Title : BlaZeon: The Bio-Cyborg Challenge
Publisher : Atlus
Developer : AI
Genre : Side-Scrolling Shooter
Players : 1 Player
Release Date : 1992
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $25-$30
Blazeon, eh? Sounds like an evolved form of Eevee. You know. Flareon. Umbreon. Jolteon..BLAZEON! Oh, that must be it! Blazeon is the mega-evolved form of Flareon. I see what they did there..it may have been 20 years ago but they knew what they were doing. Sucking us Pokemon lovers in.
Sorry to get your hopes up, but no, this isn't a Pokemon game. It's another side scrolling shooter. It may be a shmup, but you've gotta admit, that is some pretty bad-ass box art. It looks like it's pulled straight from an anime. I could only wish the actual game looked like it, but it doesn't. It isn't bad though, but it doesn't look that much different from all the others I've played on the 16-bit systems.
We may have some luck on our side though, as this game was published by ATLUS who was known for pumping out some high quality games back in the day. Hell, even the games they release now are typically better than average. Here's hoping they put a twist on the everyday shooter, and we may just have that.
Apparently, this shooter does things a little bit differently than your ordinary one, so how about we cut the chit chat and get right to the nitty gritty.
Once the game starts, you may be thinking to yourself, "Oh, boy. This is going to be boring." It feels like a been there, done that scenario, and it sort of is. Until you realize, wait a second. Where are the power ups? You're stuck in a pretty weak damn ship, blasting away little minions with tiny pellets and then it appears. Your first bio-cyborg!! And here is where the fun begins.
Instead of collecting power ups in this game, your wittle baby ship has the ability of freezing cyborg enemies allowing you take the mover. Basically, your ship transforms into these cyborgs and grants you their abilities. And there's roughly seven of them to choose from! Seven! WOWZA!
And here they are! (thanks Wiki for giving me the names lol)
Mars : Shoots a three way laser cannon. The most common of the cyborgs, and one of the weaker ones.
Grain Beat / Odyssey : Another three cannon cyborg, but you are able to control where these cannons fire. A bit more options with this guy.
Shadow Blade : A speed demon of a cyborg with two cannons and a shield allowing it to be invincible for a few seconds. Good for strafing runs lol.
Titan: A brute of a cyborg, with a laser cannon and unlimited homing missiles. UNLIMITED!!!! Love...homing missiles..
Neptune: This guy has larger laser than the Titan, and also two massive bombs to basically clear out an entire screen ahead of you.
Baron: A ground unit specialist, with bombs capable of destroying everything on the ground firing up on you. Don't really like this guy, but whatever. I usually just avoid the ground enemies lol.
Hyper D: The slug of the cyborgs, but is basically built like a tank. Two large beam guns, and unlimited vertical shields which make it practically impenetrable. Then it's got the flare, which damages everything and destroys all enemy fire. CRAZY-SAUCE.
As with any shooter, there are numerous boss battles that occur at the end of each stage. Massive beasts that pummel you with an endless onslaught of missiles and bullets. The bosses also have something called boss-scoring, which determines how many points you get from defeating the boss based on how quickly you do it. So get your trigger finger ready.
Some of the bosses are absolutely insane and overpowered in this game, while others are total push overs. It's really hit or miss. I found myself having difficulty with earlier ones and breezing past later ones. It really depends on what cyborg you are controlling during the boss battles.
Visually, this game is pretty appealing. The ships and monsters have some really good designs, and the backgrounds are insanely detailed at some points. This isn't the prettiest shooter I've played, but it's up there. You really get a sense of the sheer size of the bosses, which is great.
Music is also top notch, and I've noticed that quite a bit with Atlus games. They tend to love their soundtracks, and that's a good thing. I can't stress enough how important good music is to a game. It sometimes feels like I'm in a techno club with all that heavy bass. Can't help but bob my head while I play this lol.
As for the game play, besides the interesting cyborg possession element, it's just another shooter. I enjoyed it, but it's not something groundbreaking. Still, deserving a spot in any retrogamers collection.