Monday, August 18, 2014

Nerdicus SNES Review #35: Blackthorne

Title : Blackthorne

Publisher : Interplay

Developer : Blizzard

Genre : Cinematic Platformer

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1994

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $15-$20

Before there was Warcraft. Before there was Starcraft. Before there was Diablo. Before Blizzard created any of their epic tales, they dabbled in some console games. They were pretty good games, but nothing really memorable. I had played Lost Vikings quite a bit when I was a kid, but that was about it. Hell, that game wasn't even a Blizzard game though. It was actually developed under their old company name, Silicon & Synapse.

Blizzard didn't really grab me until I played Warcraft for the PC, which I believe actually came out around the same time as Blackthorne. It took me awhile to realize that I had actually played Blizzard games on the 'ol 16-bit consoles. I had always thought Blizzard was just that Warcraft company. Lo and behold, they weren't. Sure they only had a few games out, but every company has to start somewhere.
Here we have Blackthorne, a game that is sort of a silent hit in my eyes. Everyone who played it, loved it, but really just skittered through the underworld of gaming for awhile. When I first saw the game I remember thinking it was some comic book hero I never heard of. That box art does a hell of a job of pulling you in though. Leave it to Blizzard and their genius art department to come up with the most kick-ass designs. A dude with a gun, ready to blast the crap out of some orcish looking monsters. Sign me up.

And if there is other thing that Blizzard is exceptional at. It's story. And by God. Blackthorne has got it all. Let's give this bad boy a go.

The story of Blackthorne is a real doozy. I can't even describe it because it'll take 3/4 of my review. But let me explain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up. The planet Tuul is divided into two kingdoms. One light, one dark. The dark is invading the light, and Kyle (the rightful ruler of the light kingdom) was sent to earth to be safe. 20 years later he is called upon to save the two kingdoms and join the two stones together. BOOM. Done. Got it? Good.

You'll notice right off the bat, that this game has some of the best cinematic on the SNES. The artwork is astounding. You shouldn't be surprised though, I mean this is Blizzard we are talking about. The KING of cut scenes. The story of the game will constantly be told between these 

Once you jump into the game play, you'll notice something familiar. It's really a cross between a lot of platformers you probably already played, with a nice touch of OUT OF THIS WORLD. And you remember how much we loved that game. Think of OUT OF THIS WORLD, just with the action of Castlevania or Metroid at some points. I'm serious, it can be that good at points.

The combat portion of this game is all about gunfights. It's not really a run-and-gun game though. You need to take your time when you're involved in a dual with the enemy. In order to defeat your opponents, you'll need to make use of the "wall lean" command. This allows you to lean up against the wall in order to avoid enemy fire. Be warned though, because enemies can do the same. At least Kyle can incorporate some blind fire at the enemy to try to take 'em out as they are firing.

As the game progresses, you will gain some power upgrades for your weapon, but primarily you'll be using the shotgun for most of the game. Not that this is a bad thing, it's a definitive weapon for destroying your enemies. 

The hardest part of the game is the platforming elements. I've found myself falling into pits due to my inability to make a jump, and that just ends up being the only annoying factor about this game too. The scenery becomes a tad bit repetitive, as do the puzzles. BUT Blizzard makes up for it by incorporating the story into every little quest you do. Get a key? So what, you get an awesome little narrative for doing so. It really carries you through the game.

So, what is GOOD about this game? HA! What isn't good about this game?

The animations of the characters are so reminiscent of OUT OF THIS WORLD. They are so fluid, but better drawn. Just like Blizzard to provide some great artwork as I've said already multiple times in this review. I can't help it. Blizzard artwork is revolutionary.

The atmosphere is beyond creepy in this game, and the dark tones really sets the mood. But the thing that really helps is the beyond disturbing soundtrack. 

Last but not least, it's all about the story. This is one of those games that you actually want to read the captions that pop up. The interactions you have with all the NPC's in the game are ACTUALLY meaningful. This is one of those games where you'll actually appreciate what you're accomplishing as the main character. Kyle is a hero through and through.

Final thought? Get this game. Now.

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until next time, keep on gaming!


1 comment:

  1. Just as a bit of additional information here, you credited Blizzard and their (admittedly brilliant) are department for the impressive cover art of this game. However, the credit for this cover actually belongs to legendary comic book artist Jim Lee, who was hired to draw the cover. It was probably the main reason I took notice of this game way back in the day, since I've been a huge fan of Lee's for decades.