Empty Shells: The Hopelessly Lame Bosses of Wario Blast

Jake Spencer
13 March 2012

What do you get when you put Wario and Bomberman into the same game? You get Bomberman, only with the option to play as a really lame Wario sprite!

Wario Blast Featuring Bomberman*! is poorly named.

Let me out of this bomb!

Okay, that's not completely fair. There's more here than the option to pick between a 16x16 pixel black and white Wario and a 16x16 pixel black and white Bom berman (or low-fat Bomberman-style video game character substitute, judging by the dangling asterisk in the title). Thanks to the
limitations of the Game Boy, Wario Blast also features a cramped view and a multiplayer mode that's only accessible if you play on Super Game Boy. Yeah!

Conceptually, there's something to this crossover. Bomberman still hadn't peaked when Wario Blast was released in 1994, but the series had certainly fallen into a formula. How great would if the same bizarro thinking that transformed Super Mario Bros. into the freaky-weird Mario Land/Wario Land series could be applied to a franchise as tired and repetitive as Bomberman? Even fighting a grab-bag of enemies from the Nintendo uni verse using Bomberman mechanics would be a major novelty.

Wario Blast is none of that. In fact, it was released in Japan as Bomberman GB, and re-branded with another bomb-toting character for its American release, which explains why Bomberman doesn't get to surround Birdo with Bob-ombs. Here we have a game being sold on the strength of its main characters, but Wario, who gets top-billing, is relegated to the role of ugly Bomberman clone, and Bomberman is stuck being a featureless cipher.

That means the characters with the most personality are the game's eight bosses, and today we'll be taking a close look at each one of them.

(Spoiler: They're laaaaaaaaaaaaaaame.)


Huh. A Heffalump in a teacup. I like non sequitur as much as the next slumbering egg yolk, but this guy must be soaking in chamomile 'cause he's making me sleepy.


It's a spinning top. And it has malevolent eyes. Two pairs. Komabē moves in a straight line and occasionally stops to throw a chakram, because apparently the character designer has never seen a top in motion.


Fūwan is the exception. Fūwan is some sort of cat/wolf cutey that floats around like that guy from Balloon Fight, just being pleasant and fuzzy and charming, and I love him. Total sweetheart, at least until he scowls and starts vomiting packs of rabid hyenas at you, but that only lasts as long as it takes him to pop a Zoloft and get his chemical balance back in order.

I took more pictures of Fūwan than any other character, and that was the best one. Photo quality must be inversely proportional to the quality of the boss being photographed.

Mad Flower

I'd be mad, too, if I were a flower with only four petals.


The cloud monster is a staple is a video game staple. They drift through the air and shoot lightning bolts, which can make for a fine foe, but the only thing that distinguishes Inapikarin from a million other cloud monsters is that he has the same face as every other boss in this game. This is not a positive quality.


Video games, like any artistic medium, can give us incredible insight into the lives of their creators. Wario Blast, for instance, tells us that the character designer was given only twenty minutes to do his job, and he had at his cubicle a teacup, a top, a balloon, a wilting flower, a view of a cloudy day, and a two-legged fly with no wings.

Gururin Knight

Much like cloud monsters, knights were everywhere in these days. It's boring, but with the serial killer profile that's been become increasingly clear across the last few paragraphs - the reuse of that same angry face on every character; the mutilated insects - I think I like boring.

Death Bomber

I didn't notice it while playing the game, but I think this is supposed to be a giant Bomberman head with robot guns for arms. Maybe Death Bomber is the Wario to Bomberman's Mario. Bomberman, stripped to his id. It's not a Bomberman, but a Bombermachine; a soulless force of destruction, and the only recourse is to bomb or be bombed.

Death Bomber provides a chilling statement on the harsh realities of war and the tormented psyche of the soldier. I'm tempted to call Death Bomber a great boss, but this picture turned out really nicely, which obviously means this dude is the worst.

In conclusion, I'm going to get a picture of Fūwan tattooed on my chest.