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Video Game / Blackthorne

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"A too classical game to be extraordinary. Although your character can shoot backwards just by aiming behind him, without even looking. Maximum badassness."
— Comment of JV, French video game magazine, about the game in the Blizzard special issue

A Cinematic Platform Game from 1994, developed by Blizzard Entertainment and published by Interplay Entertainment, for the SNES and PC (later ported to the 32X, Macintosh, and Game Boy Advance). The gameplay is very similar to Prince of Persia; the main differences are that combat is done with guns and bombs instead of swords, and there is an item inventory system (some levels require the use of these items to make progress).

The game begins with player character Kyle Vlaros (Also known as Blackthorne) being teleported from Earth to the world of Tuul by a magician called Galadril, who tells Blackthorne that he is the heir to the throne of the kingdom of Androth. However, Androth has been conquered by Ka'dra'suul, and it is up to Blackthorne to free the Androthi and defeat Ka'dra'suul.

This game contains examples of:

  • Action Bomb: There are the spider-like walking bomb enemies, and there are also the "remote wasps" (flying bombs that you can control).
  • Adaptation Expansion: The 32X version have one stage more, the Slippy-Slidey Ice World.
  • Aerith and Bob: Tuul, King Vlaros, Sarlac, Ka'dra'suul, and your playable character... Kyle. Downplayed, of course, as the Aeriths are all aliens while Kyle is a human.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Even though the left/right sprite is a mirror image, there is animation between the two directions, including adjusting the position of the weapon among the two hands.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: There's Blackthorne himself, and also the Final Boss (actually, the only boss) is Sarlac, the ruler of Ka'dra'suul.
  • Bag of Spilling: You begin each level with a fixed selection of items, regardless of what items you had at the end of the previous level. This might have been done to allow for the password-based save system to use only four-characters-long passwords.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Used in the SNES version. The PC version kept the blood.
  • The Cameo: The Lost Vikings in The Forest of Onehand only in the 32X version.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: Parts of levels in the first area (the mines) are located through doorways that are behind waterfalls.
  • Changeling Fantasy: Blackthorne was an orphan who grew up to be a soldier with the U.N. and then a mercenary, turns out he's actually an alien prince.
  • Combat Tentacles: The "eekers" have them.
  • Evil Laugh: The grag'ohr that you encounter earlier will laugh at you after shooting you, which gives you a chance to shoot them. Later ones don't do that, making them more difficult. The whar'orks also give you one if you try to shoot them.
  • Flip-Screen Scrolling: Like the originator of this genrenote  also did, Blackthorne uses pure one-screen-at-a-time screen-flipping both horizontally and vertically.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Both averted and played straight. You can shoot most friendly humans, unless they engage in combat (where they make for good shields) or have an upgrade for your gun.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The game opens with a sound shotgun cock, blast and a smear of blood splashing on the Blizzard logo.
  • Human Aliens: Kyle and his people, the Androthi.
  • Idle Animation: Two of them.
    • If Blackthorne has the gun out, he'll reload it.
    • If not, he'll clean his sunglasses.
  • Immune to Bullets: You need an explosive to take out a whar'ork.
  • Infinite Ammo: You can't run out of bullets/shells. The amount of bombs, however, is limited (they occupy slots in your item inventory).
  • Man-Eating Plant: The "eeker" enemies.
  • Market-Based Title: It was called Blackhawk in some European countries.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Unlike in Prince of Persia, you can grab a ledge no matter how far you've already fallen.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: The grag'ohr are basically orcs (they even resemble those from Warcraft, which was released the same year).
  • Offhand Backhand: Blackthorne can shoot backwards. Doing so isn't useful, but it sure is cool.
    • It actually can have a fair bit of use, especially in the later game. Running past enemies while they're in cover and forcing them to turn around before firing gives you a window to shoot them first. Of course, turning around also takes *you* time. Running past an enemy and putting a no-look explosive round into his face as he turns around can be almost necessary, but never anything short of awesome.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: They are called grag'ohr and come in all colors of the rainbow.
  • Password Save
  • Punctuation Shaker: The Empire is called "Ka'dra'suul", and there are two types of enemies called "grag'ohr" and "whar'ork".
  • Science Fantasy: There's magic, a real witch and ghostly king on a planet that has technology well beyond what Earth has.
  • Sequel Hook: The ending shows a single grag'ohr being teleported to the same place on Earth where Blackthorne was teleported away from in the opening cutscene, and then the grag'ohr laughs. However, no sequel has been made.
    • Part of Blizzard's April Fools 2010 was said sequel.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Zigzagged. Your shotgun was from the crashed helicopter that was part of your background story. It's garbage that can only shoot twice before taking a long reload. But as you get newer alien shotguns from the natives, you'll eventually get a fully-automatic shotgun with explosive shells, which is much better than the pistols that some of the rebels use.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Blackthorne, check out those bulging biceps!
  • Take Cover!: A big element of the game is that Blackthorne and most of the humans/humanoids can take cover in the shadows to avoid getting shot. Blackthorne's not a fast guy, so this is usually the only way to dodge a bullet.
  • Updated Re-release: The 32X version has updated graphics and a new area, while the Game Boy Advance version features a save system instead of using passwords.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can shoot and kill the slaves and prisoners you're supposed to be saving. They'll drop any gear they would have given you, so you can't make the game Unwinnable this way.
  • Whip of Dominance: The whar'orks are armed with whips, presumably because they're slave-drivers.