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Blast Corps

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Reviewed by Derek Kisman Well, Rare has done it again. I really don't know how they keep up this track record, but I've been loving Rare games long before I even knew they were made by the same company ("R.C. Pro Am", "Snake, Rattle, and Roll", "Battletoads", and "Killer Instinct" come immediately to mind). I must admit that I really wasn't expecting a whole lot from Blast Corps. First of all, I didn't know it was made by Rare. Second, from hearing descriptions of what the game was about I really failed to see the point. So before you read the rest of my review, try to realize that if you haven't played the game, you may not understand just what makes Blast Corps the amazingly addictively fun time-gobbler that it is... The game itself is a fairly simple concept (as usual); use various vehicles to destroy buildings. The extremely cheesy plot idea (heck, they even admit it) is that there is a carrier with nuclear missiles aboard that's out of control, and you must demolish everything in its path. But that's just an excuse to get you out there, merrily demolishing everything in sight. The vehicles show a VERY large amount of variety. There are more control schemes to get used to than Shadows of the Empire. From the simple trains and boats (A accelerates, B brakes... duh?) to the evil, evil Dumptruck From Heck (aka the Backlash), which is one of the most unique, challenging, and altogether FUN vehicles I've ever had to demolish buildings with. Ahem. One of the things that makes the game great is its huge exploration aspect. Ok, so it's no RPG. But after you've cleared the carrier's path in each main level, you RETURN to the level to try to find all the buildings, RDUs (little dots that turn on when you get near), Communication Points (secret exits to some FUN bonus training levels), bonus vehicles, and more. Destroying things in the path of the carrier is pure fun, but doesn't tend to stretch your brain too much (with notable exceptions); however, often finding everything in a level is a real puzzle. It's funny, because the carrier really isn't the main focus of the game. The main focus on the game is on exploration, and challenging yourself on the many, many main path and training levels. Some of the training levels are *really* neat; the Pac-man ones really got me laughing! There is a lot of variety in all the different challenges the game has; there are timed races, demolition sprees, and more. The whole game has a basis of simple, tongue-in-cheek fun. Very few games match this; many of the most recent ones are for the Nintendo 64. The game never really ends, either; trust me, at every point that you think you've solved every challenge it can throw at you, suddenly the playing field gets a whole lot nastier! So you can clear the path for the carrier on each level? Ok, now explore every level and get all the Communication Points. Then get gold medals on all the training levels. Now find all the Scientists. Now suddenly you'll find you're being timed - on the main levels! After that, the game tosses a few more, VERY neat training levels your way. If you struggle through, gasp weakly, and get the final gold medal... I'll save that as a surprise, but believe me, you're not even CLOSE to done. Ok, now let's go to a breakdown:

GRAPHICS: 9.8/10

Really, really nice graphics here. The biggest problem is that the viewpoint is a little constricted (you often want to be able to see a map screen, or ANYTHING). And there are a couple of graphics glitches that pop up occasionally, like in any game. But on the whole, the graphics are very polished and impressive. I was often amazed when I looked closely and found just how much detail this tree had, or how the occasional terrain maps, which look detailed enough to be bitmaps, actually DO have depth. Very nicely done! The vehicles look nice, and often you can't help but feel that you're tossing a Tonka truck around or something. The robots don't look quite as good, but you can't have everything. Taking some of the jumps is a LOT of fun, and sometimes gives me vertigo. Of course, the explosions are the best yet out on the N64; it's obvious a lot of work went into designing all the merry mayhem. I just love seeing my bulldozer emerge from the smoking cloud of dust, watching my race car go out of control and flatten a fence or two, or seeing my Backlash sideswipe a barn out of existence. Only problem is that you can't eradicate EVERYTHING in sight; the trees can't be knocked over. D'oh! Convenient how the carrier's path never intersects things you can't remove or fix, isn't it? ;) Oh, and by the way, there is no clipping or fog, in case you're wondering. Of course, that IS due to the way they handle their viewpoint, but it leads to some very nice graphical moments!


Well, Rare has always had impressive music in my book. They do a really great job of making you forget everything you've heard about how "CD muzik RoCkS!!!!11!! Cartiges STINKS!!!!!!" From the moment the title screen appears, the music is something that definitely makes you want to turn the volume UP, not down. As for the sound effects: well, to tell the truth, I really could do without the voices at the start of each level. Though I do like the guy who asks "You runnin' away or something?" whenever the carrier's about to hit a building. I generally like voices in these games, but in this case I have to say they were more of an annoyance here. Aside from the voices, I like all the rest of the effects, from the clatters of buildings tumbling to the calling of survivors ("Over here!") to the rumbling of the engines.

FUN: 10/10

I believe I've covered this already. If you haven't played the game, you probably can't appreciate just how much fun it is. So why bother trying to convince you?


Usually the biggest flaw in these games, I think that Blast Corps will actually have a special spot on my gaming shelf for a long while to come. Replayability is fine, but games are never quite as fun to do for the second or third time. But Blast Corps does provides an answer to this. As I said above, once you finish all the Gold medals, there is an added set of challenges which I expect will last you for a long while... Though I'm still not telling. ;) I bet one of the other Reviews will, though; oh well, I did my best. And heck, even in addition to that, Blast Corps is as replayable as any game. There's something disturbingly satisfying in wreaking untold destruction on innocent little hamlets. Hey, I often just blow up the carrier myself and watch it destroy everything. :)

OVERALL: 9.6/10

Conclusion? I hope you're reading this review on a laptop while waiting in line to purchase the game, because otherwise valuable demolition time is wasting! Buy it! NOW!

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