Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Nerdicus NES Review #89 : Blaster Master


Title : Blaster Master

Publisher : Sunsoft

Genre : Run 'N Gun / Platformer

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1988

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $4-$6

When you think of following a pet frog down a manhole swarming with mutants, only one thing comes to mind; Blaster Master for the NES. This was it folks. This was the game that reeled me in and pretty much got me hooked on the Nintendo for life. No it wasn't Mario, it wasn't Zelda. It was this bloody masterpiece that grabbed me by the throat and shoved me face first into the television screen.

One look at this game, and you were sold.

Maybe it was the insane box art with that horrifying creature on the front. It might have been the preview images they had printed on the back of the box. I couldn't help but think to myself "These were NES graphics!?". Maybe it was the fact that on the back the description was talking about how the New York sewer systems don't even compare to the monstrosities you're about to encounter. 

Trust me, I know New York Sewers. I've been in one before (long story for another time)


Blaster Master was one of the first games to introduce a split game-style mode throughout the games play through. The first mode has the player take control of a tank called SOPHIA in a 2D platforming style. Hmm, you know what? To this day I never understood why the tank was called SOPHIA. Was that supposed to be short for something? I can't figure it out.

Solitary Organic Photon Homing Integrated Assault

Sophisticated Oven Pie Heating Ingested Apples

or..maybe it was just Sophia...

Anyway, In this mode you battle against mutants using your main cannon and variety of special weapons that could be collected across the map. Ammunition is limited, but they are pretty much necessary to get past some of the more difficult areas in this 2D mode. Most of them are just a wide variety of missiles, but their power is worth it. Who can resist the ability to crush your enemies in one fell swoop?

The other play mode was a top down perspective run 'n' gun where you would lead Jason through a series of Labyrinths until you ultimately arrive at the boss for that area. This is where you'll notice a lot of similarities to another game created by Sunsoft. A little game by the name of FESTER'S QUEST.

For those of you that HATE Fester's Quest, you seriously need to give it a shot. The game play is IDENTICAL to this portion of Blaster Master. So if you have an undying love for this game, I beg you listen to me and attempt Fester's Quest again. It's NOT that bad.

Ahem, anyway. You run around the labyrinths, destroying mutants and collecting power ups for your gun. The stronger your gun is, obviously, the more damage you deal to enemies. Besides your normal gun, you'll also gain access to grenades, which are basically your special weapon in this mode.
While traversing levels in this mode, you'll also encounter a few "puzzles" where you'll either need to move around blocks to get into new areas, or activate switches to open doors. Nothing to crazy, and it's basically just there to defeat the monotony of mindlessly blasting minions.

Eventually, you'll come face to face with the bosses of each level. They're basically just glorified mutants, and they all seem to be just massive animals. I mean you'll fight crabs, insects, and frogs to name a few. The only interesting one are the two last bosses in this game, which you guessed it, is the monster on the box.

I mean come on, Sunsoft! YOU JUST INCLUDED A SPOILER ON THE FRONT OF YOUR BOX! Why would you do such a thing!? Although, it does make you wonder throughout your entire play through if you're going to encounter the damn thing. Then when you finally do, you say to yourself "Finally! Time to kill this mother......." Of course, i didn't say that when I was 7 years old, but I had that sort of mentality. 

But there is one more boss that's even cooler than the one on the front cover, but I won't spoil that for you if you haven't beaten this game before.

So just how good is this game? Well the two play styles are done exceptionally well, and they both work. The way it was introduced was a good way to keep things interesting, and both modes were equally hard.

And when I say hard, I mean this is one of the hardest games I played when I was a kid. I mean, it took me years to beat this. No joke. There was a time where I legitimately thought you were NOT able to get past a certain point. I couldn't figure it out for ages. I think it was a part where you actually had to go back to previous areas, but I couldn't for the life of me find out where.

Visually, this game still remains one of the prettiest for the NES, and even after being released in 1988 it still holds up to games that came out years later. The soundtrack is also one of the most memorable, and I can still whistle some of the songs from this game.

When I say this is one of the best on the NES, I mean it. If you haven't gotten your hands on this game yet, get off your arse and do so. This is a MUST HAVE for any retro game collector, and remains one of my favorites to this day.

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until next time. Keep on gaming!



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