Name: Bimini Run
Region Reviewed: NTSC
Year of Release: 1990
Let me take you back to 1990, when the Soviet Union was still hanging, Sonic had great games, Germany was kicking Argentina’s arse in the world cup final and the 16 bit war was raging on. Way back then, there was a software company called Nuvision, at this point you are probably thinking “but I never heard of such a company, you lousy liar”, and that’s because Nuvision only released one game for the Genesis/Mega Drive (they released “Swamp Thing” – yeah, the DC character- for the NES too but that’s a different story) before disappearing into darkness; and that was Bimini Run.
If you have never played Bimini Run or heard of it, think of Out Run in the water, add some choppers, replace the fit blond girl for a bloke, replace the car for a motorboat, arm it, and you have the picture. The story of the game is nothing a writer would take credit for, let alone boast about. The main characters of the game are Kenji Ohara and his friend (I suppose he is his friend, otherwise why would anyone risk his life being shot at and racing a boat at a thousand miles per hour to rescue a girl?) Luka. They are after some guy that goes by the name of “Orca”.
Can you imagine the bloke who actually signed the birth certificate of sweet baby Orca? I bet he was bribed or something, I mean, the poor thing was named after a killing whale for God’s sake, no wonder why he grew up to be a sociopath! Anyways, Orca kidnapped Kenji’s sister Kim and he is taking her to a secret hideout where he also has a secret weapon stored which he is planning to use to, of course, CONQUER THE WORLD MUAHAHAHAHAHAH. So to summarize the whole plot, two guys race around in a boat obliterating choppers, other boats, radio towers and almost every other solid thing that comes in their way; that includes white sharks and some sea monsters as well. But not only do these two brave men face thousands of Orca’s henchmen and the aforementioned monsters, but they also have to dribble round a whole lot of natural obstacles such as sandbars, reefs and so on.
Considering that the game was released in 1990, the graphics are impressive. The water effect, the way the boat seems to jump on the waves and the colours will really catch your eye. The whole scenery scales by smoothly.
This is a one-hit-you-are-done kind of game, so if you hit another boat, island, or if you get shot, that’s it for you, my friend, you have to try again, and even though you have at least 4 continues and three lives, the game is not easy, maybe not Nintendo hard, but it takes some time to get used to it, especially since the commands are a little odd. Normally, racing games have one button assigned to throttle, but in Bimini Run, you speed up the boat by pressing the up arrow on the D-Pad, something that strikes me as bizarre for a Genesis title. The remaining keys A, B and C shoot different kinds of weapons (although they all look the same); an anti-aircraft gun that helps you bring down the helicopters, a machine gun that will keep the henchmen’s boats at bay and kind of a long range missile that, despite being extremely slow, comes quite useful when shooting all the radio towers that you are supposed to blow up.
The start button brings up the boat’s dashboard which contains information about the fuel that you have, the amount of lives you still hold, and tow maps of the area that will allow you to navigate as quick as possible to your mission objective. However, the most important option that you will find in that menu is the button to turn the music off. I mean it. After probably 15 minutes of listening to the music you will start having strange thoughts, like people used to have when they were playing the first version of Pokemon Red in Palett Town according to the legend! The music is horrid, plus you will have a voice from mission control (constantly repeating “Kenji come in!!!”) pestering you all the time mostly with nonsense tips. The developers could have replaced the map for an onscreen guide of some sort, since you have to be looking at the darn map almost constantly, but hey, if EA didn’t’t do that with Desert, Jungle and Urban Strike, why would Nuvision’s programmers even bother?
So far I have mentioned “radio towers” quite a lot and that’s only because Bimini Run has tons of them. Apparently Orca was a real communication fiend and had some kind of obsession for these towers, I don’t know. The game is definitely too short, only six stages separate you from rescuing Kim and that’s probably because the developers didn’t know exactly what missions to include. During the different missions all you have to do is basically catch up to an escaping boat or –probably you‘ve guessed it by now- destroy the radio towers. The second mission of the game has 7 of them, and the fourth, for example, has a dozen. Bringing down the towers and catching the boats is challenging, don’t get me wrong, but doing the same thing over and over again is tedious and boring.
Another strange fact surrounding this game is that there is a book named “Bimini Run” by E. Howard Hunt, a former CIA agent, published in 1973. The book is supposed to represent the suspense-crime genre, but there is no clear indication that the programmers based the game on the book, especially since the book has nothing to do with the plot of the game whatsoever except for the fact that they both have ships and boats involved.
Verdict:- I will not mark this down based on the crappy quality of the music or the annoying digitalized voice that keeps piercing your ears during the whole game. The game was released in the era of the great TV series Miami Vice, and was probably trying to capture the flavour of it, which it does in a way.
The game is certainly not a classic, and could be much, much better if the developers had added a different variety of missions, maybe some extra boats to select, or even if they had made this game not so darn short.
I wouldn’t really encourage anyone to go and buy a copy of the game right away, but if you have some dough to spare, a cold beer and you see a cheap copy displayed somewhere, it is worth spending a few coins for it. After all, to my knowledge, this is the only Genesis/Megadrive title where you drive a boat throughout the whole game.
Second Opinion:- Someone make the music stop! Please it's hurting me!
Transbot no like this game, it's kinda like Roadblasters on water only worse in every single way and it makes my ears bleed which for a Robot is kinda hard. But this game manages it nicely.
The gameplay itself is fine and the graphics are kind of passable but everything from a sonic point of view ruins what little is positive to the point you want to hurt people..... Badly!
Transbot Scores:- 3 out of 10