Buck Bumble is a flying third-person shooter for the Nintendo 64. The basic story is that a chemical spill has mutated all the bugs in the garden. These evil bugs are now trying to take over. It’s up to the cybernetic bee, Buck Bumble, to stop them and save the day. There are a variety of missions to do in this game. Your most basic missions involve going from point A to point B and destroying some target, but they can get more complex. Some are a race against the clock or exploring the levels for specific items. You maneuver mainly by flying and shooting. You can also collect more guns and ammo along the way as well as finding items to increase your score. The faster you complete a mission, the more bonus points you will receive. The points will give you more lives.
The environments are all based in outside, garden-like areas. The scale is also important to note, with things like benches or wheelbarrows here and there to remind you how small you are. This keeps the game interesting and imaginative. Plus, the enemies are all based on bugs with robot features integrated. The difficulty moves up at a steady pace, with a few challenges to keep things from getting stale. As the levels get bigger, the enemies get harder, and the environments get darker, you get closer and closer to the queen controlling them all. And rest assured, the final battle will test your skills. I also have to mention that I liked the music and the art. I mean, the title theme alone will be stuck in your head for days to come. The graphics are very dated, but they still work well enough and I do like the mix of colorization and textures presented here.
The game certainly isn’t perfect. Some of the challenges in the levels can be reasonably difficult because they’re different than the rest of the game, which isn’t great for the curve, but none of them are TOO hard. There are a lot of trick maneuvers you can pull off, but not all of them are explained to you in the game. There’s also not much story to be had. Sure, there’s a premise and short briefing before each mission, but there’s not much in terms of development of the story or characters. Points get you extra lives, but you can save your game after every level anyway so even if you run out of lives you can just load the file again and keep trying, making lives basically worthless.
Overall, I really enjoyed Buck Bumble. For a game I never heard about before, it ended up being lots of fun. It’s simple, but effective. And because of the design, the sound, the music, the graphics, the control, and the overall feel of it… well, let’s just say this game screams Nintendo 64. So of course that’s a big plus for me. It’s worth spending 10 to 20 bucks on if you find it and are interested. It’s nothing incredibly special or memorable, and my personal preference to a lot of it might be a bit unfair, but to be fair about it I’d have to say Buck Bumble delivers a solid, decent length experience to the N64. So go play it and let me know if you ever get that title theme out of your head.