Retro Game of the Day! Bonk's Adventure
Bonk's Adventure by Red/Hudson/NEC/your mom for the TurboGrafx-16, released in 1990 as one of its flagship titles.
This little fella here was supposed to be the Turbo's answer to Mario. Preceding Sonic by a decent margin, he would have been the Nintendo Mascot Plumber's first official "rival" - but Bonk never even had a chance!
Not that it is any fault of the game's, anyway. Though he wasn't for everyone, Bonk certainly lived in a colorful world full of prehistoric enemies to quell - back in the day, this was the first viable "character action game" of the platformer style to really try and give Mario a run for his money. I have no idea how it performed in Japan, but the game really fell on deaf ears when released in the US. The TurboGrafx-16 console had a good deal of press coverage when it released the preceding year, but as time went by it quickly lost valuable ground to Nintendo's aging 8-Bit system and Sega's new, "more powerful" 16-Bit Genesis system.
Bonk was a caveman with a huge noggin, good for bashing into foes - what's more, the player could jump around and invert, landing head-first on enemies. You could get some pretty decent momentum (and points) racked up by doing this in succession.
Otherwise, the game was pretty standard fare (I say that a lot, don't I!) Proceed to the level's end, dispatch the boss, wash/rinse/repeat. In Bonk's defense, the bosses were particularly large and colorful, easily dwarfing their 8-Bit counterparts at the time - this game looked (and sounded) quite impressive!
In the end, Bonk lacked the marketability of a game like Sonic (or, of course, Mario) for many reasons. Not a bad game at all, just one which never received a proper chance due to releasing on "that other system" (and don't be mistaken, I love the TurboGrafx-16/PC-Engine!). A flurry of sequels followed, some direct and other indirect (futuristic Bonk the shooter was - Zonk!) and eventually he showed up on the rival consoles (NES, GB, SNES). A nice little game in its day, and one which is still worth unearthing now. In fact, I have been looking for an excuse to finally try out the SNES sequel...!