Sometimes I just cannot find anything at my local retro game shop to save my life. You always see the countless Mario and Sonic games hogging up most of the shelf space at these stores, with little oddities sprinkled in to almost give you a fresh of breath air. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the old Mario and Sonic games, but every once in awhile I just want to pick a game off of the shelf and purchase it — even if I have never heard of the game before.
Enter BIMINI RUN for the Sega Genesis.
There it was, in between copies of Altered Beast and Columns, just sticking out like a damn sore thumb; the logo of the publishing company and the title on the spine of this $2.99 Sega Genesis game was calling to me like a Siren trying to rope in a weary traveler. This odd-looking game from 1990, Bimini Run, was released by the extremely obscure publishing company, NUVISION Entertainment, and it also appears to be the sole release by the company. Upon further research later on that day, I found out that NUVISION Entertainment had two other games in development for the Genesis that were cancelled: Swamp Thing and Bean Ball Benny, and that was it. There is very little information about this company, and it’s almost like they never existed (spooky! It’s almost Halloween, gimme a break!)… What we do know about NUVISION Entertainment will live on forever in Bimini Run, and that makes me feel incredibly sad for all parties involved in the creation of this game.
You may be asking, “what the hell is a bimini, and why is it running?” Well, to clarify some things for you, Bimini is the westernmost district of the Bahamas composed of a chain of islands located about 53 miles (81 km) due east of Miami, Florida. Bimini is the closest point in the Bahamas to the mainland United States (source: the always accurate, Wikipedia). The “Run” aspect of the title seems to stem from the fact that you are using your “powerful off-shore power boat” to traverse the waters in this area of the Bahamas in an effort to save your sister, Kim Ohara, who was kidnapped by the ruthless Dr. Orca.
The main character is a one, Kenji Ohara, and you will become incredibly familiar with this name as the developers use a horrific sound byte — “KENJI, COME IN!” — quite often. That damn sound byte will assault your ears every time you start a level, and occasionally throughout the stage to give you some hints as to what to do next. Kenji and his best friend (… of the night?), Luka, must speed across the water in a fantastically red speed boat to try to save Kenji’s sister. Your boat is equipped with guns and bombs to help you take down the enemy boats that are out to stop in you dead in the water. You must also manage your boat’s fuel level or Kenji, Luka, and Kim are done for!
The game is relatively short, hovering around that 25 minute mark for most people that are familiar with the game’s mechanics and controls. There are only five levels, and the last level takes the player completely out of the “realistic” feel of the game and plops you into what is known as the “Bimini Zone.” This last level is an alternate reality where you have to blow up sharks, sea monsters, and flying stingrays while following around a mermaid named, Marlyna, who helps you find Dr. Orca so you can take care of him once and for all.
Would I recommend a fellow gamer to track this game down? Sure, most copies (even complete) should run you between $5-8, and the fact that this is NUVISION Entertainment’s only published game adds a little bit of charm to this otherwise mediocre title. If any of you do seek this game out, I hope you all luck out and find this game like I did at your local retro game shop for dirt cheap. Strap on that life preserver and prepare yourself for a wet and wild ride all up in dat BIMINI ZONE!!