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Cheat Code

Swinging through the thermonuclear future with Bionic Commando

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Published 6/24/2009

People can be so damn ungrateful. You'd think that if you defeat Nazi imperialists, save the world from Armageddon, and re-kill a resurrected Adolf Hitler, you'd never have to buy a drink anywhere you go ever again. Apparently though, in the "what have you done for us lately" world of Bionic Commando, its main character Nathan "Radd" Spencer did everything listed above and got dishonorably discharged from the military, his bionic arm yanked off, and a free trip to death row. Awesome.

One disaster, though, ain't enough. This time, a nuclear weapon detonates in Ascension City and a terrorist group claims responsibility. The military has no answers. So, running out of leads, they, of course, turn to the disgraced Spencer to bail them out — one more time.

Bionic Commando begins with Spencer getting freed from death row, and dropped into the heart of Ascension City, where he must locate his old bionic arm, and then discover how and why the city is now a smoldering wasteland. Once Spencer locates his lost limb, the fun begins.

The designers apparently designed the entire game around the use of the arm — you can extend it like a grappling hook to arches, overhangs, even airborne mines, and swing throughout the city like Spider-man. The enhanced appendage also has offensive capabilities. (It's a good thing Spencer's arm is so sweet, because, dear god, his other weapons suck.)

The events in Bionic Commando move briskly — surprising given the size of Ascension City; it's so large, it seems perfect for exploring. Instead, massive amounts of radiation keep you from heading off course. (Why is only part of the leveled city irradiated?) Also, swimming's out of the question because the bionic arm is so heavy; it's also endlessly frustrating to drown when you fall into water that only appears to be several feet deep.

In all, Bionic Commando is a mixed bag. The game's enjoyable, but too many missteps keep it from being absolutely kick-ass. In fact, if not for the sheer awesomeness of Spencer's bionic arm, this game would've failed. For that, we salute you, Spencer!

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