Blaster Master (NES)

May 26, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Blaster Master Title ScreenBlaster Master Area 1Blaster Master Overhead Section

(Note: This is an unfinished, Evolving Review.  Stay tuned for futher updates as I complete more of the game.) 

I’m a big fan of “underdog” games, hidden gems that not everyone has played.  Yeah, everyone knows that Mario and Sonic and Zelda are going to be good games, but what about the games that flew under the radar and never became megahits?  There are some great ones out there with interesting and unique play mechanics.  Enter Blaster Master.

I’d heard of Blaster Master and saw it for sale at used game stores several times, but didn’t know much about it.  I just knew that it was some kind of shooter.  But after I saw it pop up on a couple of different “underrated” or “hidden gems” lists for the NES and I ran across a copy for $4, I decided it was time to give it a chance.

When I first started playing it, I was blown away by the intro.  I mean, how many games revolve around your pet frog growing to massive size because of radioactive waste in your backyard, then lead to you falling down a hole and discovering a tank that will help you do battle against radioactive mutants living beneath the Earth’s crust??  This is NES storytelling at its finest, folks.

Anyway, even though the story had me going “Huh?” I was impressed right away.  The graphics were solid, the controls were quite good, and even the music was well above average.  But as I played through the first stage, a whole other side of the game revealed itself.  I could leave my tank!  At any time, I could hop out of my tank and go it on foot.  This let me explore areas that the tank itself couldn’t fit.  But then my mind was about to be totally blown.  There are certain doors you can only enter on foot, and when you do, the game completely switches around to an overhead view!  This is like two games in one!  On top of that, the game’s world is all intertwined, meaning there’s lots to explore.  Instead of going level by level, you’ll be traveling through areas multiple times with different abilities each time, allowing more and more to be explored.  It’s kind of a “Metroid-lite” feel, and I like it a lot.

Thoughts So Far: I’ve completed almost half the game, and I have the feeling it’s just going to get better.  Judging by the powerups that you can collect later on, there’s a lot  more to do.  I love the dual play mechanics of both sidescrolling and overhead shooting in the same game.  There are just two flaws so far: horrible slowdown when more than a couple enemies are on the screen at once and the total lack of any save or password feature.  This is going to be a beast to beat in one sitting.

Blaster Master On FootBlaster Master More Overhead ActionBlaster Master Status Screen

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About Tim
My name is Tim. I live in Madison, WI. I'm a retro gamer.

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