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Video Game / Blaster Master

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Chou Wakusei Senki (Super Planetary War Chronicle) - Metafight is a series of action-adventure games originally created by Sunsoft.

It's the year 2052. On the distant planet Sophia the 3rd located in the Epsilon Milky Way, a flourishing advanced civilization is suddenly attacked by the evil emperor Goez and his "Invem Dark Star Cluster" army of mutants, who have conquered every other planet in outer space. The only survivors of the raid are a small sect of the local Science Academy known as "Nora Satellite", who escape and decide to build a weapon to defeat the Invem Dark Star Cluster and Goez. With the help of designer Dr. Jennifer Cornet, they create an all-purpose mobile tank known as Metal Attacker, and enlist a young man by the name of Kane Gardner to pilot Metal Attacker and destroy Goez.


At least, that's the Excuse Plot if you live in Japan and bothered to read the manual. If you lived anywhere else, the game was called Blaster Master and followed the (frankly ridiculous) story of Jason Frudnick, a high school senior on (then) modern-day Earth who finds a frog and names him Fred. One day, Fred escapes from his fish bowl and encounters a crate of radioactive material, causing the pet frog to grow several times larger and subsequently fall down a large hole. Jason, in pursuit of Fred, leaps down the hole himself and comes face to face with a giant armored vehicle called SOPHIA THE 3RD, which was designed to fight radioactive mutants living Beneath the Earth. Jason, ever the hero, puts on a combat suit and gets inside the vehicle on his way to find Fred and destroy the mutants' leader — the Plutonium Boss.


While the original Metafight achieved only middling success in its home country, Blaster Master became far more popular with the West, and has since been deemed a Cult Classic for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Sunsoft would later continue the series with multiple sequels (and one unofficial Broderbund sequel) of varying quality.

The original Blaster Master series:

  1. Chou Wakusei Senki — Metafight/Blaster Master (NES, and Wii and 3DS Virtual Console)
  2. Blaster Master 2 (Sega Genesis) note 
  3. Blaster Master Boy/Blaster Master Jr. (Game Boy)note 
  4. Metafight EX/Blaster Master: Enemy Below (Game Boy Color, and 3DS Virtual Console)
  5. Blaster Master: Blasting Again (PlayStation)
  6. Blaster Master Overdrive (WiiWare)

Following the release of Overdrive in 2010, the series went dormant until 2016, when Inti Creates (of Mega Man Zero and Azure Striker Gunvolt fame) announced that they had acquired the license from Sunsoft. Inti Creates went on to develop and release a trilogy of remakes/reboots of the franchise under the title Blaster Master Zero, pulling elements from across the previous Blaster Master and Metafight sagas and combining them into one definitive package.

The Zero trilogy:

  1. Blaster Master Zero (2017, Nintendo 3DS / Nintendo Switch / PC)
  2. Blaster Master Zero II (2019, Nintendo Switch / PC)
  3. Blaster Master Zero III (2021, Nintendo Switch / Playstation 4 / PC)

There was also a Worlds of Power novelization of the first game, written by Peter Lerangis (under the pen name A. L. Singer). Elements from the novel were used in Blasting Again and Zero, making it the only novel in the series to become canon.

Blaster Master does not, by the way, run Bartertown.

Blaster Master provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The Worlds of Power novel adds Eve, a girl from another planet, as the original owner of the SOPHIA III vehicle. These details would later become canon in Blasting Again.
    • Zero's reimagining of the original adds a lot more meat to the original Excuse Plot.
  • All There in the Manual: The backstory of Blasting Again, specifically the character of Eve and the origin of the Plutonium Boss, does not appear in any of the previous games. It does, however, appear in the Worlds of Power novelization of the original Blaster Master, making it the only Worlds of Power novel to be canon.
  • Amphibian at Large: The boss of Area 4 in the first game is a giant frog named Fred that attacks with its long tongue.
  • Angst Nuke: In Blasting Again, the Acceleration Blast is a Wave-Motion Gun version of this, as its power is implied to be derived from Roddy's emotions.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In the original game, if you have to use a Continue against the Final Boss, once you reach the boss room, the game skips the Plutonium Boss automatically and goes straight to the final fight.
  • Ascended Extra: The Plutonium Boss was upgraded to Big Bad status in the west, despite only being the game's penultimate boss. This was reversed with Zero, which is based largely on Metafight and thus demotes the Plutonium Boss back to extra while re-elevating the Mutant Lord to Big Bad.
    • Eve from Blasting Again onwards.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The grenades in Blasting Again look great coming out, but they're nigh-useless on mooks that aren't clustered together due to their triangular placement. Enemy Below's grenades also have a pathetically short range, and Zero's aren't much better.
  • Big Bad:
    • In the Metafight continuity, the Mutant Lord Goez is the Big Bad. This also holds true for Zero, which uses elements of Metafight canon.
    • In the Blaster Master continuity, the Plutonium Boss is the Big Bad.
    • In Blasting Again, the Big Bad is Kaiser.
  • Bag of Spilling: Happens between Zero and Zero 2. Out of all the upgrades acquired in Zero, the only ones the player has at the start of Zero 2 are the basic cannon, missiles, and Dive System. (Technically the Hover Module is included, but that gets damaged at the beginning of the first area and needs to be repaired.) This gets Justified during a side conversation: Jason ended up "running [his old tank] ragged" during Zero's True Ending, so he had to build a new one shortly afterward. The few upgrades he starts Zero 2 with are the only ones he was able to migrate over to the new systems.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The series has a lot of maggots crawling on the floor.
  • Boss Warning Siren:
    • In the NES game, after entering a Boss Room, the screen begins to repeatedly flash as an alert siren stops the music, before fading out the screen completely and revealing the boss. Interestingly, you can leave the room just before the screen fades out completely.
    • Blasting Again prefaces boss fights with a "WARNING" screen and alarm that also doubles as a loading screen.
    • Warnings also appear in Zero, with added Boss Subtitles. Unlike the NES game, however, the room doesn't darken, and you don't have an opportunity to quickly retreat (not that you have much of a reason to, since there's always a Save Point before the boss room).
  • Broken Bridge: The layout of the game is nonlinear, but various obstacles railroad you through the levels in a specific order, eg. locked doors (between Stage 4 and 5), gravity barriers (need Hover, Dive, or Wall powers), insurmountable waist height fences (some barriers are indestructible until you're powered up), and beef gates (the Mini-Boss between Stages 1 and 2 is unbeatable until you get the Hyper upgrade).
  • Bubble Gun: Hard Shell in both the original and Zero spits bubbles, and fires more as it gets low on health.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The existence of Blaster Master II is mostly forgotten by future games in the original series. However, it did introduce the Lightning Beings, which were re-canonized in Blasting Again as Eve's species and a key antagonistic force.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • The Worlds of Power Blaster Master novel is the only novel in the series to become canon, Elements from the novel are used in Blasting Again and Zero, particularly Eve, who in the novel is the original pilot of SOPHIA III.
  • Chain Reaction Destruction: Bosses in the series have more explosive components than common sense would assume.
  • Continuity Reboot:
    • Overdrive was billed as a "re-imagining" when announced, but certain details within the game suggest that it's a prequel.
    • Similarly, Zero re-imagines the plot of the original Blaster Master game but with elements from later Blaster Master games and the Japanese Metafight continuity added in, making it a sort of "ultimate" canon.
  • Continuity Snarl: Blaster Master is known for effectively following at least two different canons that flip-flop depending on which game you're playing and what region version of which game you're playing. This is the result of the US localization heavily rewriting the plot and becoming more popular than its original Japanese version, so sequels only followed the Japanese version if you played them in Japan up to Blasting Again, when it was decided that the US canon was more favorable. The US canon carried over through the rest of the series in both regions until Zero, which takes place in either the original Japanese canon or a new version of the Japanese canon that borrows elements from the US canon, depending on your point of view.
  • Convection Schmonvection: 7th area, 1st game; and the third area of Blaster Master 2.
  • Cool Car: The SOPHIA, in all of its incarnations.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: Photophage, the third boss of the first game, which leaves clones of itself around the room that quickly become indestructible until they attack again if you can't destroy them quickly enough. Zero has multiple ones: in addition to Photophage, there's Remote Blaster, which combines this with Crosshair Aware, and Ancient Freeze, which is an entire room filled with them, with the latter two throwing Frictionless Ice into the mix.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: Every Area in Overdrive looks almost exactly the same.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: In Blasting Again, Kaiser is ultimately destroyed with the Acceleration Blast, a function of the SOPHIA J-7 that was never mentioned to exist at any point in the game.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Bosses in Blasting Again are incredibly fond of having tons of health barsnote . To wit, the first boss has 18 health bars.
  • Distant Sequel: Metafight EX takes place 55 years after the original Metafight and stars Kane Gardner's descendant as the pilot of SOPHIA-III.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Blaster Master Boy is actually the localization of the sequel to the game Bomber King, released in the west as Robowarrior.
  • Down the Drain: Stage 4 in the first game, Enemy Below, and Zero.
  • Drill Tank: An upgrade turns the SOPHIA into one in both Blaster Master 2 and Overdrive. Also, the second boss of stage 2 in Blaster Master 2.
  • Driving Up a Wall: Upgrades allow SOPHIA III to drive up walls and onto ceilings.
  • Energy Beings: The Lightning Beings from Blaster Master 2 and Blasting Again.
  • Energy Weapon: Zero's SOPHIA can obtain a Laser mod for its main weapon, which allows you to fire a laser beam as a Charged Attack that travels through walls and terrain. The SOPHIA-Zero gets a vastly superior upgraded version that allows you to instead fire it without charging, making it a better normal shot than your actual normal shot.
  • Eternal Engine: Area 3 of the first game and in Enemy Below.
  • Evolving Weapon: Jason's gun, and the SOPHIA's main cannon with the Hyper and Crusher upgrades.
  • Excuse Plot:
    • In the original, Jason is simply out to catch his irradiated mutant pet frog and stumbles upon a mobile tank, which he uses to defeat mutants from the underground. The original Japanese version has a plot about foiling an alien invasion, but it barely comes up in-game.
    • In 2, four years after the events of the first game, a new threat emerges, called Lightning Beings, which intend to go to the core of the planet and alter its axis to destroy the earth. SOPHIA was scrapped when the building it was in was struck by lighting and its parts raided by the these new enemies to help build their army of machines to achieve that end.
    • Ditto for Enemy Below, whose plot vaguely resembles something along the lines of "lab monster breaks out and sets other monsters free, so Jason has to go kill mutants again".
    • Overdrive does it as well, although the plot is slightly more believable, since it involves a virus that has started to infect all life on the planet, the protagonist's wife and child are infected and SOPHIA was stripped of its gear by advanced mutants.
  • Eyeless Face: The frog bosses in the first game have mouths, but no eyes.
  • Fake Difficulty: In the first game, in an attempt to curb the lag from having too many enemies on the screen at once, enemies will despawn if they're too close to the screen's edge, and will respawn and continue whatever they were doing after the screen scrolls to wherever they were cut off. This unfortunately leads to cases where enemies will spawn in places that were clear a second before you moved there, resulting in some very cheap damage or deaths.
  • Falling Damage:
    • If Jason falls his own maximum jumping height or less, he takes no damage. One block more than that deals one point of damage (and adds a hilarious 'bounce'), and one block more than that is fatal (unless he lands in water).
    • Averted with the Guest Fighters in Zero.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: In Blaster Master (NES), a boy finds an armored tank lying around and is able to drive it.
  • Flash of Pain: Enemies which take multiple hits to kill, tend to briefly change color when damaged.
  • Flunky Boss: The Final Boss of Overdrive largely fights by summoning other parts that spawn Mooks.
  • Foreshadowing: One of the very first enemies you come across in Area 1 in the first game will provide you with a power-up to fuel your Hover gauge. This would be a mystery to new players, since Sophia doesn't even have a Hover gauge at this time, and won't get one until the end of Area 3. Remembering this fact can help players find the entrance to Area 4 on the cliff above the place they started the game.
  • Gaiden Game: Blaster Master Boy, a Dolled-Up Installment of Bomber King 2.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: A major plot point toward the end of Zero revealed Fred can teleport to a SOPHIA unit via wormhole. In the sequel, this is used as a gameplay mechanic, allowing Jason to exit dungeons and warp back to the vehicle on the overworld.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The fifth boss of the first game, the 3rd and 6th bosses of the 2nd game, and the 1st and 3rd bosses of Overdrive.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Final Boss battle in the first game. After you defeat the Plutonium Boss, your true final opponent is... some armored knight with a plasma whip.
  • Glass Cannon: Jason, in the original and especially Zero. While he's much more vulnerable when he exits SOPHIA III in the side-scrolling sections, as he takes more damage from hazards and loses a lot of mobility (as well as being unable to descend safely), his shots can still deal somewhat respectable damage to enemies. Downplayed in the top-down sections, as the enemies there are designed to be exclusively fought by him (or the other DLC pilot characters in "Zero"), and as such he becomes an (potentially) unstoppable One-Man Army.
  • Graphics-Induced Super-Deformed: In both the original and Zero, Jason (and EX Characters in Zero) look like toys compared to their actual designs when in the overworld and in dungeons.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The Anchor Kit in Overdrive allows the S.O.P.H.I.A. to fire a hook that embeds itself into walls and ceilings to navigate high terrain. It's obtained early on, but there's a later upgrade called the Anchor Kit 2 that improves the firing distance.
  • Grimy Water:
    • Present in Blaster Master 2.
      • Droplets and small pools of water will damage not only Jason but SOPHIA as well. As an immediate subversion, Stage 5 is a completely submerged level that's harmless, but all encounters with water after this level are of the grimy variety again.
      • The water in the overhead areas of Stage 4 also counts.
    • In Zero, the main sources of harmful water is the pink water seen in stage 2/3 (dungeons) and area 5's dungeons. Water elsewhere merely hinders SOPHIA's mobility (until getting the dive upgrade).
  • Hubcap Hovercraft: Most SOPHIA models across the franchise have the ability to do this with the Hover upgrade.
  • Lava is Boiling Kool-Aid: Both in Blaster Master and in Enemy Below. Area 7's overhead stages use recoloured water from the first Blaster Master game as lava. Touching it deals two points of health damage.
  • Leap of Faith:
    • In Metafight, the final section of Area 4 required you to jump straight off a cliff and attempt to catch a single tile of ladder you can't see until you're already on the way down in order to access the lock needed get to Area 5. Alternately, you could just aim for the lock, but this kills you in the process. Understandably, this specific room was changed for Blaster Master into a simple platforming section involving ladders.
    • The Metafight version of the room is brought back for Zero, but is made significantly easier by adding a broken ladder in the background that shows where you should aim and making it slightly longer, in addition to the removal of limited lives.
  • Lethal Lava Land:
  • Lightning Bruiser: SOPHIA III, at least in the original and "Zero". From the get-go, it's already very mobile, tough, and packs impressive firepower. Turned Up to Eleven when fully upgraded.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading:
    • Blaster Master 2. On the Genesis. Yes, a cartridge-based game has this problem.
    • A recurring theme in Blasting Again.
  • Loose Canon: The exact canonicity of 2 in the western canon is never addressed, as the events of the game are never mentioned by Blasting Again. However, Blasting Again uses the Lightning Beings that debuted in 2, which leaves its canon status as "possible".
  • The Lost Woods: Stage 1, first game.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Spiked pillars in the overhead stages in Enemy Below.
  • Mana Meter:
    • The SOPHIA III's subweapon gauge serves as this; it's consumed when performing specific actions such as using Subweapons and special maneuvers, and refills gradually over time.
    • Zero's DLC characters have Subweapon gauge replacements that function this way. Gunvolt has the EP Meter, Ekoro has the Heart Gauge, Shantae has a Magic Meter, and Shovel Knight has Magic Points.
  • Metroidvania: It was this type of game before the subgenre became popular.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: Enemy Below has new maps, weapons, gameplay, and bosses, but similar graphics and music to the NES game.
  • Mirror Matches: A Boss Battle in Overdrive, which ends in a shout out to the Gaiden Game in a Make My Monster Grow moment.
  • More Dakka: Blaster Lv. 5 in Overdrive causes your gun to literally spew bullets non-stop like a gatling gun. Blaster Level 4 in Zero does the same.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • The original NES game is notoriously difficult. Nine lives max, with no passwords or save points. If you get a game over, have fun starting from the very beginning in a Metroidvania.
    • Zero added Destroyer Mode in Version 1.2, unlocked after completing the game, which greatly increases difficulty: Energy Guard is useless, Life Ups are functionally redundant and only refill you to max health, enemies are overall tankier, overworld enemies fire death bullets at you when you kill them, and dungeon enemies can only be destroyed with specific Guns or with Subweapons. As an added bonus, dungeon enemies with projectile attacks can now shoot through walls.
  • Novelization: Scholastic Publishing wrote a book based on the game as part of its Worlds of Power series. While it takes several liberties with the plot of the first game, parts of it were elevated into canon in future games, particularly the character of Eve, whose novel backstory as the owner of the SOPHIA-III was written into the series.
  • Palette Swap:
    • Bosses two and six in the first game are similar in appearance, as are bosses four and seven (which may explain why the grenade glitch (see Pause Scumming below) only seems to work on them).
    • In Zero, playing as EX Characters will change the SOPHIA III's appearance to match the character being played. For example, when playing as Gunvolt, the SOPHIA III becomes yellow and blue. Destroyer Mode also gives SOPHIA and Jason a grey color palette.
  • Pause Scumming: In the first game, it's possible to beat some of the bosses by hitting them with grenades and pausing at the right moment. If you do it right, the boss will keep taking damage while paused. Be careful, however, as this also works in reverse.
  • Power Up Letdown:
    • In the original Blaster Master and Metafight, several gun levels are these in one way or the other.
      • Gun levels 4-5 cause the gun to pseudorandomly alternate between firing straight shots and shots that arc to the left or right of Jason/Kane and then go behind him.
      • Gun levels 6-7 travel in sinusoidal waves. The main problem is that the way the bullets travel make it hard to hit some objects in front of Jason/Kane, and that they are absorbed by walls so firing these when Jason/Kane is next to one is useless. Attempts to shoot some bosses' tiny weak points can be frustrated by the wave pattern and the bullets' absorption when they hit some other part of the boss.
      • Gun level 8 is like gun levels 6-7, but its shots pierce walls instead of getting absorbed by walls. It is great at clearing out rooms of Mooks, but terrible at precision targeting. Attempts to shoot some bosses' tiny weak points can be frustrated by the wave pattern.
    • The upgrades for Jason's gun in Enemy Below. He can only collect three, but good luck collecting more than one due to losing them quickly to enemy attacks.
    • And in Blasting Again, where the max weapon upgrade transforms Roddy's gun into a powerful but extremely short-range flamethrower. The 2nd-highest upgrade is far more practical.
  • Real Is Brown: In Overdrive.
  • Revisiting the Roots: This was Overdrive's take after the mixed bag that was Blasting Again, which attempted 3D conversion of the traditional formula. Inti Creates tried this again with Zero and was on the whole more successful than Overdrive.
  • Sequel Hook: Overdrive ends with the image of a comet approaching Earth, followed by the phrase "... the battle has just begun...".
  • Shapeshifting: Blasting Again reveals that the Lightning Beings are Eve's species; survivors from when the Plutonium Boss destroyed their world.
  • Shielded Core Boss: The Area 6 boss in Overdrive. Damaging the boss's feet eventually disables it, leaving its core vulnerable to attack for a short time.
  • Shout-Out: The protagonist and his frog are named Jason and Fred...
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Area 6 in the original, Zero, and Overdrive. Zero throws some twists into the formula, though: most rooms in the area start off normal, but you need to use control panels inside caves to freeze them over in order to proceed further in the area, and Jason can use his flamethrower weapon to melt icy floors inside dungeons, which also restricts the movement of some of the enemies.
  • Soft Water: On land, Jason is subjected to Falling Damage when outside SOPHIA III. However, he's perfectly safe if he lands in water, even from heights far exceeding what would normally be fatal.
  • Spikes of Doom: Everywhere in the last area in the original and in Enemy Below.
  • The Stinger: Overdrive has one in which a comet ominously approaches Earth, accompanied by the Sequel Hook text "The battle has just begun..."
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: In the "overworld" sections, Jason has no problem swimming through water — much more so than SOPHIA until it gets the "Dive" upgrade. Inverted in the "on-foot" sections of Areas 4 and 7, where falling into water/lava means instant death. In Zero, falling into water or lava just damages you.
  • Super Prototype: The Purposefully Overpowered Sword of Plot Advancement from the first Zero, SOPHIA-Zero, is revealed to be one in Zero II. Although vastly superior compared to the normal tank, being built on such short notice means it came loaded with design flaws, and the tank is ultimately pushed beyond its limits by the time Zero II rolls around. Jason ends up scrapping it for parts and using its cannon on his new tank, the GAIA-SOPHIA, which isn't quite as strong as the previous tank but makes up for it with its own unique capabilities.
  • Temple of Doom: Stage 2 of the original.
  • Tennis Boss: Venom Master in Destroyer Mode can only be damaged by reflecting shots back into him, whether his own or those of his flunky minions, which thankfully drop gun upgrades when killed in case you get hit to the point where you lose Reflect.
  • This Is a Drill: The Drill Kit in Overdrive equips a large drill to the front of S.O.P.H.I.A. that can be used to destroy enemies with a Dash Attack and bore through certain blocks.
  • Turns Red: The crab boss from the first game fires more and more bullets at you as you damage it, and the Photophage's turrets move faster as more are destroyed.
  • Under the Sea: The fifth areas in the first and second games, as well as the 'Water' area in Blasting Again.
  • Underwater Ruins: Area 5 of both the original and Zero. In the original, it was represented by simple turquoise pillars, but in Zero, going far down enough will reveal actual ruins in the background.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: You get a weapon upgrade for your tank which allows you to blow away certain walls, which will respawn after a couple of seconds. However, should you get out of your tank and walk through the passage, once it respawns, you have no way to get back to your tank. Also, since you can't shoot downward, you won't be able to go back in any case when blocks respawn below you. There are a number of places where you also can't kill yourself, leaving you totally trapped, forcing you to reset.
  • Utility Weapon:
    • Subweapons in the series typically also serve puzzle-solving roles that may or may not involve blowing things up.
    • Shovel Knight's Shovel Blade covers a wide range of functions that are typically relegated to special weapons, such as being able to break walls and destroy ice rocks.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: Played straight in Blasting Again. Averted in Zero, where its main flaw is being overshadowed by the Wave Beam, but it's a perfectly usable weapon otherwise and is the only weapon that can destroy specific walls in Area 5 and melt icy floors in Area 6.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • The first boss of Overdrive. Only Alex's grenade launcher can reliably strike its weak point, and it has barely enough range to avoid touching the boss in the process.
    • Enemy Below's second boss teaches you why dodging is useful.
    • Same for the first boss of the original.
  • Wall Crawl: In the first game, you can get two "Wall" upgrades — one that lets you cling to and drive up walls, and another that lets you transfer from walls to ceilings. This makes the Hover powerup almost useless outside of very specific situations where there are no walls nearby to climb. The two upgrades have been merged into a single upgrade in Zero.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The recurring Acceleration Blast subweapon, which debuted in Blasting Again (via New Powers as the Plot Demands in a cutscene). It is only actually usable in one game it appears in, where it is the epitome of Awesome, but Impractical, but damn, if it doesn't make for good Cutscene Bosses.
  • Womb Level: The final stage of the first game, may appear in others.
  • Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning: The lightning attack in Blaster Master is definitely the yellow variety. Subsequent games have moved directly to blue lightning.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • The Final Boss of Overdrive.
    • Some of the Dungeon "bosses" in Zero, which require you to dispatch multiple mooks.


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