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Blast Corps

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Reviewed by Stryker Lately, there hasn't been much in the way of originality. Racing, Tomb Raider clones, Doom clones, or many other rampant genres have taken over the world. Along comes Rare with a brilliantly executed, totally original cartridge. Blast Corps. You are a member of Blast Corps, a wrecking team that broke off from the US Army. A carrier containing two defective nuclear bombs has begun to leak, and it has locked onto a direct course through 20 cites, towns, and harbors. Containing 57 stages, the game will take forever to complete with endless challenges to go for higher honors. Bronze, silver, and gold medals are awarded for faster times on training, and then main, levels. Eventually, skilled gamers will reach the Platinum Challenge. Can you get 57 platinums? Try.

Graphics 8 out of 10

Blast Corps and its 16 vehicles come with a variety of solid polygon buildings and settings. BC's best graphic example is the water's calm waves, but Blast Corps also has unforgivably bad instances such as the wimpy explosions. Even the biggest explosion in the game looks more like a force field. Camera angles are key in the game. And, with the N64's great camera system, you have up to 25 different angles. The problem is that in some training levels like Dark Heartland and Baboon Catacomb, the camera is fixed. This is extremely frustrating, especially in the Baboon Catacomb Pac-Man rewrite where you need to run under the camera with four trucks chasing you through the RDU maze. Thankfully, the much larger Pac-Man level Gibbons Gate has a movable camera angle. Blast Corps includes five astronomy levels, with the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Neptune. Not mentioning that Neptune is really a gas giant not a rock planet, but all of the levels have exactly the same ground pattern save the color. A solid go-round, but nothing to write home about.

Music and Sound 8 out of 10

I'll describe the music by saying this: My dad, who spends his spare time telling me that video games are junk, liked the music from Diamond Sands. To make up for this miscue, they do have the "stellar" track from Cromlech Court and Venus. Then there's the "peace" track that only plays in J-Bomb levels, the rock one in Outland Farm, the hard rock one in Sleek Streets, the turbostellar track found in Moon and Mars, and my favorite, the Angel City track I love. Making up for the hillbilly music and some lackluster music found in Corvine Bluff is never fully done. Annoying sound bytes from your four team members will drive you insane. A quip is thrown in at the start and finish of all training level, not to mention when you're doing bad or good. Amber annoys you with the sexist line "You're just trying to impress me," and she also does that with "Try something else." Whoever says "Looks tricky" should be killed too. I find myself screaming curses at the team while they frantically yell at me.

Game Challenge 10 out of 10

Your main objective is to complete the 20 levels by clearing the park. Some levels are designed to be 1-vehicle destruction like Simain Acres. Some are easier via switch, like Carrick Point. But the trickiest ones come at the end, like the mind-boggling Oyster Harbor, train-track-sided Diamond Sands, and the grass-filled Glory Crossing. Since grass prevents the Backlash, the most difficult vehicle, from doing his thing, it's frustrating. Then, you'll see credits. But wait! Another clearing level. By finding the Thunderfist, you can plow through all of the city to clear the way for the shuttle. Then you'll go to a Moon level, where you'll use the Backlash to clear through 30 buildings. The anti-gravity effect sends the Backlash into wild spins which can be either fun or frustrating. After obtaining gold, you'll need to go back and get gold on all of the Earth levels. To get second gold on the main levels you need to blow up all the buildings, touch 100 RDUs, and save a number of survivors. After getting gold on them all, you'll have to go through Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Neptune. Mars is very fun to run through ditches and soar into the geodes. Get gold on them all. Then you'll need to go back and do the main levels faster! Don't worry, though. You don't need to push blocks, just destroy all the buildings. And they used to count until the carrier left the level!! Now you have to worry. You now need to earn 57 platinums. Have you noticed you could mess up and still get gold? Get real!! Now you'll have to be perfect!! I've only gotten 43, but I'm still trying. You'll need a lot of luck, and turbo boosts, to make it.

Game Play-Fun 8 out of 10

It does get rather frustrating after a while of no-go attempts on gold/platinum. But it is gratifying with all the secrets. I wish they could have done some type of multiplayer battle, or timed race to blow up buildings. Sigh. I've bought it a half-year ago and I'm still loving it. You will too.


There's much to be spouted here. 1. The racing levels are poorly designed. 2. The World screen looks nothing like the real world. 3. If the carrier's on a direct course, why are the levels all spread out? 4. The planets' terrain is exactly the same. 5. It may take hours to get a tough platinum, like Backlash, Skyfall, or Diamond Sands. But it's a very good game. Buy it.

Replayability 8 out of 10

Sorry, Rare. But, after such a frustrating run to the top, who would want to replay it? I admit that I like replaying levels to beat times I could have done better on, or to use the coolest vehicles like J-Bomb and Thundrefist, so that keeps it at 8.

Game Value 10 out of 10

$59.99. That's about a dollar per level. Now, you need to earn 99 gold medals plus 57 platinums. That's 156 medals needed for 60. Quick division, that's about 39 cents per medal needed. Hot dog that's a good deal!

Memory 6 out of 10

I was forced to buy a Memory Pak after my game erased the one battery-backup game twice. I had done nothing, yet my platinum runs were halted at 5 and 32, respectively. The Memory Pak lets you automatically compare game files to each other in times, guest players, and it saves further than the last medal improvement.

Overall 92 out of 100

This game was a surprise hit in my house. I rented it half-heartedly, grumbling "But it's rated KA! It's a wuss game! I want Turok!!" Three days later I decided to halt my savings for Star Fox 64 and to channel it to a used copy of Blast Corps. Boy, am I glad I got a game you can actually SAVE on!! Buy it, buy it, buy it!!!

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