty-year-old, inspired idea into the modern era.
Bionic Commando creeps up on you. It has sprawling cities - decapitated by terrorism and disaster, teetering and grinding their way into dust and disarray as you pass across their rumpled asphalt and negotiate accumulated debris - that grumble and mourn their fate quietly in sunlight cooled by their desertion, weeping in bilious dust-waves that crash against the camera.
Twenty years. That's an awful long time for a videogame series to lie dormant. Since it appeared in arcades in 1987, and in fuller form on the NES in 1988, Capcom has resolutely ignored its arcade platformer (besides allowing Nintendo to make a Game Boy Color version of sorts, called Elite Forces, in '99).
It ended with a bang. At the first Capcom Gamers' Day to be held in Europe - our own fair capital of London, to be precise - it looked for ten excruciating seconds like the big reveal of an extremely lengthy press conference really was going to be the announcement of a PS3 version of Lost Planet. But we should have known better.