Bonk’s Adventure (TG-16)

Bonk's Adventure Box Art

Bonk’s Adventure

System: TG-16

Release Date: April 1990

Developer: Red Company/Atlus

Publisher: NEC

Genre: Platformer

Hudson Soft’s top guy makes his TurboGrafx-16 debut in Bonk’s Adventure! It’s 10,000 B.C. and Bonk the Caveman has a task. Defeat the Evil King Drool and save the kidnapped Dragon Princess, Za. Travel through five levels of countless areas jumping, headbutting, and eating to save the day.

Bonk’s main weapon is his head. While you’re running, pressing Button II will throw Bonk’s rock head forward, injuring or killing any enemy in his way. Bonk also has some killer leg muscles and can jump much higher than your average caveman with Button I. While you’re in mid air, you can press Button II to spin Bonk around for a diving headbutt. This is a more powerful attack than the standing kind. If you decide that a diving headbutt won’t help you, pressing Button II again will spin you back to landing on your feet. Rapidly switching from the headbutt to your feet will keep you airborne for longer. Headbutting from underneath is also a useful attack, allowing you to juggle dead enemies for more points.

Sooner or later, you’re going to lose some health and it can be regained by collecting hearts that occasionally appear around the level and after killing enemies. Enemies will also drop smiley faces, which grant a bonus and refill your health after killing the level’s boss. Small meat drops power you up, giving your headbutt greater damage. A second small meat or a big one will power you up even more and grant you temporary invincibility. With this active, you can run through enemies knocking them away with ease. While powered up, Bonk can headbutt the ground and turn enemies to stone.

Levels are exercises in platforming. Bonk has to jump platforms while avoiding enemy attacks. There are ground hazards which can hurt you or slow you down. Most enemies are pretty straightforward, but others, like the flying frogs just want you to die. Sometimes Bonk has to climb up walls by rapidly pressing Button I. This is especially the case on the vertical levels, as there isn’t a yellow springing flower everywhere you want to go. Other pink flowers typically hold an item, but can also hold an enemy inside. Underwater areas force Bonk to swim and be a bit more imprecise with his movements. Headbutts still work while submerged, but I took a lot more hits trying to line up my own shots.

Bosses appear at the end of each level and they’re easy. The first boss just took me juggling diving headbutts quickly until he fell. Each boss follows a pattern and once you learn which of the attacks is most effective, it’s only a matter of time. The penultimate area puts you in a boss rush before you rescue the princess. It’s just another test of surviving a gauntlet of attacks and dealing damage. The final boss isn’t really much of a challenge as you’re likely to have plenty of lives.

Graphics: 3.5

Sprite’s look great. There are plenty of colors. No flickering or slowdown are present.

Sound: 3.0

Music and sound effects are pleasant if not anything that will stick in your head forever.

Gameplay: 3.5

Bonk controls smoothly, there are enough attacks and moves to keep you engaged.

Difficulty: 3.0

I felt this was an easy platformer and other than two heart containers, there was no growth in ability.

Fun Factor: 4.0

This is a very fun game. I was engaged and engrossed through the entire playthrough.

Overall Grade: 3.4

Bonk’s Adventure earns a B+. This is a great game and I highly recommend you play it if you haven’t.

Bonk’s Adventure Video Review on YouTube