This was the best book in the Worlds of Power series. Bionic Commando is an entertaining story that tries to cram the video game into it. It also added many abilities to the bionic arm, making the story more interesting.ng
There is some weird stuff that I can only describe as video game tropes in this book. It works with how the source material plays out. You have to do strange things in games, so why not do strange stuff in a book about a video game?
It feels like the author went above and beyond on this one. It could have been a straight novelization, but they added several moments to build the characters. Except for Tiger, he was just kind of there.
The book starts with Jack and his partner Super Joe celebrating a mission where they defeated the evil group, Nazz. I have no idea what makes Super Joe so super. I’m guessing that his first name is Super, his middle name is Joe, and his last name is Astonishing.
If they’re going to give him a stupid name, then I’m going to make it dumber! Well, Joe doesn’t live up to his name, and we get a taste of his superpowers when he gets captured by Badd Ninjas. Joe gets caught and tortured all the time in this book.
Jack escapes by jumping out of a window. He somehow lands in the pool but ends up losing his arm. One of the Ninjas threw a shuriken which somehow chopped his arm off. This is how he gets his bionic arm.
I would have thought that Super Joe would be the one with the bionic arm, but I guess it would interfere with his super-getting-captured powers. You have no idea how much time I spent trying to figure out why his name was Super Joe. It was an embarrassing amount of time.
Jack wakes up with his new bionic arm, trains how to use his arm, and then heads off to eventually save Super Joe. What follows is a convoluted race across the “Pacific” as Jack gathers a bunch of things he needs. Why couldn’t he have gone into battle with this stuff? Well, the book and the game wouldn’t be all that interesting then.
Did I mention that Jack has Ninja powers? It only comes up once, but he has Ninja powers. Apparently, every spy has Ninja powers. I think I missed that class when I was in spy school.
If you read this book, one thing you might notice is how much food Jack is eating. He is doing a lot, so he needs the energy, but he eats a pizza, a plate of nachos, three hoagies, and an indeterminate number of tacos. There might be more, but I couldn’t remember.
It made it hard to tell how long this mission was taking. I think it took two or three days. That would at least make the amount of food he ate make sense.
Anyway, Jack eventually rescues Super Joe. The two split up and plan on going after Kilt, the big bad guy, after gathering more items they might need. I should probably mention the three bad guys.
Kilt is the leader of Badd, The Hand is his second in command, and Master Destructo is some random mad scientist who built Albatross and is needed to finish it. The Albatross is the superweapon that will destroy the world. It’s a flying tank thing that was poorly designed.
This is how the book ends. Master Destructo kills the Hand, Jack blows up the Albatross’s power supply destroying the ship, and Jack blows up the helicopter that Kilt and Master Destructo was using to escape. Then, Kilt blows up his bases and all the people in them.
However, Kilt gives them sixty seconds to prepare for death. Jack isn’t ready to die, so he rescues Super Joe, who managed to get himself captured again, and the two escape. The book ends with Jack and Super Joe flying away from the explosions.
Likes and Dislikes
I felt like I read an idea for an 80s action movie. It was a fun story, as long as you don’t think too much about what you’re reading.
There is a lot of hopping around from location to location. This made it feel like a video game. It also had similar goals to a video game. Go to a site, find an item, and then move on to the next place.
I did like the character development that the author tried to include in the story. Jack mentions how he would have done something as a younger spy and how he has changed. He takes the advice of others, and he seems to care about those around him. It is a nice story.
I wasn’t sure why Tiger was in the story. Jack seemed to have all the intelligence on the “secret” base he needed. Tiger was drawing maps of the different stages, but I think Jack could have gotten those from one of the many moles that were in Badd.
The ending was kind of abrupt. You don’t know what happened to several of the people. For instance, a character named Hal helps Jack throughout the book. He is attacked at the end of the book, and you never find out if he is okay or dead. He is built up during the story and then is dropped at the end.
I think the book could have been wrapped up in a better way. Super Joe could have been reunited with his friends and fiancé. However, it just ends.
Through some changes to the story, a lot was added to what the bionic arm could do. The characters also had their names change as well as how they met. If you read the game’s manual, you would see how threadbare the story was.
It’s nice to see how stuff like this happens and how a simple game like Bionic Commando can be changed into a fun story.
There were also changes to the stages that Jack goes through. I don’t have an issue with this. You don’t need to follow the game strictly. The book has enough of the game to make it feel familiar.
One thing I wish had been changed was the number of weapons lying around. The bad guys were just waiting for Jack to show up. I think they try to say that the other agents planted them, but it feels strange that they didn’t just give them to Jack and send him to the HQ immediately.
I‘ve read nine out of the ten Worlds of Power books at this point. The only one I thought was bad was the Mega Man 2 book. This was the best one that I read.
Bionic Commando is a game that doesn’t have much story to it. Games back in the day didn’t need much of a story. You needed to know your powers, how to control them, who the bad guys were, and how to win.
This story added a lot to the story of the game. Most of the changes were good, and a few were not necessary. The only problem I had with it was the end.
Like all of these books, I would have enjoyed it back in the early 90s. I wouldn’t have thought about many things I found odd or dwelled on as I read this. Now, I think about these things that aren’t explained as well as I would have liked.
It is an entertaining book! I think this is the best book from the Worlds of Power series. If I ever get around to reading the Bases Loaded 2 novelization, I doubt it will be as good as this book.