Bonk’s Adventure / Bonk’s Revenge / Bonk 3: Bonk’s Big Adventure

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Bonk’s Adventure cover art

Where and when did you first play this game?

When I purchased and played Bonk’s Adventure in 1990, originally I would have compared the game with Super Mario Bros on NES.  Bonk’s Adventure, when it was released in the US in 1990, was a little more advanced then the original Super Mario Bros, released years earlier.  The game was developed by Hudson Soft, who did many of the TG-16 games, with various amount of success, and the character quickly became a mascot for the TG-16, appearing in advertisements, commercials, and later being packaged with new game consoles.  Bonk’s Revenge (Bonk 2) was released in 1991 and Bonk 3 in 1993.

How many times have you played this game? Have you replayed the game since you first played it?

I still find Bonk’s Adventure extremely painful to play even after all these years, especially when you compare Bonk’s Adventure against the later two games.  This isn’t to saying the first game is bad, just by the time you get to the second and third games, clearly Hudson had their mojo going with the game designs.  In the same Super Mario Bros is much simpler than Mario 2 or Mario 3.

Bonk’s Adventure, Bonk’s Revenge and Bonk 3: Bonk’s Big Adventure are all recent games I’ve been enjoying playing on the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console and MagicEngine for Mac.

What is it about this game that you loved?

Each Bonk game presented you with something different, and the games became more advanced as the years and sequels wore on.  I particularly liked the colorful graphics and the fact you used you’re head as the weapon.  The games do lack in certain areas, for example, Bonk isn’t really in a hurry to get any—where.  You literally walk everywhere in this game, and this really does create a slow moving game.   In Mario or Sonic, you can run or walk, but Bonk doesn’t vary his speed in the games by very much.  In the later games you get a change to speed things up a little, but overall, Bonk is a slow moving chap.

In Bonk 3:  Bonk’s Big Adventure you’re introduced to the red and blue candy.  The red candy makes you bigger (as in Bonk’s Big Adventure) and blue makes you smaller or tiny/micro Bonk.  You’re able to get into small spaces or just bonk people with your super-sized head.  It also acts as a buffer for dying because you are simply changed back when something happens to you.

The games are large in many cases with an upper and lower levels, bonus levels, interesting and colorful boss and characters to fight.  Bonk’s Adventure was very linear moving left to right, while game two mixes it up with a left to right, top to bottom, and some options in game three.

The bonus levels were introduced in Bonk’s Revenge by little flowers with smiley faces that when you picked them up, you were transported to a bonus stage to try for points or extra lives.

What is the best (or worst) moment in this game? Or what about this game made it memorable?

As Bonk you’re moving from left to right, picking up smiley faces (for bonus), picking up fruit (for points) and eating meat (for strength and crazy leveling up) kinda like Mario Bros in it’s approach.  Bonk is working to rescue Princess Za from King Drool who has kidnapped her and taking up on in Moonland.  All three games having the same general theme with Bonk moving through the stage to defeat a boss character at the end of the level, then moving on to the next stage to ultimately defeat King Drool.

Bonk's Revenge (U)

Bonk’s Revenge cover art

By the time Bonk’s Revenge (Bonk 2) rolled around, the game designers had started putting Bonk into more modern settings with a pre-historic twist, for example a cruise ship or warship (I couldn’t determine which) with “eggheads” on the ship relaxing and hanging out.  There’s a little more variation in the level designs and characters who you come up against.  Bonus levels that were added in the later games, which gives you a reason to collect the smiley faces you would see throughout the game.  Again this was a nice touch and reminded me today of collecting Star Coins in later Mario Bros games.

Some of the characters got a little ridiculous in their difficulty.  There’s a flying purple people eater, and yes, I made that joke, but seriously, he could grab you from a distance and would drain your life bar very quickly, which was very annoying.  The jumping control (not to mentioned speed of spinning) of Bonk was originally pretty weak in Bonk’s Adventure, but that was resolved in the later games more or less.

Is there a special story about this game? Maybe an event in your life or some thing memorable you associate with this game?

Bonk 001

Bonk advertisement

As I’ve been playing the game over again, I do remember at the end of level 1, you climb along the back of a dinosaur wearing a kids beanie, which you bonk on the head and he opens his mouth so you can go inside him.  The next few screens are you inside the dinosaur making you way through his body to, what I can only assume, is the intestine where you have to break out to the outside.  You fall out what I assume again is his asshole!  I know?  The best part, which I didn’t remember is you have to break out of his asshole, is the blocks in the way are brown!  The hero of the game is literally smashing his head into the shit of the dinosaur.   Seems like it would have been easier to just go “around” him instead of through him?

The Bonk series covered a lot of time from when the original game was released, but I remember see one of the commercials for the TG-16 one Star Trek TNG  which was very cool, and it featured Bonk as the mascot for the system.

Bonk was a good series game which only got better in the later versions with new features like crazy, enlarged brain Bonk, who could breathe fire (?), giant and mini Bonks, etc.   If you have the chance to play these games on the Nintendo Wii, I suggest you get a copy and try them for yourself.

Links:

Bonk Commercial

Bonk’s Adventure (long play)

Bonk’s Revenge (speedrun)

Bonk 3: Bonk’s Big Adventure

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