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Bimini Run

Genre: Action Developer: Microsmiths Inc Publisher: NuVision Ent. Players: 1 Released: 1990

One of the biggest problems facing the Genesis when it launched was the lack of third party support. Sega rallied as many companies as it could, but most were under the fascist licensing contracts that Nintendo demanded in order to make games for the NES. However, things eventually began to change, and little by little more and more companies came on board the 16-bit revolution. Soon, a total of seventeen licensees were making games for the Genesis, including such well-known names as Electronic Arts, Activision, Renovation, and Nuvision Entertainment.

Wait… what? Who the hell is Nuvision?

When one takes a closer look at the Sega poster boasting about its licensees, it’s there, bright as day. Nuvision was one of the pioneering companies slated to release games for the Genesis, but only one title ever made it to retail shelves (another, Swamp Thing, was announced but never came out). Of all the software houses proudly announced on that poster, only a few disappeared after releasing only a single title, and among the early dropouts was Nuvision Entertainment. It’s only contribution to the Genesis was a game called Bimini Run.

A hybrid between an action game and a shooter, Bimini Run tells the story of two heroes, Kenji Ohara and Luka, who are hot on the trail of one Dr. Orca, who has kidnapped Kenji’s sister, Kim. Orca is taking Kim to his secret hideout, where he plans to use his Behavioral Altering Module (B.A.M.) to conquer the world. Yes, the plot is as original as the names of those involved, but as with most video game storylines, it’s completely unimportant. All that is needed to know about Bimini Run is that the two heroes race around the ocean in a cigarette boat, a la Miami Vice, destroying other boats and helicopters.

Kenji is in contact with headquarters, and players will have to get used to hearing “Kenji, come in!” every so often. As he and Luka race through the sea to stop Dr. Orca and rescue Kim, they’ll have to contend with Orca’s henchmen, as well as a slew of natural obstacles, like reefs, sandbars, and buoys. There are civilian boats in the area too, and crashing into them is instantly fatal. The object of each level is to destroy a specific amount of radio towers or to stay as close to a specific enemy as possible, and he’ll escape if he gets too far away. Letting him get ahead means his henchmen will have time to batter Kenji and Luka, and catching up to Orca will then consume precious fuel. Run out of fuel, and it’s all over.

Thankfully, the duo’s speedboat is very quick, and it comes equipped with some decent armament. Players can shoot a long range weapon at other boats or aim it high at helicopters, and they have a short range gun for closer enemies. Additionally, there’s a bazooka for taking out land-based structures, such as radio towers. Controlling the boat and its weapons is simple, and the obstacles in the water pose a much greater danger than any of the AI enemy boats.

During each mission, players will also be tasked with completing certain objectives, such as capturing a specific boat or destroying those darn towers. Later, players will have to follow a mermaid through monster-infested waters in order to reach the Bimini Zone, where Dr. Orca has hidden his master weapon. Pressing start brings up the dashboard, which contains information about remaining lives and fuel, and tapping the D-pad to the right will bring up two maps – one for the immediate area and one for the whole stage. This allows players to navigate as quickly as possible to each objective. I would have preferred some kind of onscreen guide or compass, at least, since constantly having to hit start was a pain sometimes, but I guess it works well enough.

Perhaps the only real problem with Bimini Run is that players are essentially doing the same thing in each of the six chapters. Yes, that’s right, the game has a grand total of six stages. This lack of length is compounded by the fact that all one really does in each one is catch up to a boat before it gets away or destroy radio towers. Stage four, for example, has a dozen towers to destroy, and doing this is quite challenging. The missions are repetitive and tedious, and the whole game just seems like a good idea that was the victim of some lazy developers. I almost want to see this concept brought back on a modern console, so that true justice to it can be done. As it is, Bimini Run is a short run indeed.

I don’t see any real reason to run out and find a copy of Bimini Run, since most players will probably grow bored before they finish it. Then again, the game is so darn short that they might actually beat it first. If a cheap copy manages to turn up somewhere, I’d say it’s worth putting down a few bucks for, just to see an idea that really had some cool potential. Otherwise, keep the radio off when headquarters comes calling. The mission isn’t really worth the time.

SCORE: 5 out of 10

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