Reviews: Blaster Master
(first game review) Very creative and original concept I'd like to see done better
The NES, back when all video games were low budget by today's standards, had a lot of creative ideas and experimentation. Games like the Beat Em Up RPG River City Ransom experimented with crossing readily recognizable ideas with original ones to create a unique experience. Blaster Master is a mix of ideas itself. It's an action/exploration game, with upgrades. You travel on foot or in a vehicle, with pros and cons for each. It's side-view 2D, and overhead view, depending on whether you are outdoors (relatively speaking) or indoors. The game is divided into clearly numbered levels, but the levels are connected to each other, requiring you to look for ways to reach them as you upgrade your hovercraft-tank to fly, swim (something you can initially only do outside of your vehicle) or climb walls. The game sadly suffers from flaws that would not be tolerated today. Upgrading your gun is a matter of discovering randomly-placed gun power-ups that make it stronger, which can sometimes take a while. Downgrading is quicker - just get hit once and your gun will lose a lot of power as it drops one whole level. It's much easier to lose this power than to gain it, making the game needlessly punishing, and forcing you to grind to stand more of a fighting chance - a fighting chance you could lose at any time. The game also does the whole "lives/continues" thing - 9 lives and you're gone for good, with no passwords or savegame. There have been sequels and remakes, but they're generally considered not very good. Personally, I think the concept of Blaster Master could easily work in today's world, if modified to fit modern game mechanics. Picture either a First Person Shooter, or one with a perspective similar to Kid Icarus Uprising, with the ability to hop in and out of a vehicle, the same type of Metroidvania world connecting levels together, same type of upgrades, a weapon system that doesn't punish mistakes so harshly, respawn checkpoints and infinite lives, and add a save feature, and you'd bring back all the appeal of Blaster Master while updating it for today's world. If nothing else, I'd like to see a true Spiritual Successor to the game.