Friday 27 August 2021

Bimini Run (Sega Mega Drive / Genesis review)

Developer: Microsmiths
Publisher: Nuvision Entertainment
Released: 1991

Bimini Run is a third-person shoot-em-up that was released exclusively in North America.

Across six missions your task is to rescue your twin sister from the clutches of the evil Dr. Orca. Alongside your gun (which can fire high or low in terms of trajectory) is a bazooka that helps to eliminate enemy boats, helicopters and bases. Your rapid-fire gun makes you feel super powerful thanks to its ability to spray liberally and the homing ability is very useful for taking out pesky helicopters. In fact, there's a real rhythmic quality to the gameplay as you approach an island, blast down a chopper, dodge and fire at an enemy boat and then charge up to destroy a guard tower. It's very satisfying once you successfully complete a run, with the final parts doing a great job of making you feel like you're entering perilous territory with the influx of artillery fire. What's not so good are the mission objectives, as there's only six of them (meaning replayability is extremely low) and a couple can be beaten extremely quickly. Then there's the boring stages where you need to trail characters without letting them get too far ahead; Mission 5 is the worst of the bunch, as it overstays its welcome with its wave-shooter style objective that's not engaging in the slightest. The missions that are more in-depth with several objectives are more enjoyable, but the targets are usually so spread out that you'll be travelling long distances to actually achieve anything. There are some cool day/night and weather effects though and I like how you need to wait for lightning to strike in Mission 4 before you can fully see enemy towers. The graphics are a mixed bag, as while the water effects look competent the character designs are amateurish.

Bimini Run is absolutely worth a play-through and its solid core mechanics and combat make for some unique and appealing gameplay. What holds it back are the bland and uninspired objectives as when you're not tackling dull pursuit missions you're traversing through barren landscapes in search of the next faraway destination.

Random trivia: Microsmiths also developed Jack Nicklaus' Power Challenge Golf (1993, Sega Genesis / Mega Drive).

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