Blast Corps (N64): A

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Retrology
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Blast Corps (N64): A

Postby Retrology » April 6th, 2016, 11:13 pm

If you ever thought Rare was only about first person shooters and 3D platformers, you owe it to yourself to play Blast Corps. A truly one of a kind title, this game won me over from the very beginning, and I'm not sure any game has had as great of a first impression as it has.

The game is simple; clear buildings out of the way of a nuclear carrier or it explodes destroying everything. At first, I was worried that the game would be too complex and frustrating for me to get a grasp on it, but thankfully that wasn't the case. You get a wide variety of vehicles including a Ramdozer, a Optimus Prime-esque robot that does shoryukens (ThunderFist), a small buggy that attacks buildings by catching big air (Skyfall), a motorcycle with rockets (Ballista), and my personal favorite, the J-Bomb, which lets you destroy buildings by flying in the sky and smashing them from above. Each vehicle handles differently, giving them a unique feel.

After a slight learning curve, I was in full control of the vehicles (well, most of them), and there's fewer gaming moments as satisfying as destroying a block of buildings. There's a perfect combination of tension and destruction as you try to clear a path for the carrier, and as well as being furiously addicting, there's great payoff when you complete your mission, as you're allowed to explore the level after beating it to clear more buildings, free prisoners, and find many secret items. Rare's always been masterful at creating exploration in their games, and this stands as one of their best examples. You'll find something new each time you play this game, and finding radars allows you to access fun training levels as well as some awesome racing ones.

Later in the game, you'll have to solve a puzzle or two in the levels to complete it, but this game does the impossible by not only eliminating the tediousness of it, but also makes it fun. You'll ram TNT crates into buildings or objects on the road, use cranes to lift vehicles onto previously unreachable areas, and even make new paths for the carrier, amongst other things. It's thrown in perfectly and the game's pace does not suffer one bit.

So what's not to like? I have just a few minor grips. The backdrift vehicle is infuriating to control compared to the rest of the vehicles, and I really wish the game implanted multiplayer. The building destruction and races would've made this a potential multiplayer phenomenon up there with Goldeneye and Super Smash Bros. Still, I'll take what I can get, as we can only have one Blast Corps.

The graphics are excellent, with detailed environments and no distance fog, and the music is top rate, though that's to be expected with Rare games. Blast Corps was made at a time where there was a healthy balance between arcade style and realistic games (of course, this is more arcade style), and it's insane how well it's aged. Crazy addicting and crazy fun, Blast Corps is an amazing game that will appeal to anyone just looking to have fun. This is one of Rare's best games not just on the N64, but in the company's history.

Kudos to Rare: You're just trying to impress me.

FINAL GRADE: A

ESauce
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Re: Blast Corps (N64): A

Postby ESauce » April 9th, 2016, 10:12 am

I remember renting it as a kid and not playing much; at the time I was looking for nothing but 3d platformers and kart racers. However, I went back to it recently on the Rare Replay collection and it has aged much better than the other 64 games in that platformer. I still have tons of fond memories of Banjo Kazooie so I can't really be neutral on that, but I tried playing Conker's Bad Fur Day, which I barely played before so don't have much nostalgia for it, and it was frankly pretty bad. I gave it a couple hours chance but it never got fun. Blast Corps I could play all day though.

I agree with you that it's a really unique, well-polished title (also, yes, curse that backdrift vehicle!), but what I think makes it hold up now is the arcade style gameplay. I think games from the early 3d era hold up best when they are linear or arcade-type games: short-timed levels with one goal. The games which have a lot of exploration tend to age worse I think because it's frankly not that fun to explore those 3d worlds anymore (with a few exceptions such as Ocarina of Time). Also, in that era developers hadn't really figured out the right way to help players navigate a 3d world. When I tried playing Conker I found myself frustrated quickly by the complete lack of direction (and the poor controls but that's another topic). When I was a kid I was okay spending an hour wandering a level trying to figure out where to go, but now I just want to have a freaking hint button that points me the right way; time is precious.

With something like blast corps I love having that time limit. I'd rather be able to choose to replay a short level I like than be forced to spend a ton of time in every level, no matter how little I like them, because the game requires it to proceed.

Thanks for the review. And pick up Space Station Silicon Valley! I know I'm now suggesting an early 3d open world game after ranting against them but this one has held up better than others because it has strong puzzles and lots of variety.

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Retrology
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Re: Blast Corps (N64): A

Postby Retrology » April 9th, 2016, 11:15 pm

Yeah, for sure.

I agree with you on arcade style/linear 3D games holding up better. I do think it's fascinating to explore some of the earlier ones though, and SM64/Banjo Kazooie have aged really well IMO.

As for Blast Corps, critics complained it was too repetitive and short, which is crap. The amount of vehicles and missions (including racing contests) put in a lot of variety, and there's so many secrets that I could care less about the game's length. Plus, the game is just so much fun.

I'm curious about space station silicon valley. How are the controls? What are the best aspects of the game that make it hold up? Might buy it.

ESauce
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Joined: April 8th, 2015, 12:20 pm

Re: Blast Corps (N64): A

Postby ESauce » April 10th, 2016, 10:19 am

Retrology wrote:Yeah, for sure.

I agree with you on arcade style/linear 3D games holding up better. I do think it's fascinating to explore some of the earlier ones though, and SM64/Banjo Kazooie have aged really well IMO.

As for Blast Corps, critics complained it was too repetitive and short, which is crap. The amount of vehicles and missions (including racing contests) put in a lot of variety, and there's so many secrets that I could care less about the game's length. Plus, the game is just so much fun.

I'm curious about space station silicon valley. How are the controls? What are the best aspects of the game that make it hold up? Might buy it.


Yeah, like I said I couldn't be partial on Banjo Kazooie or SM64 because I cut my 3d platformer teeth on them so I will always enjoy them. I agree it can be really fascinating to explore some of the older 3d games, even ones that I don't think hold up as well, but I usually just can't bring myself to play through most of them to the end at this point.

Quite a few things make Silicon Valley hold up better than some of the other 3d platformers; the main thing is it has a gameplay mechanic that is so unique I still haven't seen anything like it. The premise of the game is you are a computer chip that has crash landed on a planet of robotic animals. You can't live on your own, you have to inhabit the robotic animals to live, and each of these animals has different abilities and controls. So every level you will be doing something different. In the first level, you start out as a simple dog, then you have to "kill" a robotic sheep and hop in its body. Later levels will have you driving around as a mouse on wheels, piloting a helicopter bunny who can drop bombs, swimming as a fish, and swinging through vines as an ape. Overall there are nearly 50 different robot animals, all playing differently (though there is certainly overlap in abilities).

The game also has a lot of charm, from the silly slapstick opening scene, to the jazz music that plays in the levels through speakers which can be blown up, stopping the music. Also in its favor is the main goal is not to collect objects in levels; each level is a mission with set parameters. The way to beat missions sometimes simply involves going from a to b, but often there is some sort of puzzle element to it.

It certainly has similar flaws to many of that eras platformers though. When I play it now, I find myself fighting with the camera, sometimes feeling like I have no idea where to go in a level, and growing tired of frustrating platforming segments. But all the charm and uniqueness of the game make it worth pressing through the issues. It's definitely in my top 10 64 games.


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