Saturday, January 28, 2006

Simian Acres

There are only a few games of this last decade that have stuck to me, that make me want to run back and play them again. Most are on the Nintendo 64, some on the Nintendo Gamecube, some on Playstation/PS2. There's one in particular, though, that will always stick with me. That game, is called Blast Corps.

I hope you know what Blast Corps is, because if not, you need to stop reading this, shut off your computer, run to the nearest used games store, and buy a copy of this. Honestly, in my mind, this game comes close to the perfect game.

Imagine this- there is a nuclear carrier. Basically, it looks like an double wide Oscar Mayer Wiener truck. And the hot dogs on top are nuclear missiles. Well, turns out the truck malfunctioned, the missiles are leaking, and now it's on a direct course to the designated detonation point. Which wouldn't usually be a problem... but the thing is going straight. Meaning that it has to go through a number of cities and such to get to the point. And there are buildings and stuff in the way. See a problem?

Your job? Destroy, blow up, demolish everything in the path of that carrier at all costs. One little bump and the carrier goes BOOOOM! You get various vehicles to drive, I'll get into those later. And you have to do it fast. That carrier is moving at all times. All this makes for a wild, fast paced, original, blow-the-shit out of everything game.

Well, let me move on to a more formal review. But where to begin?


For a first generation, 1997 Nintendo 64 game, it's nice. Some impressive explosion effects. Textures are nice and no pixlation. The buildings look good too, though it's weird how blocky the buildings are. What really got me where the vehicle models. The metal shininess is wonderful. So are the vast canyons and the visual environments. 9/10


Wow. I know it's all personal preference, but the music in the game absolutely rocks. Sure, it may be a defined taste, but it works. There's anything from a hit of southern twang to hi-tech techno, and everything in between. Sound effects are hit and miss. Some, like the explosions, are nice; the annoying "D'OH!" sound of the driver getting stuck are not. Oh, and the "Dukes of Hazzard" car horn plays a respectable tune. That alone makes the sound effects tolerable. 9/10


The meat and potatoes of Blast Corps. There are a plethora of vehicles to choose from, although you must use certain ones on certain missions. The vehicles include-

Ramdozer: A typical, run-of-the-mill bulldozer. It plows through buildings with force, and not much stops it. Always fun to use, although it's rarely used. Easy to handle.

Backlash: Looks like an industrial pickup truck, and drives like one too. The only way to get this bad boy to knock anything down is by sliding into a building. This is done by holding down the L or R buttons and turning. A Bitch with a capital B to use in the beginning, it's rewarding to use near the end of the game. Learn to use this well, and it'll be your favorite wrecking machine.

Skyfall: It's a sand buggy on steroids. With a nitro boost. Uhh... not very powerful, it needs to fall onto things to destroy them (Get it? Skyfall? Oh, never mind)

Thunderfist: Big, silver, and ready to roll into things, this bad boy will somersault into even the largest of buildings with relative ease. His main level, Cromlech Court, is basically a technology skyscraper park to destroy. One of the best levels in the game.

Cyclone Suit: slightly bigger than the average person, this small mech likes to cartwheel into the buildings... and never stop. This one is hard to control, good thing you only have to use him a few levels.

J-Bomb: A throwback to Pilotwings/Pilotwings 64, this dual-rocketed robot flys with the greatest of ease. Then he plows into buildings ass first from up high. Rarely used, but a blast to use. J-Bomb also has the most annoying set of mini-missions in the whole game, whereas if you touch anything but the small targets, you lose. Still cool, though.

Ballista: A three-wheel terror in the right hands. It's small, it's fast, and it shoots missles. Hard to control and aim, but it's satisfying to blow up buildings with.

Sideswipe: I hate this thing. It's a truck with sides that expand to knock things over with. From the side. A pain in the ass to use, I can only think of one place you have to use it. Yikes. Avoid at all costs.

As I said in the intro, you have to destroy a bunch of buildings to beat each level, and not touch the carrier or let it hit anything in the meantime. The beginning and medium levels are usually easy, but the challenge is bumped up a notch in the hard levels. This is mostly because you need to use Backlash, but if you're good with it, you're golden.

There is two levels I want to point out in terms of originally and difficulty. The first is Oyster Harbor. You have about a total of 8 minutes to beat it, which seems like a long time, right? Wrong. First, using the Ballista, you need to blow up some crates to get to the Ramdozer. With the Ramdozer, you need to push TNT crates onto a crane, which you then need to move the crane to blow up the shipping container blocking the carriers way. Next, you need to fill in holes with blocks, which is a pain to do. Next, you must move boats into place so the carrier can cross on them. Uh oh- an indestructible building is at the end! You need to backtrack, and move a boat to get a TNT crate, then come back to blow up the building. And all this time, the carrier slowly moves forward.

The second level is Diamond Sands. A beautiful level, the carrier starts on a double pair of train tracks, and you can't run into it. A row of buildings on the train tracks await. Sounds easy, right? Once again, wrong. You control the Backlash, and you have to slide into the buildings. Well, after hitting a building, you'll notice only half of it breaks. Shit, you have to get on the other side and do the same thing! This level is hard as hell at first, and I've broken many a controller trying to beat it.

The only complaint about Blast Corps I can think of is that the game is way too short. There isn't enough main carrier levels to keep you going. Sure, there are a bunch of mini-missions, like racing and hitting small targets, but those feel more like a chore than gameplay. However, once you get all the gold medals, you unlock a sort of time trial mode, the point of which is to beat the carrier levels in the shortest amount of time possible. It certainly adds replay value, going for all of the Platinum medals.

A bit short, but what's there is pure gold. 9.5/10


So, where does that put us? All in all, almost a perfect game. It's original, it has explosions, it's fast paced, and it rocks. The only thing that could make it better is a sequel. Great graphics, wonderful music, and kickass gameplay is what makes a game so good. Replay value is huge and small at the same time, because if time trail and speed runs aren't your thing, you can pretty much beat this in a weekend and never come back.

But you will come back. You will keep playing this game. You will look at the final rating of "You Can Stop Now" and keep on trucking. It's that addictive. And it's a game everyone needs to play.




Post a Comment

<< Home