You're not logged in! Sort it out. Sign In | Register | Lost Password?

Bomber Raid – Master System Review

Released in 1989; Bomber Raid for the Master System is a vertically-scrolling shoot-em-up developed by Sanritsu and is infamous for being the final Master System game officially published by SEGA in Japan during the console’s lifespan. As a result of being a game that released in Japan, it also has a secret FM soundtrack that anyone in the PAL territories could never really access during the console’s original run, as those regions never received the FM Sound Unit or a version of the Master System where it’s built into the console itself.

This 1942-style shooter sees you piloting an era-appropriate fighter craft into enemy territory where you have to shoot down various enemy aircraft, tanks and ships. Your standard attack is mapped to button 1 and your special cluster bomb attack is mapped to button 2, but you have limited use of these bombs due to how much damage they can cause. It’s worth saving these cluster bombs for particularly dire circumstances when you’re getting boxed in by lots of enemies, or against the game’s end-of-level bosses which require you to sink a lot more firepower into.

In addition to the standard 2 firing options, there is also a selection of power ups that are drip fed to you throughout the game which can help turn the tide in your favour. Shoot the item capsules to reveal a ‘P’ icon that allows you to slowly power up your main shot for more attack power. You can also gain access to ‘S’ icons that can give you additional movement speed, and red number icons that give you additional options that can be arranged in 4 different formations. These formations are designated a number from 1 to 4 and when the number icon appears you can shoot it to change the number that appears on said icon. Once you collect the number icon you activate the option in the desired formation. Option 1 gives you horizontal attacks from either side of your plane, option 2 gives you a wide, forward-facing spread shot, option 3 gives you a reverse spread shot that allows you to attack enemies directly behind you, and option 4 gives you another way to shoot horizontally.

You’d think that the sprite limitations of the Master System would make this a largely bare bones experience when it comes to the density of on screen enemies, but surprisingly there’s actually a lot of enemies and enemy fire on screen at any time, with very little slowdown or flicker to spoil the overall experience. The visual presentation is really solid across the board, with a lot of variety to the enemies. You’ll find yourself fighting other aircraft, tanks, gun emplacements and warships. As you fly through the stages, the main scenery you’ll experience is dense jungle, dirt and water. This marks my only major complaint in regards to the visuals – stages tend to look very similar as the game progresses, but the artwork itself is easy to discern and by no means ugly. Just don’t expect a lot of exciting artwork variation from stage to stage.

Bomber Raid has a pretty standard setup as far as shoot-em-ups go, but it’s very responsive to control and offers a decent challenge for shmup fans. In fact, I’d even go as far to say that this is actually a pretty good alternative to the Power Strike games which are often regarded as some of the best shmups on the Master System. Sure, the Power Strike games are easy recommendations due to their overall quality, but the collector’s prices for both of those games are incredibly steep nowadays. I can only recommend those games if you want to emulate them because their current market value is absolutely insane; especially for Power Strike II. The power up system in Bomber Raid actually bears a striking resemblance to Power Strike making it a great equivalent for shoot-em-up fans looking to expand their Master System collection. It’s always a small joy to discover a quality game that is still affordable for those of us who don’t have endless amounts of money to pump into a retro game collection.

Bomber Raid is so much more than a 1942 clone with its wide array of power-ups, dense and varied in-game action, and well-defined visuals that aren’t too cluttered or difficult to discern. While it definitely lacks of lot of stage variety when it comes to presentation, it’s a great budget equivalent for those of us who can’t afford the Power Strike games and that’s hugely appreciated in these days where retro games are becoming high commodity items.


Written by Lewis “Sonic Yoda” Clark on 17/03/2024

Video review published 06/03/2024

Cartridge Scan


← Return to SEGA Master System reviews

SEGADriven is proud affiliates with the following websites:

- Dreamcast Live
- Emerald Coast
- Project Phoenix Productions
- Radio SEGA
- Saturday Morning Sonic
- SEGA Retro
- Sonic HQ
- Sonic Paradise
- The Dreamcast Junkyard
- The Pal Mega-CD Library
- The Sonic Stadium
SEGADriven and its original content are copyrighted to their respective authors. Media related directly to SEGA is copyrighted to its respective authors. Any comments on SEGA-related materials do not represent SEGA themselves. All rights reserved 2008-2022.