"Seven years ago, on a battlefield...I lost what I believed in. Each time I went into battle, another piece of my soul died. I'm a mere shell of a man now. Nothing more than a killing machine."
— Jutah Fate
"So we're merely pawns in an elaborate game that will decide the fate of the world, is that it? Then which player will be fortunate enough to checkmate fate I wonder?"
— Benoit Manderubrot
Silent Bomber was the second game developed by CyberConnect2 (best known for developing the .hack series and Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm) and was released in April 1999. Something of an underrated gem, Silent Bomber is an unrelentingly fast and responsive action platformer with overtones of the classic shoot'em up genre.The plot follows the exploits of Jutah Fate, an incredibly deadly genetically engineered futuristic explosives expert and war criminal. Jutah is a specialist in use of the E-Unit Gauntlets, an implausibly awesome weapon system that allows its wielder not only to set powerful bombs, but also to launch explosives with pinpoint accuracy at targets from afar and detonate on command. An emotionally dead man as a result of the atrocities for which he has committed and been imprisoned, Jutah is press-ganged into serving in a penal squadron by his incarcerators: the government of the peaceful world of Hornet. Specifically, Hornet needs him to prevent their immanent destruction at the hands of none other than the planet Earth, from whom they have recently declared sovereignty. Thus he undertakes a neigh-impossible mission to destroy a colossal battle cruiser that is poised to destroy Hornet, surrounded on all sides by comrades he doesn't care for, led by incompetent orders and facing what is probably the deadliest force in known space.It's cool though. He's got this.The combat system is the game's real draw: as Jutah eschews the use of anything other than explosives, his entire fighting style demands that the player races around areas as quickly as possible, setting bombs on weak points in enemy fortifications and detonating them the moment he gets clear so that he can set up the next volley of incendiaries, all the while dodging storms of ordnance from all angles. He isn't left wanting for ranged attacks either; the E-Unit has an auto-locking system for launching bombs on to foes at long range, allowing him to take down even the nippiest of adversaries. What's more, his bombs can be stacked on top of each other to increase the damage they cause and the radius they effect. When you add to this three different kinds of special liquid explosives that can also be stacked to glean deadlier effects (LightningBlack HoleON FIRE ATTACK!}, an RPG leveling system that has you choose your favored advantages carefully, some of the best graphics the PS1 has to offer and an unlockable fighting mode that lets you and a friend play as the bosses against each other, and you have a vastly underrated classic on your hands.Silent Bomber is available through the Playstation Network in some regions, but can be tricky to find otherwise.
Chess Motifs: Everything about Benoit. Up to and including his boss battle.
Conservation of Ninjutsu: Subverted by Blue Mist Squadron. Your first encounter with them has a mere three of them give you quite a challenge, only for a cut scene to reveal there are at least ten more, let alone their commander. Your subsequent battle with them however has you slightly more powerful, but it is a difficult fight none the less. Then you have to take on the Commander...
Cool Starship: The Dante. It makes Red Dwarf look like a toothpick, has a crew of thousands, has automated death-robot development facilities providing a machine army of millions, an operational army of SpaceFighters that it can launch, repair and refuel, research centers for developing new weapons, an onboard city for the crew and a planet destroying Wave Motion Gun.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Benoit, pariah of genre-savvy villains everywhere, understands perfectly that even with the gigantic forces of the Dante on his side, Jutah is Badass enough to still be a significant threat. So rather than have a straight fight with Jutah, he gives him exactly one chance to join him then purges the entire part of the ship that Jutah is on, jettisoning him into space. If it weren't for his friends being there to pick him up almost immediately, Jutah's story would have ended right there.
Determinator: Jutah Fate. If it's in his mission directives, he will accomplish it. Whether it is to battle a legion of tanks, rescue a superior from an impregnable robotic prison or destroy a battleship the size of the Eurasian landmass single-handedly, literally nothing can stop him.
Dirty Coward: Micino. Forgoing any attempt at stopping the Dante with her seductive wiles, she instead orders Jutah to destroy the oxygen production plants inside the Dante's civilian sectors to provide her with enough chaos to escape in exchange for information as to Annri's whereabouts.
Double Jump: Jutah has an Air Dash at his disposal as well as a Wall Jump, with the former being absolutely crucial for escaping not only the attacks of his enemies, but his own too.
Exotic Weapon Supremacy: Is someone using an E-Unit? He's probably an unstoppable force of nature that can only be defeated by another E-Unit specialist. Though this could be due to the two particular characters who use them, they are still awesome weapons.
Faux Action Girl: The entire female cast is almost useless, but then again so is everyone else compared to Jutah.
For Massive Damage: The Blue Mist commander can be dealt extra damage by setting bombs on his yoyos. Later in the fight, this becomes his only weak spot.
Game-Breaking Bug: Some copies simply cannot load the cut scene after the Blue Mist commander, freezing the game. Especially frustrating because this boss fight becomes somewhat luck-based towards the end. When the bug happens, Jutah walks through a door and the game simply stops on a black screen. Your last save will be before the Elevator Action Sequence vs. the Blue Mist unit. If you experience this bug, try playing the game on an original grey PlayStation, not a PS3, a PS2 or a P Sone.
In Medias Res: After a brief prologue that explains almost nothing, the game starts off minutes before the party reaches the Dante. The subject of the team's nature as a penal squad is only detailed in the manual, the reasons for the attack are given next to no lip service, and Jutah is the sole recipient of some meager back story.
Just a Kid: Averted by Tim. Despite being a preteen his skills are respected and made the most of by his comrades. John is quick to chastise him when he start blubbering with fear however.
Killer Yoyo: An attack used by the Blue Mist commander.
Lady of War: Subverted by Annri, who despite being the team's superior officer has the least combat experience. Which is to say no combat experience at all, outside of simulations and studying combat theory.
Large and in Charge: The Dante's Commander is an obese, bald cyborg with a deeply hammy brogue.
Laser Blade: Wielded by some enemy mooks, notably the Hard Shells. They subvert their usual "Ultimate Weapon" status, as they are trumped by the E-Unit in this regard. That won't stop one from completely ruining Jutah given half a chance though.
Mirror Match: The final battle with Benoit turns out like this, as Benoit is a neigh-peerless E-Unit specialist too. Quite apart from being the only boss who fights Jutah on foot without power armor or a tank, his techniques are identical to your own. Being a thoroughly dishonorable prick however, Benoit still uses the Brain Room's holographic display system to create illusion clones of himself and seize you with a gigantic image of himself that crushes you. Not only that, but throughout the battle he displays images of Dante's impact with Hornet in an attempt to make you think you are too late to stop him anyway.
Mood Whiplash: The game briefly segues into survival-horror territory when the Bio-weapons are introduced.
Nintendo Hard: Quite a difficult game on its own right, but merciless in ranking high on the levels.
Obviously Evil: Benoit is probably one of the most transparently untrustworthy characters imaginable. His first line of dialogue is overtly sinister and clues in any viewer still awake to his malignant intentions..
One-Man Army: Jutah. Has he been ordered to destroy your army, your ship and your Humongous Mecha with you still driving it? You probably already have a bomb stuck to your face.
Powered Armor: The Hard Shells and Blue Mist units both incorporate top-of-the-line power armor and field Humongous Mecha for their commanding officers.
The Power of Friendship: Arguably subverted. Jutah never has an epiphany regarding his own self worth no matter how much his comrades reach out to him, and the reason that he adamantly refuses to die and kicks the villain's arse is the fact that he's just that badass.
Protection Mission: Two. One at the end of the fifth level where you need to protect John and Tim, the other at the twelth level, where you need to protect Annri from the Bio-weapons.
Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Jutah's team are an odd crew of criminals and political trouble-makers, consisting of two mass murderers, a rebellious ethnic separatist, a seductive assassin, an inexperienced command officer and a twelve-year old escape pilot. They Fight Interstellar Tyranny!
Recurring Boss: Mercury harries you throughout the first half of the game, each time leaving battle with his Power Armor severely damaged and angrily demanding vengeance. He isn't even a particularly tough adversary, just an egotistical meathead who can't accept defeat.
Stripperiffic: Micino's costumes leaves nothing to the imagination, but seeing as she fancies herself as a vampish manipulator it's quite intentional on her part.
Shout-Out: Jutah's prisoner number, 655321, is directly taken from Alex De Large's prison number in A Clockwork Orange.
Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Subverted by Jutah. When Annri breaks down after being captured and ostensibly failing the mission, it's Jutah who encourages her in an honest, considerate way, praising her for the humanity she still has when compared to him. Given that up until this point Jutah has given every appearance of a callous, solitary hard-case who regards all of his comrades as pointless dead weight, this is an important moment for both characters.
Stealth Expert: Benoit is implied to be one, as he managed to unleash the Bio-Weapon horde and murder the entire command deck apparently without being detected by any party until it was too late.
Tempting Fate: Tim calls into question the reliability of the access codes that will get the team on to the Dante. Soon after the codes fail and the entire sabotage mission, barring one ship, is torn to shreds in minutes. However, the reason for this is that Benoit sold out the mission to provide a cover for his one-man invasion attempt.
Timed Mission: The entire game takes place under the threat of the Dante's destruction of Hornet, thus this is a motif throughout. However, many of the game's most challenging and exciting sequences take place with a countdown.
Title Confusion: The game's title lead many to think that the game was some kind of Stealth Action Adventure rushed out to cash in on the popularity of Metal Gear Solid, which had only been released seven months prior. Given how bad so many of these titles were due to the lackluster quality of their stealth game play most people steered clear of Silent Bomber. The title refers to Jutah and his stoic personality rather than his methods, which are anything but.
The Unfought: The Dante's Commanding Officer and entire command staff are a pile of smoldering corpses by the time Jutah reaches them, when his whole mission revolved around either taking them hostage or killing them himself. Given how easily Benoit dispatched them, they were probably push-overs.
Wave Motion Gun: As Jutah you find yourself staring down the barrels of a few of these. The real show stealer has to be the Dante's main cannon, which obliterates Hornet's entire navy in one half-charged shot and then attempts to destroy the whole planet with the following salvo.