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Video Game / Blast Corps

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Get used to seeing that vehicle marked "Backlash" on the bottom-left.

"Time to get movin'!"

A big truck is hauling two defective nuclear warheads to a safe location. The warheads started to leak, however, so the truck has been set on an automated, direct course to its destination. The Blast Corps has been called in to clear the way for it, because if this truck hits anything, the warheads will go off and start a nuclear winter.

So you, a pilot of the Blast Corps, have to do the destroying. You have various vehicles at your disposal to get the job done. So, get started before that truck destroys everything!

Blast Corps (BlastDozer in Japan) was released for the Nintendo 64 by Rare in 1997. It was later included as one of the 30 featured games of Rare Replay for Xbox One. On February 21st, 2024, it was released as part of the Nintendo Switch's Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack.

This game provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: Completion is measured in points earned with medals. Bonus levels have one medal (maxes at platinum once available) while main levels have three; one for completing the level (always gold), one for clearing buildings and collecting RDUs (maxes at gold), and one for a time trial unlocked late in the post-end game (maxes at platinum once available). Bronze medals are worth 1, silver 2, gold 3, and platinum 4. Every twelve points, you get a new rank. The final rank you can earn, signifying 100% completion, is "You Can Stop Now."
    • Word of God says that the game is supposed to be impossible for one person to get ALL of the Platinum Medals, although determined players have completed the entire game.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The moon base created after "decades of moon landings" and cool vehicles like the J-Bomb suggest the game takes place in the future, while the world has a 1997 present-day feel otherwise.
  • Achievement Mockery: The highest rank can only be achieved by getting a platinum medal on every stage in the game. Said rank is called "You can stop now".
  • All There in the Manual: If you sit at the title screen without starting the game, you'll get background information on the Blast Corps team members and the nuclear warheads, but it takes nearly 10 minutes to see everything. If your game didn't come with an instruction manual and you blazed through the title screen, you'd probably don't know what's going on other than the threat of a nuclear explosion.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: While you are required to destroy any and all buildings within the carrier's path, the carrier can destroy fences without exploding.
  • Area of Effect: There are gas plants in some levels which do damage to all nearby buildings when demolished. This is an oft-overlooked Easy Level Trick for the infamous Diamond Sands level.
  • Artistic License – Engineering: For starters, the obstacles you collide into always strangely explode, then leave nothing behind. Buildings that are destroyed in real-life always leave an awful mess of rubble and debris behind, thus the carrier still doesn't have a clear path. In real-life, basic physics will not permit you to demolish buildings and clear the site, quickly. It takes weeks, even months, to do. The structures we build are largely steel and concrete reinforced constructs - you can't just plough an excavator in there, and hope for the best.
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: Nuclear warheads are not like nitroglycerine and won't explode from an errant impact, no matter how strong. Unless the missile is armed and primed, it shouldn't explode, and even then, the typical trigger for nukes is an altimeter rather than an impact detonator. For the curious:  Of course, treating it realistically would be a lot less suspenseful and awesome.
    • Plus there's the fact that it's only two missiles, not an entire nuclear arsenal. While the explosion of two missiles would indeed be a terrible disaster, it would be nowhere near enough to cause a worldwide nuclear winter, even if detonated side by side. It wouldn't trigger a nuclear war either, since it's been explicitly confirmed as the result of a design defect, not the work of an enemy nation or terrorist organization.
  • Artistic License – Space: The low gravity of the Moon stage is extended to all the planet stages (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Neptune), even though in real life Venus only has about 10% less gravitational strength than Earth and Neptune has about 15% more. Not to mention the impossibility of driving a bulldozer on any of these planets, especially Neptune, or that the space shuttle could transport the crew and their vehicles there (and back) in a human lifetime. Not that even the game itself takes this section of the plot at all seriously.
  • Ass Kicks You: Backlash is a vehicular example, given it strikes down buildings with its tail end.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The American Dream, Muscle Car, and Police Car for the most part can't tear down any of the buildings, but only get you to a location faster. They are the most useful choices in the bonus racing levels, though.
    • The Ballista is a motorbike that shoots missiles! While fast and powerful, its missiles are unwieldy and come in a limited quantity. As a result, it tends to be highly situational; even in races, the bonus vehicles outspeed it, with its actual advantage being the ability to clear buildings to make a shortcut.
  • Bonus Level: The Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Neptune are extra levels that has varying levels of gravity that affect your performance. The Moon can be played after you cleared the shuttle level, but the rest can only be unlocked once you gotten gold medals and all the communications satellites back on Earth.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Ramdozer for the most part; although not as good as the mechas, it can still clear through most buildings without a problem by simply driving normally through them. Also, bonus points for not being the Backlash.
    • The A-Team Van, because while all vehicles do damage it seems to be on par with the Skyfall.
  • Bowdlerise: The Japanese release of the game doesn't have nuclear missiles, probably because of Nuclear Weapons Taboo. They were changed to a fictional chemical substance called "FK540", which is stated as very unstable and volatile. However the appearance of the truck was completely unchanged.
  • Collection Sidequest: RDUs, satellite beacons, survivors and scientists.
  • Cool Car: Any of them. Ballista and Skyfall take the cake though. But never the Backlash.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The Sideswipe attacks by ramming out its sides, making it optimized for the highly-specific circumstance of demolishing parallel structures. Because of this, it only appears in three levels in the entire game, including its tutorial level.
  • Damage-Proof Vehicle: No matter how much destruction they cause, the vehicles you control never even slow down. They can only be destroyed in two ways (which in turn ends the level for you); one is to fall into a hazard such as lava, the other is to run into a roving enemy truck, and each of the hazards only show up in a small handful of bonus levels. Some Acceptable Breaks from Reality for the game, as having the vehicles sustain Collision Damage upon each impact would go against the very purpose of the game - to destroy buildings with these vehicles - and thus make it less fun.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: One level has a donut shop with a cop car placed in front of it.
  • Drought Level of Doom: Subverted with Ember Hamlet, which starts the player off in the Ballista, but gives them barely enough missiles to clear a path for the nuclear truck. The player is intended to destroy a periphery building with the missiles, so that they could reach the Cyclone Suit hidden inside.
  • Escort Game: Your primary mission is to escort the truck to the destination, which follows a fixed line. Only the timed challenge levels don't require escorting the truck. Buildings in the mission's intro are marked in red, and you have a pointer to the next obstructing building.
  • Everything-Is-Smashable Area:...Uh, pretty much the entire main game.
  • Excuse Plot: If the truck hits anything, the warheads will go off, so it's been set to go to its destination straight through anything in its path. What? All right, so maybe the missiles are going to blow and don't have time to move around buildings. Except the warheads tour all over the world looking for their safe zone.
  • Fake Difficulty: The game will not let you use the best tools for the job. Instead of powerful mechas that can easily remove obstacles in the carrier's way, on missions you'll be randomly stuck with the most ill-suited machinery imaginable. Worse of all, there's no reason provided why you can't opt for a different more suitable machine at their disposal. Get used to seeing and driving Backlash... a lot.
  • Fake Longevity: When you first play the game, the story missions only end when the truck reaches the endpoint or you enter the Blast Corps semi, regardless of how efficiently you've taken out the obstacles in its path. This has the effect of forcing you to redo them all for gold medals once that option is available, since it's impossible to get a lower time than what the truck normally takes.
  • Featureless Protagonist: While the four founding members of the Blast Corps have names, faces, voice clips, and very short bios, the playable character, the driver, is only visible when running between vehicles in extremely low detail, and only heard saying "d'oh!" in a low-pitched voice when unable to exit a vehicle.
  • Field Promotion: Successfully completing levels lets you go up in "rank", but its completely arbitrary to the game-play and story. With made-up titles like "Decorated Damager", "Gifted Ruiner" or "Master Despoiler" you feel like its doing you a disservice.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: The J-Bomb can perform an amusing glitch in Dagger Pass, dubbed the "Chaos Recliner" in the 2016 Games Done Quick speedrun, in which it destroys a rafter through the floor by laying down in its idle animation.note 
  • Forced Tutorial: You need to play through the tutorial levels for Backlash, Sideswipe, J-Bomb, Thunderfist, and Skyfall in order to progress through the game. Fortunately, the tutorials themselves are easily skippable scrolling text played before the actual levels.
  • Fragile Speedster:
    • The bonus vehicles (sans the A-Team Van) are both the fastest and weakest vehicles in the game, with their main purpose being to finish racing levels quicker and to get the player across longer distances more quickly.
    • In comparison to the other Humongous Mecha seen within the game, the Cyclone Suit is much smaller, being more agile at the expense of having less destructive force. While the Thunderfist and J-Bomb can effectively clear skyscrapers and office buildings, the Cyclone Suit is limited to lower-density shops and apartment complexes.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The intro states that the missiles are leaking, thus the radiation prevents anyone from getting too close to hijack the truck. You, however, can get near it (even on foot) without even so much as getting sick.
  • Genre-Busting: It's primarily considered an action game, but there are heavy puzzle elements involved as the player has to think quickly and creatively to clear the path for the nuclear truck. There are also racing minigames, and the rest of the game is primarily spent driving vehicles.
  • Goomba Stomp: Most vehicles, even the "bonus" cars that are not really designed to destroy buildings, will gain significant destructive power if they are in the air. Even the infamous Backlash can plow straight through buildings without having to spin if it is able to get a little hang time. This is Skyfall's entire gimmick, as aside from the Nitro Boost it has to help propel itself into the air, it otherwise doesn't carry much more power than the aforementioned bonus cars when it's on the ground.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Surprisingly enough, the game does have one in the form of Rafters, the military organization responsible for the defective nuclear warheads which the player must clear a path for. They are only mentioned in the manual and opening text, and make no appearance in the game itself.
  • Ground Pound: The J-Bomb's primary method of taking out tougher structures when simply landing on them won't destroy them quickly.
  • Humongous Mecha: The J-Bomb, in which you fly up and stomp on the obstacles to get rid of them.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Let the truck hit something and you get to witness two nice big explosions. To make things worse, the game will show a replay of your previous run from the view of the carrier, including the explosion.
  • It's Up to You: Not only are you the only driver for all of the wildly different demolition vehicles, but no one else can even guide rail-driven trains and boats to provide platforms for the missiles to drive over. Granted, no one really wants to hang out by those missiles, even if they do threaten nuclear winter anyway. Even after clearing the path for the missiles, you're the only one capable of revisiting old areas to round up six scientists so they can set up a controlled explosion.
  • Jack of All Stats: The Skyfall is neither as fast as the bonus vehicles nor as powerful as the Ramdozer, but its Nitro Boost mechanic serves as an effective compromise for both.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The post-game storyline stops taking itself seriously after the shuttle rescue.
  • Lava Adds Awesome: One J-Bomb side mission features a few small volcanoes. Another one features a large volcano that the entirety of the stage takes place in. Just be careful not to touch the lava walls or floor, or else "MISSION FAILED!"
  • Law of 100: Each main level has 100 little RDUs to activate, counting towards 100% completion of the level rather than extra lives.
  • Lethal Joke Character: You, the actual pilot of these vehicles, can become one in the original version of the game. Due to an exploitable glitch (see the YMMV page for more information), your character can destroy any building in the game by simply exiting your vehicle. This is averted in Version 1.1, where the glitch has been patched out, and your character no longer has the ability to knock down skyscrapers just by hitting them with his car door.
  • Long-Range Fighter: The Ballista can fire missiles, allowing it to take out structures that are out of reach from other vehicles such as boats and doors.
  • Made of Explodium: Your task is greatly facilitated by the fact that buildings can explode due to things as small as you getting out of the car, due to a glitch in the original version of the game.
  • Made of Iron: Your unnamed driver character. He can stand next to a skyscraper-demolishing block of TNT as it explodes with no visible effect.
  • Master of None: The Backlash is as slow and powerful as the Ramdozer, but has worse control and a less intuitive means of destroying structures. It can also launch off hills and come down on buildings, which the Skyfall does better with its Nitro Boost. The only reason why players would use the Backlash is due to the game requiring them to use it, even when they would rather use more specialized vehicles. Thankfully, the space levels have decreased gravity, which allow the Backlash to make the most out of its abilities.
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter:
    • The Backlash is probably the most unusual of the bunch; instead of ramming into or dive-bombing buildings like with most of the other vehicles, with this one you need to hit buildings with the back of the vehicle while drifting through a turn; the faster, the better (unless there's a rock nearby; if the Backlash is off the ground, it can do a great deal of head-on damage). Since this is easier said than done and it appears in many levels, the Backlash has a reputation among fans of the game.
    • The Ballista and the Sideswipe are the only vehicles that collect items to launch attacks to destroy buildings. The Ballista is a motorcycle that launches missiles, while the Sideswipe extends rams out of its sides.
  • Musical Nod: The music for the Jade Plateau / Skerries levels is a remix of the boss battle theme from Donkey Kong Land.
  • Nitro Express: Though this one has a bit bigger boom than usual.
  • Noob Bridge:
    • In J-Bomb "destroy target" missions, you don't actually have to stomp on the targets; just touching them is enough. This is important to know especially for floating sphere targets, as some of them are set over water or lava; attempting to stomp these spheres in particular will send you crashing through the sphere rather than bouncing off of it, ending the mission in failure.
    • Players that skip over Backlash's tutorial video may not realize they could knock down buildings more easily if they could launch off mounds onto them. These players have a lot of difficulty with levels like Outland Farm or Angel City, where these mounds are necessary for knocking down certain buildings in reasonable time.
  • Not Completely Useless: The Backlash is notorious among fans for being extremely difficult to control and the method it uses to destroy buildings (ramming into them backwards or sideways) being very unintuitive. If the stage allows the player a choice of vehicle to start with, you can bet that no one will ever pick the Backlash. When it comes to the Moon mission, the Backlash really shines; with the low gravity, you can catch a lot of air off bumps and ramps to crash into buildings. With the low friction on the surface, you can slide the Backlash with greater ease than you could on Earth.
  • Not Drawn to Scale: It is possible that the levels are modeled smaller than the models of the car type vehicles, which makes them look large in comparison.
  • The Not-Love Interest: A cringe-worthy example. One of your "helpers" via video link, always says "you're just trying to impress [her]", you know, instead of saving the world from disaster. It falls completely flat, because her character and the male protagonist you control aren't just underdeveloped in Blast Corps - they're not-existent. Its downright silly because the player doesn't even know who this broad is! Or why they're even flirting with them!
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Even if certain vehicles are more destructive than others, the latter will still be needed to perform a specific roles, such as ferrying vehicles from one area to another, moving the player across the level more quickly, or - in the case of the Ballista - taking down targets that couldn't be reached by the other vehicles.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: The nuclear truck itself. Even the slightest jolt will cause the missiles to explode.
  • One-Man Army: YOU, the player are, unfortunately. It says Blast Corps in the name, but you are the only one doing anything to avert a nuclear crisis. Your comrades won't get off their backsides to pilot any of the other available machinery, but are however quick to scold you when you can't man the fort alone.
  • Palette Swap: The Moon, Mars, and Mercury all use the same image on the map in different colors. Ditto for Venus and Neptune.
  • Post-End Game Content: After the credits roll, one last main level appears in which a large city needs to be leveled to clear the path for a space shuttle's emergency landing. Then a bonus level on the moon is unlocked. After clearing that, you're encouraged to unlock all the bonus levels and collect all the gold medals. Doing this unlocks four more bonus levels around the solar system, and getting gold medals on those unlocks time trials for the main levels, allowing a third medal to be collected in each. Finally, getting gold on all the time trials reveals platinum medal targets for every bonus level and time trial.
  • Racing Ghost: These show up in the straight racing levels, to make it easier for you to top your previous time.
  • Recurring Location: Several of the main levels lend themselves to the bonus levels.
  • Recycled In Space: Literally, and in the same game as well!
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Part of the requirement for getting the second gold medal on any regular stage is destroying all the buildings within a stage. Wheeeee, demolishing whole cities for no justifiable reason! This reaches its peak in Ebony Coast, which has a secret island with three moai worth $9999999 (in the NA version) that you need to destroy for that gold medal.
  • Rule of Fun: Don't worry about the survivors that need to flee, or the fact that everyone is freaking out about the truck rolling through town, just clear a path!
  • Rush Boss: Cromlech Court gives the player the most destructive vehicle in the game, Thunderfist, right off the bat, and the level itself is a straightforward line of office buildings for the player to knock down. The catch is that the nuclear truck is going much faster than usual, and the player is impeded by rows of cedar trees. Better master the timing of the roll mechanic in order to successfully finish the level.
  • Schmuck Bait: One portion of Oyster Harbor has a bunch of blocks and holes to push them in to allow the Carrier to progress. One angled block sits conspicuously close to the hole it's supposed to go in.... Push it in and... Congrats, you just failed the level! What you're supposed to do is take that block out of the way to fill another hole with two of the same block hidden behind that hole. This allows you to fill all the holes in the Carrier's path.
  • Scoring Points: A counter at the top-right corner of the screen keeps track of how much monetary damage you've caused so far. This doesn't directly affect your progress or rank.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: The celestial bodies of our solar system in the level select menu? Even though it takes some liberties with physical appearance and makeup, their orbits are... surprisingly accurate.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: Each song that plays in the main levels has a second version that plays whenever the missiles are coming close to a structure. If the missiles are dangerously close to hitting something, warning blares will sound off as well.
  • Start My Own: The manual and opening text explain that the Blast Corps is made of ex-employees of a military organization by the name of Rafters. They walked out after Wesley (one of the members) was left disabled by an accident and treated poorly by Rafters afterwards. Rafters is also responsible for the defective nuclear warheads that the game's plot centers around.
  • Strolling on Jupiter: The Neptune level is a rocky racecourse set on the planet, because apparently in the Blast Corps universe, the eighth planet from the Sun is not the gas giant that it is in real life.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Pretty much the whole point.
  • Take Your Time: Practice your skills, take part in races, and play each group of the main levels in any order you want; the missiles will always be a few seconds away from planetary annihilation by the time you arrive on the scene.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Leaking nuclear warheads are threatening everything in a several mile radius and it will bring nuclear winter should the slightest jolt to the truck occur, which will cause the missiles to explode. The Blast Corps team can do nothing but clear a path until they can gather some scientists to come up with a plan to detonate the missiles safely.
  • Title Theme Drop: The music from the title screen plays during Glory Crossing, which is one of the last seven missions of the main storyline.
  • Timed Mission: The entire premise of the game. You only have a limited amount of time to clear buildings and structures before the truck carrying the nuclear warheads crashes into something and causes the missiles to explode. The damaged shuttle also falls into this trope since you have a limited amount of time to clear out the entire map before it lands.
  • Utility Party Member: Trains, ferries, and cranes, which are used to haul vehicles and occasionally TNT crates between impassable areas. At most, they will be able to destroy buildings indirectly by placing an active TNT crate next to (or, in the case of Oyster Harbor, on top of) them.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You don't have to destroy every single building and structure in the entire game, but if you want to fully complete the game, you gotta wreck everything! You can even do this in missions where destroying buildings isn't necessary, such as the racing minigames.
  • Video Game Objectives: Upon starting a new file, the game lays it out for you:
    MISSION 1: Clear path for carrier on each main level.
    MISSION 2: Activate all RDUs and destroy all buildings to earn second gold.
    MISSION 3: After completing main levels, find all 6 scientists to ensure a controlled detonation.
    MISSION 4: Achieve gold on all levels to commence Time Attack.
  • Video Game Physics: The bad variety when it comes to carrying objects with the Ramdozer. In real-life its straightforward to scoop up objects in an excavator's bucket. You can't do that in Blast Corps. Your excavator glides about, pushing ticking TNT crates that in turn, have a mind of their own and through no fault of your own, slide right out of your bucket when you're trying to use them. Additionally, Oyster Harbor has an area with square-shaped and diamond-shaped blocks that need to be used to fill respectively-shaped gaps. You may note that squares and diamonds are in fact the same shape, but the blocks won't rotate to allow one to fill in for the other.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: It's telling how the Backlash controls when its tutorial level is the first level players tend to have trouble with. Despite its basic level layout and generous time limit, players still struggle to get a hang of the Backlash's controls and resort to nudging into buildings to destroy them and complete the level. If they skip the tutorial video, they may never realize they could destroy buildings (including one in the level itself) by launching off of mounds into them. Fittingly enough, said video ends by warning the player to familiarize themselves with the Backlash if they wish to stand a chance against later levels (looking at you, Diamond Sands).
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Rafters disappears from the story after the opening explanation described in Start My Own.
  • You Break It, You Profit: Strangely enough, in a game full of destruction with money values assigned to everything, there's only one of these levels: Salvage Wharf.

"You're just trying to impress me."