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Bonk is back! After the fall of the TurboGrafx-16 console Hudson Soft and NEC decided to bring their mascot character, Bonk the caveman, to the Super NES in 1994. Super Bonk brought to the series something that previous sequels lacked: innovation. The size-changing magic candy from Bonk's Big Adventure returns, although this time the candy actually helps Bonk solve level-based puzzles and mazes instead of just being a novelty items as it was in the last Bonk game. Add in some new transformations brought on by meat, bright colors, and fun tunes and Super Bonk delivers the gold.

The game opens as the evil King Drool springs a trap on our beloved caveman. The evil king ensnares Bonk and, with the aid of a time machine, sends him to the future to a time when the forests and valleys are no longer covered with trees, but with cities and modern industry. Bonk vows to track down King Drool and return to the past.

Bonk brings his trademark move, the headbutt, to this new game, but he also brings along some new tricks. In the past Bonk's meat-induced transformations simply turned him into a bad-ass caveman, but this time around the meat causes Bonk to become a dragon, a chicken, and other animal-based creatures. By using the unique power of each form Bonk can bash the baddies and progress through levels. Taking a hit, however, blasts Bonk back to his normal form. Meats and be mixed with the magic candy to provide giant and little Bonk-beasts. There are certain places in the game called "Rage Rooms" that require Bonk to shout, causing the bellow to echo around the room in the form of the word "RAGE!". Bonk can jump on top of the flying words and ride them to new places. Note that because of the way the game handles sprites turned in opposing directions, the "RAGE!" shout appears as "!EGAR" when it richochets off a surface.

The game has five acts that are each split into multiple rooms. The goal of each room is to simply move on to the next room and, eventually, to the boss of the act. Most rooms are straight forward platformer levels, but some contain maze-based puzzles that require size changing, hidden platforms, and man-eating animals. Along the way Bonk can gather fruit and hearts to refill his life meter, and smiley faces add to the score at the end of a level. There are also a series of small orange flowers that whisk Bonk away to a bonus stage where he can gather these goodies. The bonus flower is not new (it originated in the first game in the series, Bonk's Adventure), but in this sequel the little flowers are everywhere. If you really wanted to you could spend more time playing the bonus rounds than the actual game.

Super Bonk's graphics outshine the TG16 prequels and make good use of the Super NES's color palatte and effects. Bonk's sprite zooms and shrinks with no delay or jaggedness, and every character in the game has humorous animations and expressions. Snippets of voice can be heard whenever Bonk bonks a baddie in the form of a little scream, but there are no spoken sound clips to be heard.

Bonk's first foray onto the Super NES is a load of fun and fixes the flaws and stagnantness of the previous games. The game was a minor success and spawned a Japanese-only sequel, Super Bonk 2 as well as counterpart releases on the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy. If you're looking for the game today I advise searching the used game shops and online auctions. Failing that, the ROM is emulatable if you can track it down. Boogaloo!

Playing the game

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