#513 – Raid on Bungeling Bay

                               

                                                                    “Action Series”? Not on your life, Broderbund!

 

                                         

                                                                               The Broderbund logo, alive and well.

 

PLAYERS: 1-2 simultaneous

PUBLISHER: Hudson Soft

DEVELOPER: Broderbund (port by Hudson)

GENRE: Action/strategy

RELEASE DATE: September 1987

 

Raid on Bungeling Bay is a half-baked blend of action and strategy that doesn’t do either genre justice. Guide a helicopter across several islands to blow up six factories per level. The factories themselves don’t put up much of a fight, but the machines they’re creating do. Speedboats, defense turrets, jet fighters, and jet bombers are some of the weapons of mass destruction pouring out of the factories’ assembly lines. The more factories you destroy, the more enemies you’ll have to deal with. Each factory can be destroyed with about twelve bombs, give or take, but your helicopter can only hold nine at a time. Reconvene with your aircraft carrier to get re-supplied and patched up. The bottom of the screen will show an arrow that will direct you back to the carrier, along with the amount of damage your helicopter has taken, the number of bombs you’re carrying, and the number of factories remaining. Blowing up factories should be a straightforward task, but it isn’t. You also have to protect your aircraft carrier from jets and speedboats, constantly replenish your bombs and health, and find all of the factories without a map; the levels are certainly big enough to warrant one. What little action exists in Raid is slow-paced, thanks to the laborious strategic elements; apply the concept of grinding (a lot of work for little reward) to an action game – that’s Raid.

 

Poor attempt at genre-mixing notwithstanding, Raid‘s biggest hurdle is its finicky controls. Be ginger with the directional pads if you don’t want the helicopter flying at full speed. Since each factory is relatively close to the aircraft carrier from where you start, there’s never any need for the helicopter to fly quickly. Shooting down quickly moving targets, like jets, is also a nuisance. Bullets don’t exactly whiz out of the helicopter at lightning speed, and you can only fire one bullet a second (an eternity in-game). Raid definitely feels better suited for a joystick. No surprise, then, that the game was ported from the Commodore 64.

 

Raid on Bungeling Bay may have been a good fit for the computer, but it has little to offer in the NES library. The two-player option is interesting – one person controls the helicopter, the other controls the enemy bases – but not enough to sustain interest. Raid‘s slow, it’s clunky, and it seeks to do too much with too little. Its ambition is admirable, but ambition alone doesn’t make it worth playing.

 

D-

 

FUN FACT #1: “Bungeling” is a word derived from Broderbund’s line of villains, the Bungeling Empire. In Lode Runner, the adorable little green men that chase you are referred to as Bungelings and in Choplifter, the Bungelings are supposedly behind the dastardly kidnappings of the hostages. Thanks to GiantBomb.com for this info.

 

FUN FACT#2: Without Raid on Bungeling Bay, SimCity and all of its spin-offs would not have existed. Raid was developer Will Wright’s first ever game, and he was so entranced by the construction of the enemy bases, he felt that other people might want to construct buildings as well. So yeah, thank Raid on Bungeling Bay for all of those hours you spent building worlds in SimCity.

 

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