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Bionic Commando is a 2009 adventure-platform video game, part of the Bionic Commando series. The game was developed and published by Capcom in collaboration with Swedish developer GRIN and produced by Ben Judd. The game is a sequel to the 1988 NES version of Bionic Commando and its remake Bionic Commando Rearmed. The game runs on Grin's own 'Diesel' engine. The console versions were released in North America on May 19 and in all PAL territories on May 22, 2009, and the PC release shortly thereafter.

GameplayEdit

Bionic Commando is an action-adventure game, in which the player controls player-character Nathan Spencer. The game uses several mechanics (primarily radiation) which act as barriers. These barriers are used to prevent players from straying too far away from objectives giving levels a linear feel. Nathan Spencer is able to target enemies while hanging, climbing a building or even in mid-swing, while using an implement called the Bionic Arm which can also be used to attack enemies at close range. The bionic arm can be used to grab and launch objects such as boulders and cars at enemies.[4] In addition, he is equipped with boots that enable him to kick said objects at enemies. These boots are also the reason Spencer does not take damage from extremely long falls.

MultiplayerEdit

Online multiplayer matches support up to 10 players featuring classic multiplayer staples such as deathmatch and capture the flag[5][6]. Although some abilities available in the single-player campaign are disabled in multiplayer, the bionic arm is still usable online as a grapple hook. It can be used to swing and zip line, even into enemies. Several weapons can be used in the game, including a handgun as default weapon, a shotgun, a sniper rifle, a heavy machine gun and a grenade launcher.

PlotEdit

The events of the game take place ten years after the NES installment.[8] According to Capcom's press release, this iteration follows Nathan "RAD" Spencer (voiced by Mike Patton, Faith No More lead singer),[9], and a government operative working in the fictional Ascension City and an Operative named Joeseph Gibson ("Super Joe") for the Tactical Arms and Security Committee (or T.A.S.C) which specializes in training bionic commandos like Spencer. After he is betrayed by his own government and falsely imprisoned, the Great Bionic Purge begins. Before his execution, an experimental weapon detonates in Ascension City, unleashing an earthquake along with a radioactive shock wave that leaves the city destroyed and wiping out its populace, with the threat of an invasion from a terrorist force known as the "BioReign".[4] Spencer is now freed to redeem his name along with the T.A.S.C's and is reunited with the bionic arm of which he was stripped.[10]

Super Joe (voiced by Steven Blum.[11] ), the protagonist of Commando and a supporting character in the original NES version of Bionic Commando, appears as well.[12] Super Joe is now identified as Joseph Gibson, the Player 1 character from the arcade game Mercs. In the new Bionic Commando, Gibson is the former lead director of the T.A.S.C, who assists Spencer to clear his name and in turn help bionics become legal again.

Although the story of the video game begins with Spencer being released from prison, it's important to note what got him in prison to begin with. At least 2 years before the events of this game on a routine mission (Spencer was incarcerated for 20 months before Super Joe approached him for this latest mission), Spencer and his bionic partner Sgt. Jayne Magdalene (now a lieutenant with Bio-Reign) failed to eliminate two targets, rogue Bionics, which had allegedly murdered a handful of people which caused a public outcry for the banning of bionics. In fact, Spencer resolved to help the two bionics' escape when he and his partner discovered that the FSA were now actively rounding up and "forcibly rehabilitating" bionics (those unwilling to be rehabilited were allegedly "liquidated"); something that both Spencer and Magdalene were themsevles. Soon after the two rogue bionics and a wounded Sgt. Magdalene escaped, Spencer was detained by the FSA and sentenced to prison and death for his treason. Starting again at the present, Joseph Gibson releases Spencer on the condition that he assist the FSA against the threat to Ascension City, a Pro-Bionics terrorist group known simply as "Bio-Reign". When given this ultimatum in exchange for his freedom, Spencer initially turns it down, but Super Joe tells him he has knowledge of Spencer's missing wife. As Spencer progresses through Ascension City, he finds that there is yet another mass weapon that is being sought after by the terrorists. Spencer is ordered to retrieve the item before the Bio-Reign terrorists can. After finally gaining access to the item, he is betrayed by Joe who reveals himself as the leader of Bio-Reign. Joe has also enlisted the help of Gottfried Groeder, a character introduced in Rearmed.

Joe then reveals that Spencer's wife never left, and alludes to the concept that she is actually part of Spencer's bionic arm (this much needs to be intuited from the conversations/dialogue between both characters). According to Super Joe, in order for bionics to work "perfectly", they need to be able to sync with their host on an emotional level and physical level. In this case, Spencer's wife would be the perfect candidate. After this revelation, Spencer hastens his pursuit after Joe who has activated Project Vulture by the time Spencer reaches him. It's at this point that Spencer's former partner, Magdalene tries to stall Super Joe, now in a Bio-Mech suit, but she is killed while Spencer is forced to helplessly watch. Spencer finally breaks free, and heads after Joe. In a fierce mid-air battle, Spencer kills Joe and ultimately stops Project Vulture. Spencer falls back to the ground, falling into the hole of The Vault from which he, Joe and the vultures had ascended from earlier, ending the game. An epilogue scene following the game's credits displayed a brief conversation in Morse code between the sniper (Thomas Clarke) who'd been following Spencer, and an unknown party. The first coded message, which is decrypted for the audience, reports that the Vault had been occupied and the Vulture Sentry System had been "disabled" before requesting further instructions. While the coded reply was not decrypted from Morse code for the audience (encrypted message is in German once decrypted), it apparently reveals the following declaration in response: "Execution of Phase Two Prepared. Activate Project Albatross."

DevelopmentEdit

A comic book tie-in was written by Andy Diggle, with Colin Wilson providing the art.[14][15] In the weeks leading up to the title's release, every Wednesday a new page was posted on the game's website. These single pages were collected in a thirty-five page comic, which was offered as a bonus for pre-ordering the title. After the game's release, a monthly comic was published by Devil's Due Publishing. Heather Mills was approached to help work on the game due to her work with amputees, but could not reach a compensation agreement with the developers.[16] Players can also use a code found in Bionic Commando: Rearmed to unlock a skin of "RAD" Spencer from the original game with short red hair, green blazer and converse like shoes. A similar unlock, the 'Prototype Weapon,' was also available via BCR.

ReceptionEdit

Bionic Commando has received mixed reviews with impressions ranging from very positive to average. Giant Bomb gave it 4 stars saying you'll either really love it or end up hating it. IGN gave it an 8.0 praising the visuals, and unpredictable storyline. GameTrailers gave it 7.7. Game Informer gave Bionic Commando a 6.25/10 in its June 2009 issue. X-Play gave it a 3/5. Gamespot gave it 6 out of 10, saying "Bionic Commando has some enjoyable moments, but consistent fun always seems just out of arm's reach". The plot twist drew criticism and mockery from Gamesradar and Zero Punctuation.

Bionic Commando was released on May 19, 2009, and sold 27,000 units, in the U.S., during its first month. In comparison, Terminator Salvation, which received worse reviews from critics, sold 43,000 units in the same length of time. VideoGamer.com's James Orry notes that the game "could end up being Capcom's first major flop in the high definition era.

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