It’s difficult to choose the best PlayStation 1 (PS1) game of all time. Titles like Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, and Resident Evil 2 almost always dominate players’ lists. However, the console had an incredible amount of hidden gems (I’ll talk about Tombi 2 one day) that are often overlooked. And Silent Bomber is one of them.
Silent Bomber: a silent discovery
I first heard of the game around 2000 or so. The Silent Bomber demo was included on one of those PlayStation UK demo discs. I sat down on a Friday* evening, popped in the disc and perused through everything on it. When it came to Silent Bomber, I was hooked. The next few nights were dominated by me playing the demo over and over again, trying to beat my score and see if there was more of the game to explore.
Like most PS1 games in South Africa, I had a modded console. Yup, I (a high school kid that maybe received R50 every second month for pocket money) was part of the piracy scene. Thankfully, the guy I’d buy those Verbatim discs from received a copy and I snatched it up. For some reason, my dad picked up my purchase on the way home from work – I do remember being incredibly bratty and making the poor man pick up the game after a very long day.
It was so damn good
Silent Bomber was an engrossing and gorgeous game and everything I hoped it would be. It was different from most of the other titles I played at the time. Instead of shooting zombies or escaping a town or listening to speeches about nanomachines, you simply blew things up. It’s an arcade-type game where protagonist Jutah would attach bombs to mechanical enemies and explode them. His attacks varied from placing explosives on the ground, to throwing them from a distance, and a few elemental-based assaults. All the while dodging a barrage of projectiles and enemies.
The game was also gorgeous – sporting old-school polygonal graphics – and it had satisfying sounds. Basically, it’s fun as hell. However, it became hard as nails and I never managed to finish it as the final boss felt like having teeth pulled.
It was also developed by CyberConnect, the studio behind almost everything .hack and a good chunk of Naruto titles.
Another negative about the game was the story, or at least its execution. It’s simple enough and consisted of an anime-esque plot: Jutah is a genetically engineered soldier that, along with a band of other criminals and military-types, have to take down an enemy ship named Dante. The entire game takes places abroad Dante and the events untold through in-game radio chatter and story sequences.
I miss the game
And even with all of the praise I can sing for Silent Bomber (along with a few negatives), no one I knew had ever heard of the game. Sure, you’ll find reviews and some forum posts, but do you actually know someone in person that has played the game? Probably not. It mostly flew under the radar and is a real shame.
While it was released in Japan, America and Europe, Silent Bomber only ever received a digital release on the Japanese PSN store. I’d love to replay it again and tell you to replay it right now, but you’re gonna need to hop onto eBay for a copy. Thankfully, it’s only around the R250, or US$18 mark. One day, I’ll pick up the PAL version again.
If you’re a fan of PS1 games and arcade titles, pick up Silent Bomber. You’ll be in a for a treat.
*in truth I can’t remember what day of the week it was, but a Friday sounded like the best choice for this article.