Video Game Review: Namco’s “Bosconian” – Rating: 4.5/5

By Martin S. Hussey Jr., Correspondent 

Growing up with the PlayStation 2, I played a compilation of arcade video games developed and published in 1995 by Namco Unlimited called “Namco Museum Volume 1.” There were seven games in the volume that Namco had published during the early 1980s. With my trend of reviewing old video games, I will be reviewing one of the eight games that is possibly my most favorite: “Bosconian.”

“Bosconian” is an arcade game developed by Namco Limited, who released it in Japan, North America, and the European Union in 1981. Playable either single-player or multiplayer, this game immerses you as an unnamed lone-pilot whose task is to fly the “Starfighter” and destroy the green alien space stations known as “Orbitals.” The main goal of the game is to earn as many points as possible. Points are earned through destroying Orbitals, enemy ships and missiles, asteroids and space mines, and bonus points for defeating enemy formations and spy ships. 

The Starfighter moves in eight directions and fires front and back at the same time. As you move around the environment, you will stay affixed to the center of the screen. A radar display on the right-hand side of the screen shows where Orbitals, enemy ships, and missile formations are located relative to the player and a green-to-red alert system lets you know how hard your job is. Defending the Orbitals are I-type and P-type ships and E-type missiles whose job is to crash into you while you also avoid asteroids and space mines. Sometimes a spy ship will show up and must be destroyed unless you want to handle what happens when the alert system goes red. During your mission, a digitized voice will inform you on the various events. 

At the time of the game’s publication, despite not achieving the same commercial success as other arcade games from the 1980s, “Bosconian” proved popular enough that it won the 1983 Arcade Award for “Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Coin-Op Game” and is considered a “a granddaddy of the multidirectional shooter” according to Retro Gamer.  I would say that this arcade game deserved its award. It was fun and addicting to play and it is the first game, sometimes the only game, I play when I put the Namco Museum Volume 1 disc into the PlayStation 2. Not to mention the theme song is so catchy to listen to! Overall, “Bosconian” truly is a blast from the past!