Why Buck Bumble Should Be Remembered For More Than Just Its Theme Song
Since its release back in 1998, Nintendo’s Buck Bumble has been almost entirely lost to time… except for its theme song. If you look up anything about the game, you’ll see a long list of posts about people remembering how great the theme song is and wanting to know who it’s by. And it’s true—the theme song is great. It takes approximately three seconds of listening to the opening song for it to be repeating in my head for the next few months, and I’m surprisingly okay with that. But while I love the song as much as the next person, I feel that Buck Bumble has been cheated by being remembered as “that one game with the great theme song.” Personally, I can’t believe this game isn’t remembered as “that one game where you shoot and blow stuff up as a bee.”
Buck Bumble is definitely one of the quirkier games out there, as its premise is centered around insects in the London area that have mutated because of a factory chemical spill. Some of the insects band together and call themselves the “Herd,” with the aim to take over the garden and then eventually the entire world. As the player, you play as Buck Bumble, a bumblebee who has had cyborg technology implanted in him, and his goal is to lead the Resistance and stop the Herd from accomplishing their mission.
I have no idea how I ended up owning this bizarre game, as I do not remember seeing it anywhere or buying it, but I am glad that I have it. While it did receive criticism for distance fog and low-resolution graphics, it also received a significant amount of praise for not having restricted paths and for implementing newer mechanics, such as being able to pause in the air and push a button to drop immediately to the ground. Looking back, I can see why it would receive such praise, although those are not the features that left a lasting impression on me.
Buck Bumble, ultimately, should be remembered for its gameplay. Playing as a bee that could use a bunch of different weapons to obliterate other bugs and creatures was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can still remember using the rocket launcher and guided-missile launcher to blow up some of the larger critters. Overall, it almost felt like playing Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, except… weirder.
More than that though, I will always remember this game as the shooter game that I had the most difficult time aiming in. I mean, think about it—you’re a bee that’s shooting at other bees. Can you imagine how small of a target that is? True, sometimes the targets were larger (such as the beetles), but especially when trying to battle against someone in multiplayer, finding them on a large map and actually being able to hit them was a special challenge.
But perhaps the most bizarre feature of all was one of the multiplayer modes, Buzz Ball. Basically, you are trying to score on the other player by hitting on soccer ball into their net—but you’re still a tiny bee. While the ball is probably 100x your size, you’re still expected to hit the ball with your body or your weapons to direct it into the goal. Let me just tell you—this becomes amusing quite quickly.
So, you’re telling me that Buck Bumble is only going to be remembered for its catchy theme song, and not for its bees using guns to obliterate other bugs or bees using guns to play soccer? No, I refuse to accept that.
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Stephanie is an Editor at TheGamer, solidly aligned chaotic neutral. Though her favorite game is Fire Emblem: Three Houses, she vows to do everything in her power to one day see a Legend of Dragoon remake. Absolutely nothing can top her immense love for The Lord of the Rings.
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