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Bionic Commando

aka: Hitler no Fukkatsu: Top Secret
Moby ID: 30992
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Description official descriptions

At some point during the 1980's the world has become a stage of battle between the Federation and the Empire. The latter sees itself as the successor state to the malevolent Badds, also known as the Nazz. One day, the Federation discovers that the Imperial leader Generalissimo Killt decides to complete an unfinished project codenamed "Albatros" and started by the Badds. The Federation sends their hero Super Joe to stop the Empire's plans, but he is captured. Ladd Spencer, a member of the special FF Battalion, is dispatched to rescue Super Joe and uncover the enemy's secrets.

This version of Bionic Commando is loosely based on the original arcade game and its computer ports, having different levels and plot. The protagonist is a soldier with a bionic arm that extends and contracts. His arm allows him to grab on to fixed objects to swing around and climb up platforms, which is the only way to do so due to the lack of a jumping ability. The arm also grabs opponents and pulls them towards the player character.

After most levels the Bionic Commando will receive items. Often these items are required to successfully complete other levels. Additionally, each level will require a different colored communicator in order to make sense of message traffic.


  • ヒットラーの復活: Top Secret - Japanese spelling

Groups +



Credits (NES version)

14 People (13 developers, 1 thanks)

Character Design
Special Thanks
  • Mr.FF
US instruction manual by
Cover Artwork by



Average score: 85% (based on 17 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 47 ratings with 2 reviews)

An eerie platform classic

The Good
First of all, there are slight spoilers here, but since this is not a story-based game, it doesn't really matter.

In this game you play a soldier with a bionic arm who is looking for a guy named Super Joe, who has been captured by an evil fascist regime (in the Japanese version it's nazis, but they've renamed them in the European and US releases).

Bionic Commando is still one of the games that has most successfully implemented such a simple yet very entertaining thing like swinging in the gameplay. Such games as Castlevania IV and Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb has tried to implement swinging, but none of them has done it as well as in Bionic Commando.

Surprisingly it is very simple. You cannot jump, but instead you have to rely on using your bionic arm to swing over cliffs and climb up on platforms, all the while avoiding getting killed by enemies. It works perfectly. With a little bit of practice you can move around quite swiftly and swing-jump from different platforms without even touching the ground. The gameplay is excellent, in other words.

After completing certain levels you gain new items or weapons to aid you in your quest. Some weapons are more useful than others, though, as always in these kinds of games. You can also find things like new radio transmitters, health drinks and flares.

You choose which level you want to go to next on a map, and then your chopper flies there, and you can engage in battle, or if the level is a neutral zone, in more friendly activities like meeting with an ally. You can't choose freely, though, you must gather certain objects and clear certain areas before you can move on to others, so the game is still linear, in a good way. This game definitely benefits from direction.

I also like the story, or rather the design of the game. The story itself is quite simple and unoriginal, but the design in the game is so strange that the whole game feels more complex than it really is. The design tells the real story, in a way. This is mostly due to the mix between a futuristic look and an old world war II nazi-look. It doesn't matter that Capcom has renamed the villain, anyone with normal eyesight can see that it is Hitler who is being resurrected at the end.

All in all, the setting of the game, the design and the futuristic nazi-theme creates a very special atmosphere that is bigger than the the ultra-thin story would otherwise allow. The music also helps to set the mood as it has a cold, dark feel to it that adds to the overall oddness of the game. It is, in most parts, excellent.

The Bad
There are some parts of this game that works better and other that doesn't work so well. One of those things that might look interesting on paper, but is just annoying in reality, is the use of multiple radio transmitters. You have to find the right transmitter for the right level. If you bring the wrong one, you won't be able to finish the level and you have to start over, trying a different transmitter. This is just plain annoying and it doesn't add anything to the game. It's just a way of preventing the player to skip levels and go too far ahead on the map without completing the game in the "right" order.

Another annoying thing are the trucks that move around on the map. If you encounter any of these, a short sequence will commence where you run around killing soldiers in a Commando-style top-down view. It's not fun, and it's so easy it's really just in there to steal your precious time.

Although I like the idea of finding items that you can use on certain levels in order to get by, there is far too much travelling around looking for transmitters (and while travelling you constantly get attacked by these dumb trucks). I like that the game isn't completely linear, but I would have preferred another way of restricting the player than using these annoying transmitters, and they really shouldn't have implemented those trucks.

There are very few variations of bosses (a guy with a stick that really doesn't do anything, a useless flying robot and some guy with a shield are the most common ones) and none of them are particularly difficult. I don't remember having too much difficulty defeating even the last boss either.

The Bottom Line
Despite its flaws this is a great classic, mostly because it is still fun to play due to the great controls and all that lovely swinging. Even Tarzan would have been jealous of this. It also has an eerie and original atmosphere due to the clash between futuristic sci-fi and nazi-design.

NES · by Joakim Kihlman (231) · 2008

Bionic arm? Why didn't we think of that sooner?

The Good
Bionic Commando easily falls into the "innovative" category of game design. Rather than being able to jump, your character is equipped with a bionic arm by which to climb, swing, and use as an offensive measure (shove enemies). The arm is somewhat counter-intuitive at first but it grows on you. Aside from the arm, the game features an impressive selection of weapons.

The Bad
I did not like the confusion that came from thinking, "These enemies, and especially their leader, remind me a lot of Nazis," only to find out that they were originally Nazis and that Capcom made a half-hearted attempt to censor that aspect when bringing the game out of Japan.

The Bottom Line
Bionic Commando is a unique, novel game that takes some getting used to. But it is a great challenge and worth the effort for the surprise at the end.

NES · by Multimedia Mike (20664) · 2007


Subject By Date
First Capcom Nintendo game swears. Ben R. Jul 28, 2014



The player character's name in the NES version is Ladd. It's not mentioned in the manual nor in the game until the ending sequence.


There was a novelization of this game that was put out by Nintendo. While the novelization is true to the original game in most respects, the protagonist's name is changed to Jack Markson instead of Ladd Spencer.

Version differences

In the original Japanese version the Empire is a neo-Nazi state led by the revived Adolf Hitler. Most references to that were removed in the localized Western releases of the game: all swastikas were replaced by generic flags with eagles, the leader of the Empire was named Killt instead of the more German-sounding Weizmann, etc. Fragments of the original setting survived in the alternate name of the Empire's predecessors, the Nazz, as well as in the unchanged graphics depicting Hitler, though his name was changed to Master-D.


  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #32 (Best 100 Games of All Time)


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Corn Popper.

NES added by KnockStump.

Additional contributors: KnockStump, Shoddyan, Alaka, LepricahnsGold, CesarMFM, Cantillon, Dawgbb, Anthony Durrant.

Game added November 10, 2007. Last modified April 1, 2024.