Blaster Master – NES
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Developer: Tokai Engineering
Release Date : November, 1988
Nerd Rating: 6 out of 10
Blaster Master. The title says more than the rest of the game’s content, combined. One of the most difficult games of all time. One of the only games that I was never able to complete, before the wonderful world of emulators came into play. I loathe this game. But I also adore it. Why would I feel such mixed emotions for such an awesome sounding game? Because those fuckers at Sunsoft made it damn near impossible to complete. The story could be kind of cool, if there was some kind of explanation instead of, like, 10 fucking photo slides with not even one line of text for clarification. The execution feels rather cheap. I believe this could’ve been a truly badass legend in gaming history, but I think the folks at Sunsoft, more or less, ruined their own chances.
Let’s go back to the story. You can concoct a general idea of the background from those shitty slides at the title screen. Or if you read the instruction manual (if you actually HAVE it) you get a brief explanation of what is going on. Dude’s (Jason) pet frog, Fred, “decided he had enough of being locked up in a fish bowl and made a dash for the door.” …really. That was an exact quote. “Jason was totally amazed to find Fred running toward a huge radioactive chest.” I could give some slack if this was an Asian game or something where the translation didn’t work out so well, but look at the title screen above…..Sun Corporation of America. It’s not even like I’m complaining about grammar, I just can’t believe that this story seemed legit to the higher ups at Sunsoft. I’m not even going to describe the rest. Look at the scan to figure the rest out. They even, inadvertently, swap your name with the frog’s. In the slideshow at the title screen, it’s obviously Jason who landed next to the huge “armoured” (did they mean Sun UK?) vehicle.
Then there’s the gameplay. The controls are pretty good. Jumping around in your tank is actually smooth and accurate. You have two types of modes, the side-scrolling open world outside area business, and the overhead cam kind of inside buildings type of view. All of the enemies are kind of odd. Most of them are greyish metal looking and are not what you would expect mutants from the underworld to look like. Killing them is easy, for the majority of them. The only time you have a hard time killing any of these mutant enemies is when you have to fight the mutant boss of each stage. They don’t really have that much of an attack pattern, most of the time. The game is overall, simple, but the thing that makes it super difficult is getting around to all of the 8 different “areas” without dying. It’s too easy to die, accidentally, by falling into a lava pit, or to fall down a ladder and instantly lose all of your health from a short distance. The layout of the areas keep you going back to previous areas to get other equipment for your tank and it can get quite annoying. The graphics are ok, but they get all scrambled way too much. and when there are too many enemies on the screen at once, the game gets so choppy and slow, it’s the equivalent of attempting to play Black Ops on a Commodore 64.
The biggest problem with this game is the lack of save points. You have to play this through all in one sitting. It’s not one of those games that you can save before a hard battle. You only get a few (I think 3?) continues and then you have to start all over. You only have 3 guys per continue, and it’s way easier to fuck up and lose them over dumb shit than you expect. The bigger problem is when you get towards the end of the game, you get to the last few areas that are way easier to die in than the beginning, and when you lose all 3 lives, you have to start at the beginning of that area, allowing you to fuck up easily, again, and hope you make it to the boss. Then the final boss is so hard to kill with the shitty gun you have, that there is no way you can kill him. Chances are, you were down to your last continue, by that point, and dying ends the game and you have to start over from the beginning. It sucks. It really sucks.
There are also too many spots when inside of building where it is impossible to get an item. In the screenshot to the right, there is water surrounding the entire platform with the retarded object that makes your gun more powerful. How is it possible to get that? It’s not. Was this just a way to add a little pizzazz to that room? It’s dumb. What does the “F” even mean? You always have unlimited ammo, the gauge that goes up when you collect one of these is labeled “gun”, so what is “F?” Who gives a shit.
Blaster Master has a really cool idea, and the controls are fairly simple, I just hate the way they limit the continues and don’t offer any save points. It’s fine if you’re one of those people that just loves a challenge, which I do, but this is ridiculous. If you play the game, you’ll see how much harder it is than it sounds.
With all of that said, I don’t think that this game is even that bad. In fact, it was one of my favorites, growing up. I was too young to care about story, graphics, or anything other than beating it. I hate that it is damn near impossible to complete without Game Genie or an emulator, but I love the whole idea of it. I challenge anyone to play this game with no cheats and actually complete it. I don’t see it happening. But even though I have so much to complain about, I still love this game. There were sequels made, but I haven’t had the joy of playing them, yet. Maybe they perfected all of the issues I had with this one. Overall, this game only gets a 6 out of 10, but does have a way of making you want to play over and over. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.
Reviewed by Doobs
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