[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Bionic_Commando_cover_5981.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:Our hero Ladd Spencer, as he fights the evil imperialistic forces of Master-D ([[NoSwastikas clearly not Hitler with a fake beard and sunglasses]]).]]

->''"They lost their hero to the enemy. They went looking for the perfect soldier to rescue him. They found some guy who couldn't even jump."''

->''"Let me tell you about the man I met when I was young."''

''Bionic Commando'' (aka ''Top Secret'' in Japan) is a side-scrolling platformer by {{Capcom}} originally released for the arcades in 1987. The game stars a nameless soldier who must fight his way into enemy territory to destroy their missiles. At first sight, ''Bionic Commando'' seemed like a conventional platformer, but there's a catch: [[GenreBusting there is no jump button.]] Instead, the protagonist is equipped with a [[GrapplingHookPistol grappling hook]] to swing and climb places. The game was marketed outside Japan as a sequel to Capcom's earlier arcade game ''VideoGame/{{Commando}}'' (hence the [[TranslationMatchmaking similar titles]]), to the point that the promotional flyer claimed that the game's protagonist is none other than Super Joe himself, although the two games were not connected... at first. It was ported to a variety of home computer platforms following its release.

A console version for the NintendoEntertainmentSystem was released in 1988. However, this NES version of ''Bionic Commando'' was actually a sequel to the arcade game than a conventional port or [[ReformulatedGame reworking]] of the same. The NES version not only refines the wire swinging gimmick of the arcade game, but also fleshes out the rest of the game with an added emphasis on exploration such as the addition of a life bar that the player can extend through bullet collecting, the procurement of items and weapons (which are chosen at the start of each mission) which help facilitate the player's mission, and the ability to communicate with friendly agents and wiretap enemy conversations for additional information. The game now starts in an overworld map in which the player uses an helicopter to not only transport the protagonist to [[GameLevel enemy areas]] in any order (although some stages required proper equipment in order to be explored), but also visit neutral zones to meet up with allies and enemies alike, and even engage against enemy convoys through optional [[UnexpectedGameplayChange top-down scrolling stages]] akin to the original ''Commando''.

The NES ''Bionic Commando'' also featured a much more fleshed out plot than its arcade predecessor. As Ladd Spencer (also known as [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Rad Spencer]] in some versions, later renamed Nathan Spencer), a member of an elite force of wire gun-equipped commandos known as the [[TheFederation FF Battalion]], is sent to infiltrate the [[TheEmpire Imperial Army]]'s territory in order to rescue his missing comrade Super Joe (fortifying the title's otherwise tenuous ties with the original ''Commando'') and find out what he knows about the Empire's top secret project codenamed Albatross. After rescuing Joe, Spencer discovers that Albatross is an abandoned [[ThoseWackyNazis Nazi]] weapon that the Imperial Army now seeks to complete by reviving the project's originator - UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler himself (hence the game's Japanese title, ''The Resurrection of Hitler'').

All references to the Nazis were [[NoSwastikas edited out]] from the NES version's overseas release, with Hitler himself being renamed Master D, although the controversial dictator's likeness was left unchanged (making it obvious who he is meant to be), along with a particularly gory death sequence [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar that managed to sneaked by unnoticed]].

Despite this, the NES version of ''Bionic Commando'' was a cult success and the game inspired a few remakes and successors throughout the years, most notably a 2009 sequel simply ''[[RecycledTitle Bionic Commando]]'' for seventh generation consoles, which was developed by the now-defunct Sweden-based developer GRIN. The 2009 incarnation of Spencer also appeared as a character in ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3''.

The ''Rearmed 2'' website can be found [[http://www.bioniccommando.com/rearmed2/ here]].

!!List of titles:
* ''Bionic Commando'' (arcade, 1987) - Titled ''Top Secret'' in Japan.
** Ported to the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Amiga and Atari ST in 1988.
** Included in ''Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 1'' for UsefulNotes/PlayStation2 and UsefulNotes/XBox in 2005, and ''Capcom Classics Collection: Remixed'' for UsefulNotes/PlayStationPortable in 2006.
* ''Bionic Commando'' (NES, 1988) - Titled ''Hitler no Fukkatsu: Top Secret'' in Japan.
** Included in ''Capcom Classics Mini-Mix'' for the UsefulNotes/GameBoyAdvance in 2006.
* ''Bionic Commando'' (UsefulNotes/GameBoy, 1992) -Titled ''Bionic Commando'' in Japan.
** Released for the UsefulNotes/Nintendo3DS Virtual Console in 2011.
* ''Bionic Commando: Elite Forces'' (GameBoyColor, 1999)
** Released for the UsefulNotes/Nintendo3DS Virtual Console in 2014.
* ''Bionic Commando: Rearmed'' (UsefulNotes/XBox360[=/=]UsefulNotes/PlayStation3[=/=]PC, 2008) - Titled ''Bionic Commando: Master D Fukkatsu Keikaku'' in Japan
* ''Bionic Commando'' (UsefulNotes/XBox360[=/=]UsefulNotes/PlayStation3[=/=]PC, 2009)
* ''Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2'' (UsefulNotes/XBox360[=/=]UsefulNotes/PlayStation3, 2011)

----
!! Featured Tropes:

* AlasPoorVillain: The ending to ''Rearmed 2'' has a lot of this, with Super Joe remarking that none of the game's villains were bad people, just decent folks who ended up doing bad things due to a series of unfortunate events. It also includes a HeelRealization by Super Joe, which somewhat humanizes his previous portrayal in the next-gen game.
* AllThereInTheManual: In the sequel, lots of background info is buried in the files you unlock, and the incident leading to Spencer's incarceration is only covered in a webcomic that wound up not being packaged as a print comic as a reservation preorder.
* AmericanKirbyIsHardcore: The Japanese version of the arcade game had characters with wider cartoony eyes.
** The cover art for ''Rearmed 2'' seems to be a deliberate aversion of this trope, as it can only be described as deliberately goofy.
* AnimeThemeSong: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7nw4cqiC6s "Bionic Commando"]] (sometimes called "Go! Go! Bionic Commando" or just "Go! Go! Bionic!") sung by the inimitable Ichiro Mizuki of JAMProject fame. (There's a song on the Bionic Commando Rearmed OST called "Go Go Bionic", but it's nothing but thirty seconds of a Japanese guy saying "Go! Go! Bionic!" with the NES game's Area 1 tune in the background.)
* ArtEvolution: Although the overall world's art style is similar (enemies with ridiculously colorful uniforms, walking mechs, etc.), the character design has changed drastically from ''Rearmed'' to the sequel. Super Joe now looks like Jack Nicholson in full Joker mode (sans makeup), although the change is somewhat believeably attributable to 10 years of aging and a desk job. There's no plausible explanation to how Spencer went from a red-haired Duke Nukem clone to a grungy rock band frontman who could double for [[Series/StargateAtlantis Ronan Dex]], though. Humorously, [[spoiler: Gottfried Groeder]] looks exactly the same as he did in ''Rearmed'', albeit 20-30 years older (guess the years haven't been kind).
* AttractMode: The game has a rather lengthy intro sequence when left running at the title screen that explains most of the story and gives demos of the gameplay.
* BadassBeard: Sabio sports one in Rearmed 2. It's probably what allowed him to become leader of Pagagaya in the first place.
* [[BadassMustache Badass]] PornStache: Spencer has one that would make [[Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja Dan McNinja]] proud in Rearmed 2.
* BeatThemAtTheirOwnGame: Inverted; a couple of notable sub-bosses and bosses also have bionic arm weaponry, and yours is largely useless against them (but they can still knock you around with theirs)
* BlindIdiotTranslation: "This base will explod in 60 seconds."
** [[HalfLifeFullLifeConsequences IT WILL EXPLOD!]]
*** It's become an AscendedGlitch with signs for a Club Explode with the last E not lit in Rearmed 2.
* BookEnds: The game begins with Joe telling the story of a man he met when he was young. It ends with him finishing it, and hoping it will be told for a long time.
** "Damn rookies."
* {{Bowdlerise}}: All references to Nazis were edited out of the game and replaced with "Badds", and there are NoSwastikas. For a more complete list of changes, see [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bionic_Commando_%28NES%29 this game's entry]] over at {{Wikipedia}}.
** What's sort of ironic is that the ''Literature/WorldsOfPower'' book based on this game is one of the few in the series where people actually died.
** ''Rearmed'' is mostly unchanged in the Japanese version, too, making this somewhat of a RecursiveImport.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: If you played the Demo version of Rearmed instead of purchasing the game, the first boss will fail to load its attack patterns, saying you need to buy the full version of the game. Your character quips, "Aww, but I really wanted to fight you! Please..?" as well.
** The sequel has a couple of these too: "[[MediumAwareness Is that a long health bar,]] OrAreYouJustHappyToSeeMe"
* CompositeCharacter: The 2009 sequel establishes that Super Joe was just a codename used by a certain Joseph Gibson. Joseph Gibson was one of the playable character in ''Mercs'', the sequel to the original ''Commando''.
* CruelTwistEnding: In the sequel, [[spoiler:discovering that Spencer's missing wife... was taken by TASC and had some part of her uploaded or fashioned into his bionic arm! ...how [[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion Evangelionesque]].]] Surprisingly, THIS twist is rather subtly alluded to, [[FridgeBrilliance making several seemingly-inconsequential comments much, much more meaningful.]] Mind, after TheReveal, they really sledgehammer it in, and yet Spencer inexplicably doesn't get it (or is hugely in denial).
** It's denial. It finally sinks in during the last cutscene, [[spoiler:when Emily confronts Radd about his avoiding the issue. Radd finally faces the facts.]]
** It's also potentially because [[spoiler:she may not be dead, because while a section of her is inside his arm if she is dead or if the process is reversible is never commented on.]]
* DarkerAndEdgier: The sequel is much, much more grim and apocalyptic (most of the game takes place in a nuked mega city) than any of the prior games, including the company's own remake of the NES game. Super Joe's is shown to be an ass, but then again so has Spencer. Spencer spent a better part of 10 years in prison, without his bionic arm, after witnessing the death of two rogue bionic agents. 10 years after fighting the [[ThoseWackyNazis Imperial Forces]], TheFederation has turned into a cruel and cynical the-end-justifies-the-means regime. The terrorists opposing it are even worse, nuking a capitol city IN THE BEGINNING OF THE GAME. Oh, and apparently Spencer got his bionic arm by [[spoiler: said Federation possibly sacrificing the life of his wife to make it.]] Whether all this is good or bad is up to you.
** Considering the arcade version was a very cartoony game to begin with and the NES version was about blowing Hitler's head off, the NES game itself could be considered a DarkerAndEdgier version of the arcade game (although, not to the same extent as the 2009 sequel).
* {{Determinator}}: Spencer doesn't like to give up. Even when faced with impossible odds, he just sees it as a challenge. Try to (and almost succeed in) kill him, and he'll make you suffer for it. It's almost to the point of psychopathy: the guy does not, cannot, and will not lose if he can do anything about it.
* DifficultyByRegion:
** The NES game had some changes to difficulty scattered about from the Famicom version. Rather than making the entire game easier or harder, they change the difficulty of certain segments -- generally speaking, the earlier parts of the game are harder and the later ones easier in the NES version.
** In the original arcade game, the International version lets you keep your weapon between levels, rather than reverting you to the default weapon at the start of every level. Additionally, the helicopters in the International version are lesser in number, drop fewer bombs, and will eventually stop chasing you if you avoid them for long enough.
* DiscOneFinalBoss: In the sequel, [[spoiler:Super Joe isn't really the final boss--it's more of an interactive ending sequence. Still, take one look at that suit and you'll lament the boss fight that could've been.]]
* DiscOneNuke: In the NES version, you get the rocket launcher, which is ''supremely'' overpowered compared to every other weapon, fairly early in the game (at about the 40% mark). There's only one level (the one with helicopters) where you'd even possibly want to use another gun - in this case, the three-way. The choppers still aren't around enough to make it worthwhile.
* DisproportionateRetribution: Spencer was on death row, just cause he didn't follow one single order. Surely such a stunt would just have him stripped off of his Bionic Arm and position within military?
** The online comic reveals that "one single order" was murdering two bionics who didn't want to be stripped off of their life-supporting implants.
*** He was put in jail because [[spoiler: he didn't kill the two bionics, he let another one escape (Mag), and he killed an entire force of Federation soldiers when they tried to kill the two bionics. He also found out about the heavy crackdown on bionics, which ultimately led to the creation of Bio-Reign. He was imprisoned for failing to follow orders and treason.]]
* DownerEnding: By the end of the game [[spoiler: Mag is apparently dead, Emily has been revealed to have been changed in an unknown process into Rad's bionic arm, Super Joe is a (dead) scumbag, and the last we see of Rad is him plummeting from several thousand feet up.]]
* DownTheDrain: Area 2 is an underground chemical waste dumping site.
* EasterEgg: An interesting case of ThrowItIn happens when you re-attempt to fight [[SandWorm The Mo]][[DrillTank hole]] after dying. It only occurs the second time.
--> '''Super Joe''': "Spencer! There's no way out! You'll just have to [[PrecisionFStrike fuck it]]!"
-->'''Spencer's voice actor''': "Um..."
* EleventhHourSuperpower: You have Super Joe's machine gun for the final 3 levels of ''Rearmed'', and the upgraded rocket launcher only for the final boss fight.
** You supposedly receive the special bazooka at the end of the original NES game, but despite three levels of explaining how powerful it is, it's exactly the same as the rocket launcher you've been carrying since area 5.
* {{Engrish}}: The NES game's engrish is legendary, inspiring a number of {{meme}}s. ''Rearmed'' makes several humorous references to it.
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler: Super Joe]].
* FakeDifficulty: Not being able to jump and no [[JumpPhysics air control]] introduces a certain amount of this, but the original arcade game was teeth-gnashingly difficult due to sluggish response to the controls and not allowing you to use your bionic arm in the air.
* FauxActionGirl: Mag, in the modern sequel. Introduced as a possible rival or boss, she then [[spoiler:does nothing of import, and gets [[YourHeadAsplode Hitler'd]] by the Big Bad.]]
* FinalBoss: Master D in the original and remakes, [[spoiler:Groeder]] in the sequel, and Arturus in ''Elite Forces''.
* FloatingPlatforms: Averted; just about everything Rad can attach his arm to is conceivably attached to the ground in some manner (for example, the various poles scattered across the stages).
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Probably the most famous example of this trope in an NES game, next to Golgo 13.
** "What? You're going to fight against me? You [[Main/PrecisionFStrike damn]] [[Main/YouFool fool]]."
** Also, [[Main/YourHeadASplode Hitler's head graphically exploding in a gory mess]] at the very end.
** Both of these were in the US version.
* GoshdangItToHeck: An enemy soldier in Area 16 will tell you to "Get the heck out of here, [[{{Narm}} you nerd]]!"
* GrapplingHookPistol: Your bionic arm.
* GuideDangIt: In the NES version, the player can abort a mission by pressing Start+A+B simultaneously and return to the map screen. This would've come in handy if you enter a stage without having the proper equipment... if it weren't for the fact that the manual doesn't tell you this. Because of this, many first-time players often reset the game when they enter Area 6 without the Rocket Gun.
* HighTechHexagons: The 2009 game, ''Rearmed'', and their followups prominently use a 5-hexagon symbol in their logo. In-universe, the hexagons are part of the logo of [[HeroesRUs the T.A.S.C.]]; Spencer's shirt has the hexagon logo in the 2009 game.
* HitPoints: You start the game as a OneHitPointWonder, but by grabbing items that various {{Mooks}} drop, you can gain more hitpoints to start out with, up to a maximum of nine per life if you're dedicated enough to get 300 of them. (Of course, you still die instantly when you fall in one of the game's many BottomlessPits.)
** No longer the case in ''[=BCR=]'' as you get the HitPoints meter to start. It does get upgraded, but only once.
* HollywoodCyborg: Yes indeed, although the sequel tries to real-physics it up a bit.
* HollywoodHacking: Intercepting enemy communications in ''Rearmed'' requires you to play a short minigame; in the full console sequel, you just grapple the computer and hit B (or "O," or whatever the action button is for the PC version).
** In the original game, simply having the correct communicator will allow you to listen in to enemy chatter (though they may detect you and attack as soon as you're done listening). Justified in that spies specifically tune the various communicators to the enemy frequencies.
* IdiotHero: For the most part, Spencer is a fairly competent guy. But in the sequel, [[spoiler:how in the name of all that's holy did he NOT get that his bionic arm has his wife's in it?!]]
** [[spoiler: Partially justified, due to the fact that this comes from denial. His wife rarely if ever interacted with him during Rearmed and a majority of the sequel and the only time she did he was asleep.]]
* {{Interquel}}: Rearmed 2 takes place between Rearmed 1 and the next generation console version. Amoung other things it shows Spencer and Magdalene working together and sheds some light on the reasoning behind the "Bionic Purge."
* InstantWinCondition: In the NES game, the objective of every area except the last is to destroy the reactor. Bosses can be completely ignored in just about every level, and the two levels that have the boss that cannot be ignored can still be completed easily if you're willing (and able) to take a couple of hits.
* InvulnerableCivilians: Averted - it's very possible to shoot innocent civilians in a neutral area; you'll just set off alarms and the Peacekeeper forces will attempt to kill you.
** Played straight in ''Rearmed''; opening fire in a [[strike:neutral zone]] FSA camp doesn't trigger anything.
* JumpPhysics: Well, okay, more like swinging and arcing physics. But still.
* LawyerFriendlyCameo: Master D is an obvious stand in for Hitler, especially since despite bowdlerizing all other Nazi references, they left Hitler's very recognizable ''face'' in the game. In ''Rearmed'', he is known simply as "The Leader" and his face is obscured by a breathing mask, but you can still see the top of his iconic mustache poking out beneath it. ''Rearmed 2'' gives us new antagonist Sabio, dictator of an island nation threatening to launch missiles at the FSA. Obviously a stand in for Fidel Castro and Cuba.
* LeapOfFaith: A few notable instances in some parts of the game (particularly Stage 6). Also the title of one of the songs from Rearmed, appropriately enough.
* Level1MusicRepresents: An odd case. The NES Area 1 music is iconic of the series to the point it makes up a large portion of the soundtrack in the sequel but it is in fact a rendition of the arcade game's Stage 2 music.
* LostTechnology: In ''Elite Forces'', [[spoiler:Project Albatross is at first thought to be an ancient war machine created by earlier civilizations to repel an alien invasion. In the final battle, BigBad Arturus reveals that the Albatross is actually a long derelict space craft that grants its controller monstrous powers.]]
* TheManBehindTheMan: In the sequel, [[spoiler:Groeder is the last boss proper, but Super Joe is the actual mastermind behind the whole mess]]. Sort of a reversal of roles in terms of difficulty, though.
* MandatoryTwistEnding: More of a twist rising climax in the sequel. [[spoiler:Thanks. Thanks a whooooole lot, Super Joe.]]
* ManEatingPlant: You get a slight rustling of leaves, and if you don't move, you're eaten.
* MoodWhiplash: The halfway point of ''Rearmed'' is interrupted by Spencer mentioning his missing wife to Haley. It's an important plot point in '09, but in ''Rearmed'' it came right out of nowhere since it seemed to be just a remake of NES Bionic Commando up till that point.
** While the sequel starts dark and gets darker, Spencer's sheer, unadulterated joy at being free and reunited with his bionic arm, even swinging through a hellhole of a city and viciously killing enemy troops, makes him appear almost sociopathic.
* MookChivalry: {{Subverted}} in the sequel. [=BioReign=] soldiers duck and cover, attack in groups, spot you from long distances and try to kill you dead from that range if possible. The list of things they do correctly is astonishing, and it's clear from the get-go that these guys want to survive, go home and see their families. [[DoubleSubversion Double Subverted]] in that none [[SuperSoldier of this manages]] [[OneManArmy to accomplish a damn thing.]]
* MookPromotion: In the original NES game, the rival enemy bionic "[[EvilKnockoff Giant Soldiers]]" were simply unnamed minibosses. In the ''Rearmed'' remake, they were all made into a [[CompositeCharacter single character]], [[NominalImportance Gottfried Groeder]], who served as a Recurring Boss and TheDragon to the BigBad, and [[spoiler: who returns in the sequel as the final boss]].
* NintendoHard: This game is really difficult. Rearmed on the hardest difficulty cranks it UpToEleven.
** SurpriseDifficulty: Stage 1 isn't too bad. The next few areas, while harder, are still reasonable. Stages 5 and 6 are really very hard.
** ''Rearmed'' starts out harder than the later levels of the [=NES=] version, mainly due to intelligent enemies (they duck behind stuff to avoid your fire, etc...)
** The 2009 game is notoriously difficult due to a mix of [[PlayerCharacter Spencer]] almost being a OneHitPointWonder, big guns ammunition and grenades being rarer than rare while your small gun eats through its own ammo like popcorn, ennemies having ImprobableAimingSkills and Spencer having SuperDrowningSkills [[JustifiedTrope due to the sheer weight of his bionic arm]] (although it doesn't explain why a trained supersoldier can only hold his breath underwater for ten seconds before suffering CriticalExistenceFailure). The CheckPointStarvation, forcing you to go through whole levels again should you get killed inches away from your goal, and the TrialAndErrorGameplay nature of certain levels don't help either...
* NoOneCouldSurviveThat: After Nathan kills [[spoiler: Groeder]] by shoving a grenade in his chest and kicking him off the high point they were fighting on:
--->'''Nathan''': Try coming back from that!
* NoSwastikas: In the translation, the Nazis were changed to the "Badds", swastikas were removed, and Hitler was renamed Master D. Strangely enough, his dialogue portrait, which clearly shows Hitler, wasn't changed at all. In ''Rearmed'', the Nazis are simply referred to as a "fascist regime".
** What ''is'' strange is that there's symbols and powerups scattered around in both the NES game and the updated remake which resemble [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Reichsadler_der_Deutsches_Reich_%281933%E2%80%931945%29.svg the Imperial Eagle.]] That can't be coincidental.
* NotAsYouKnowThem: Spencer and Joe in the sequel. In ''spades''.
** Somewhat justified in that Spencer has been in prison for 10 years, just waiting to be killed, and Joe has become bitter and jaded from the events of the Bionic Purge, which he didn't entirely agree with but was forced to implement.
* NukeEm: [=BioReign=] bombs entire Ascension City which is pretty much the game's equivalent to a New York.
* OldSaveBonus: If you own both ''Rearmed'' and the 2009 game on the same platform, you can unlock Spencer's "classic" ''Rearmed'' skin for use in the 2009 game. Which is a good thing too, when [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks most players vastly prefer that look]].
** Obtaining a collection of secret items in ''Rearmed'' unlocks the "Prototype Weapon" for use right away in the 2009 sequel, which replaces the weaker standard firearm.
* OneManArmy: And Spencer is called out on this in the sequel. According to Armstrong, over 10,000 troops fought against the Imperials, but "Rad" Spencer and Super Joe got all the glory. For their part, the soldiers in Rearmed all say how much easier Spencer's actions are making the fight, and the Imperials are hugely demoralized because of how bad Radd is kicking their asses.
** Also the reason why he's pulled out of death row and sent to Ascension City in the sequel: even after ten years in prison, he's considered so capable and uniquely adapted to the situation that he's the best shot the Federation has.
* PaletteSwap: Notably, the peacekeepers in the neutral zones are just white versions of the {{Mooks}} from the rest of the game.
* PoweredArmor: About half the bosses of Elite Forces are guys wearing this.
** Also shows up in the sequel in several variants. Because they're not nearly as vulnerable as basic infantry, they need special tactics to take down. [[CombatPragmatist Or you can hit them hard with the secondary weapons]], that works too.
* PoweredByAForsakenChild: In the sequel, it's revealed that all bionic limbs are created [[spoiler:an unknown process using someone with strong emotional ties to the person usually family or spouses.]] It's also a semi-twisted, semi-sweet take on [[spoiler:ThePowerOfLove,]] if you think about it.
* PreviousPlayerCharacterCameo: Super Joe, from the original ''Commando'', appears briefly in the NES version.
* ProductPlacement: In the first level of the 2009 game, there are intact Pepsi vending machines, ads for Nvidia and Alienware cards, and plugs for the upcoming DarkVoid.
* PuzzleBoss: All of them. None of them can be taken down by direct fire. Instead, you'll have to listen to enemy conversations to figure out their weaknesses.
** In the original game, more often than not, the puzzle is less about "how do I take this guy out" than it is about "how do I avoid this guy long enough to destroy the reactor and win".
* {{Railroading}}: One of the most frequent complaints about the 2009 game was how poorly marked areas of radioactivity prevented players from exploring the levels.
* ReformulatedGame: The NES version, which adapted the wire-swinging concept from the arcade version into an entirely new game with selectable stages and more emphasis on exploration.
* RequiredSecondaryPowers: In the sequel, Spencer is outrageously tough to kill, and can deal great heaping gobs of damage just by ''landing correctly.'' (Generally that means arm-first...) Wholly justified--his body must be bionically reinforced to keep up with the rigors of his bionic arm.
** Why yes it is. In the 360/PS3 version, the in-game text actually outright says he possesses some kind of "bionic armor". This not only makes him highly durable, but also allows him to regenerate health. Also like his other bionics, over time he gets used to using it again and it gets stronger, or "upgrades" or whatever you want to call it. So yeah, apparently he ''is'' equipped with some kind of biomechanical armor, presumably either under his skin or nanotech.
** Still won't prevent him from getting killed with a couple bullets from even the lowest-ranking Mooks; Spencer doesn't really take ''less'' damage than a regular human would, but he ''does'' have RegeneratingHealth.
* RespawningEnemies: Averted and played straight - unless the enemy spawned from an opening/shutting door, most enemies will stay dead for good no matter how far you stray from them. However, if you leave an area through a doorway, then come back, the enemies will respawn.
* RetCanon: The connection between the original ''Commando'' and ''Bionic Commando'' was originally an American invention for the arcade game when they were promoting it, claiming that the nameless player character were controlling was actually Super Joe himself. The NES version added ''Commando''-like overhead segments and made Super Joe into a real character in the game. The 2009 sequel retconned Super Joe's identity into "Joseph Gibson", essentially linking the original ''Commando'' with its sequel ''Mercs''.
* RightHandOfDoom: The bionic arm, not really noticeable when two pixels wide, was upgraded to a design worthy of a piece of farming equipment in ''Bionic Commando: Rearmed'' and the sequel. [[RuleOfCool But damn if it isn't cool as hell.]]
* [[spoiler: RogueProtagonist: Super Joe in the 2009 game.]]
* SchrodingersPlayerCharacter: Averted in ''Elite Forces'', which grants the player a choice between a male and female commando. The commando you don't choose must be rendezvoused with throughout the game.
** Though Areas 6 and 9 are different for each character. The boss and level reward in each are the same regardless.
* SequenceBreaking: Mostly Averted in the NES version. Besides level grinding, There's nothing to stop you from playing any and all of the levels in whatever order you want but you won't get far in the later ones without the proper equipment.
* ShotgunsAreJustBetter: The '09 game features an ''anti-tank shotgun'' usually aimed at infantry: the Hiker fires nine super-sized-buckshot shells for clearing out armored enemies, and is, in fact, unstoppable against anything that isn't powered armor, while the last shot is specifically a super-heavy armor-piercing giant shell for use against armor.
** The Rearmed shotgun is extremely powerful up close, beaten only by the rocket launcher and a full machine-gun clip, but the range is so short, even with the range-extending duckbill upgrade, that it's best used to get swinging again than as a weapon.
* ShoutOut: ''Rearmed'' lovingly reminds you of its roots on a regular basis ("Get the heck out of here, you nerd!") Also, the characters strenuously avoid using Hitler's name to the point of (intentional) comedy.
** The 2009 game has large signs for [[VideoGame/ResidentEvil5 TriCell]] all over Ascension City. There are also several smaller posters of ''VideoGame/DarkVoid'' here and there, and once in the game you can spot a large billboard with a [[Franchise/MegaMan Tron Bonne minion robot]] on it.
** In ''Rearmed'' There's a challenge run called the "Dragon Run" which is a reference to the Mecha Dragon Boss of ''VideoGame/MegaMan2''.
** [[Film/PlanetOfTheApes1968 "Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!"]]
** Area 5 of ''Rearmed'' features safety posters reading ''Warning! Falling Objects! Wear a helmet!", depicting a [[VideoGame/MegaManClassic Metool helmet]]. In the same level, there are background decals of a hanging iron balls on chains, an irritating obstacle in the first game which is no longer implemented in the remake.
* ShutUpHannibal: As an AntiFrustrationFeature, you're allowed to skip a boss' BossBanter about how Spencer is just a pawn if you restart the battle enough times. This is represented in-game as Spencer literally telling him to [[BigShutUp shut the fuck up.]]
* SingleUseShield: A pendant, which lasts one stage, and can block a single projectile, but also goes away if you die some other way.
* SnipingMission: ''Elite Forces'' adds this as a gameplay mechanic. Certain areas contain structures far off in the background that house patrolling enemies. Sniping them all within the time limit rewards the player with supplies.
* SociopathicHero: When not angsting about his missing wife or that his country has betrayed him in the most vile way possible, Spencer takes a little too much joy in throwing people off cliffs and shooting them in the head.
* SoundtrackDissonance: The music for the first level of the Arcade game is far too upbeat for the setting, especially considering the rest of the soundtrack.
** Also, the music box lullaby after [[spoiler: destruction of [[SpiderTank the Constructor]]]] in the 2009 version.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: The NES version calls the main character "Ladd", while the Game Boy version uses "Rad Spencer". ''Rearmed'' renames the character "Nathan Spencer", but uses "Rad" as his nickname.[[note]]He was the first bionic solder, and spent a lot of his time in Research and Development, enough that people started calling him "R And D". When he went into the field, this nickname was shortened into his codename, "Rad."[[/note]]
* TheStinger: The 2009 Sequel. Gets bonus cryptic points for being in Morse code AND German!
** [[spoiler: Also gets points for ContinuityPorn, since it says to start up one "Project Albatross."]]
** Also, the NES game. See BookEnds above.
* [[StupidJetpackHitler Stupid Helicopter Hitler]]: Among other things, the Imperial Force utilize wired, cybernetic soldiers, experiment on plant-life and bugs in Area 3 in the NES version, have mobilized droids in their ranks, keep their master in a status tube, and they also made the Albatross.
* ThoseTwoBadGuys: The Imperial private and his commander you eavesdrop on in the NES game -- and especially in ''Rearmed'', which uses them for comic relief.
* TranslationMatchmaking: Originally called ''Top Secret'' in Japan, the arcade game was retitled ''Bionic Commando'' and marketed as a ''Commando'' spinoff.
* TruceZone: Various neutral zones in the original.
* UltimateUniverse: Elite Forces seems to be this. It starts with a similar premise--long time war, Super--er, I mean, Commander Joe missing, etc, but everything else is just completely different. New fictional countries, no nazis or Hitler, different villainous motivation, a whole bionic corp. Even the final boss seems like something out of an Ultimate book.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: In-game, Spencer ''really'' enjoys his job, even though his job is killing a whole lot of people. For the player, the variety of ways in which you can utterly humiliate your enemies before killing them (or while killing them), lends itself to this trope.
* VideoGameRemake: The Game Boy version practically a port of the NES one with a change in setting. ''Elite Forces'' on the other hand, follows the same plot, but has completely different stages. ''Rearmed'' is a straight remake of the NES game with polygonal graphics.
* WeaksauceWeakness: Spencer is weighed down by his bionics and can't swim. Further, he's even more succeptible to radiation due to the sensitive electronics keeping him plugged in and bionic. While only justifying BottomlessPits in the original and Rearmed, the radiation-cloaked Ascension City is a lot more dangerous for Spencer.
* WreakingHavok: Hurling around debris and enemy soldiers in '09. Spencer can throw ''real'' far and ''real'' accurate and ''real'' hard, making for some really satisfying takedowns.
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: Said word for word at the end of ''Rearmed'' right after Master D's revival.
* YourHeadASplode: Adolf Hitler, er, Master-D, when you destroy the helicopter he attempts to escape in at the end of the game. Quite gory, really, considering the Bowdlerization to the rest of the game. This is the ''only'' reason the ''Rearmed'' release has an "M" rating, as there's surprisingly little blood elsewhere. In the sequel, it's the only way to make sure a bionic stays dead.

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