When most gamers think of the TurboGrafx, they think of arcade shooters and they think of Bonk. Much like Mario on the NES and Sonic on the Genesis, Bonk became the de facto mascot for the system.
Bonk’s Adventure wasn’t completed in time for the TurboGrafx’ North American launch, but as soon as it was ready for sale it should have replaced the horribly mediocre Keith Courage in Alpha Zones as the console’s pack-in game. By the time it was being offered for free with a system purchase, it was too late for NEC here in the States. Still, I doubt that many people had a TurboGrafx and didn’t have the first Bonk.
As with Sonic The Hedgehog on the Genesis, it would be easy to dismiss Bonk’s Adventure as a Super Mario Bros. clone, but that would be an act of ignorance. Far be it from me to say anything negative about the Super Mario series, but Bonk’s Adventure just brings more to the table once you get the nostalgia factor out of the way. A wider variety of enemies and environments, and graphics that I would argue rival the rather plain-jane visuals of Super Mario World on the SNES.
Instead of simply jumping on enemies to kill them, you could either head-butt them (for half-damage) or jump in the air, flip around, and deliver a crushing blow by landing on them head-first. It may seem like a minor difference, but it actually makes the gameplay more varied.
Something else that makes this game different from most platformers is that when you die, you respawn without interruption instead of restarting the level or starting again at some checkpoint. This has the biggest impact on boss battles, as you will respawn on the spot so that the boss retains whatever damage he already suffered.
The game isn’t perfect, though. There are defintely times where I felt as though the controls were sluggish, and sometimes the collision detection is a bit suspect. These are minor grievances though, and take little away from the overall enjoyment of the game.
Ultimately, this game is both cheap and great, and no Turbo library is complete without it.