Bonk’s Adventure is a 2D platform game developed by Atlus and Red Company. It was launched in 1990 for the TurboGrafx-16. The player is a caveman fighting dinosaurs and other prehistoric enemies. Bonk’s mission is to save the princess Za, a small rose plesiosaur that has been kidnapped by the evil King Drool, a terrible tyrannosaurus. In the arcade version of the game Bronk receives the assistance of a character who is actually the female version of himself.
To kill his enemies, Bonk uses “Bonking” an attack that consists of hitting with his forehead. Throughout the game, Bonk has only three hearts that act as his life units. If Bonk is hit, he loses a heart; it can be recovered by eating fruits or vegetables. Bonk can also collect pieces of meat that will make him stronger and give him special abilities.
Resulting from a close collaboration between the Hudson Soft publisher and the electronics manufacturer NEC, PC-Engine appears in Japan in 1987, and then a few years later in North America as the TurboGrafx-16. Although its central microprocessor is an 8 bit, the US division is trying to pass the console for a 16 bit in order to compete with the rival consoles.
Over the years, the TurboGrafx-16 gets some improvements. Unfortunately, one of them bears the fatal blow to the career of the TG-16, the failed launch of the Super CD-ROM. While in Japan, almost all of the owned PC-Engine support CDs, making it a vital component, the Super CD is far too expensive. In addition, although there are hundreds of games in Japan on CD-ROM, most are RPGs full of voice and long texts that are expensive to translate. They will be sadly neglected.
The games that are translated, slowly but surely, unfortunately are not the best ones. Some great titles cannot be exploited in North America due to the exclusivity contracts that the developers signed with Nintendo, obliging them to release only NES versions.
In four years, the TurboGrafx-16 has never really managed to establish itself outside Japan (PC Engine) and, since then, NEC has not tried again to create a game console.