Although they have the same title, the 2009 high-def PS3 version of Bionic Commando is a sequel to the 1988 8-bit game for Nintendo Entertainment System -- at least as far as the slightly re-envisioned story goes. Players return to the role of Nathan "R.A.D." Spencer, a heroic veteran soldier who has been enhanced with a powerful, extendable, metallic arm. The hero can use his arm to grab objects or attack enemies at a distance, to pull himself upwards to the ceiling or lower himself down, and to propel himself through an area at high speed, horizontally and vertically, by swinging from one handhold to the next.
After infiltrating the headquarters of the group known as the Imperialists and single-handedly foiling an elaborate plot to revive the greatest evil in modern history, Nathan Spencer should have been hailed forevermore as a hero. Instead, he is betrayed by the leader of the government he served and he is sentenced to death for crimes he did not commit. Yet on the day of his execution, fate steps in again: A terrorist attack of mass destruction turns the city to rubble, leaving those who betrayed the hero in need of his services once more. And so, Spencer's role reverses, from scapegoat soldier to humankind's best hope for survival: the Bionic Commando.
In addition to the single-player campaign, online multiplayer matches feature bionically enhanced versions of deathmatch, king of the hill, and other time-tested modes of play. In single- or multiplayer games, many approaches are available in combat. Shooting is usually an option, and a commando can hold enemies at a distance as he peppers them with gunfire. The arm's grappling hook-like hand itself can be used as a weapon, at any distance. The arm can lift heavy objects, even when fully extended, allowing the hero to hold something over an enemy and then let gravity do the dirty work. Unlike earlier iterations in Capcom's Bionic Commando line, the game is rated M by the ESRB for its presentation of violence, blood, and coarse language.