|Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review|
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|Game Type:||Platform||Memory Card|
|Review Date:||August 1998||Analog Compatible|
Setting the Scene
Ever see the Bugs Bunny cartoon... you know, the one with Marty the Martian. The one where Bugs is trying to stop Marty from using some kind of Z22 demodulator or whatever it was called, from blowing up the Earth. During that cartoon Bugs and Marty are running around in an alien landscape that consisted of sidewalks that are suspended in space. If you know the cartoon that I am talking about, you now have a perfect mental image of what the game Blasto looks like. The images could have been lifted right from this episode...and that's a good thing. Just substitute Bugs with Blasto, a Dudley DoRight kinda of guy. Also substitute saving the Earth with saving babes and you have yourself an interactive cartoon where you get to control the good guy in a wild romp that will take you from outer space to underground caves, all the way to strange planets. During your adventure you will encounter all sorts of aliens that will try to stand between you and your ultimate goal of saving those babes! So strap on your laser pistol, sharpen that wit and get ready to whomp some alien butt cause Blasto has come to save the day (or at least try to!)...
Blasto is a 3D 3rd person action title. It is a "go anywhere" type of game limited only by the boarders of empty space or stuff you just can't get around. The 3D illusion created by this title is a good one.
The graphics in Blasto have a real retro look to them. Everything appears to be Gouraud shaded, which gives the game a rather stark and "cartoony" look to it. Texture mapping has been left to a minimum, used just to add some flavor here and there. I mean this seriously when I say it truly looks like you're in a cartoon world. The special effects used in this game are dazzling. There are outstanding particle effects that occur when you shoot an alien and they disintegrate or when you shatter some glass or when your laser skips off an object or...well you get the picture, it looks awesome! There also appears to be a decent anti-aliasing software routine at work that does a pretty good job smoothing out the pixilation. The planets that are hanging out in the background of the first 3 levels are outstanding with truly vibrant colors. There is also liberal use of transparencies throughout the game like when you are swimming and diving through water, etc. I really thought the developers did a super job portraying a different style and graphic approach in this game. The closet comparison I could draw would be the failed Bubsy 3D game, but to be honest it really can't touch the special touches this game possesses.
Sounds and Effects
The music seems to have been inspired by the old cornball Sci-Fi "B" movies or Flash Gordon episodes. Lot's of spooky overtones with cascading keyboard effects can be found throughout the title. There is also some grand Star Wars style music that accompanies the start of the game and can be heard throughout various levels. The sound effects are brilliant with superb laser effects, echoing footsteps clanking across metallic corridors and the sweet cooing of the babes as you rescue them. This is all very nice but the real topper is the magnificent voice-overs for Blasto that have been provided by the late, great Phil Hartman. The one liners are a riot and a welcome addition to the title.
Gameplay in Blasto is perhaps the biggest complaint I have with this title. Movement is somewhat clunky and labored at times. Jumping accurately is an art form all in itself and the camera angles, while actually done quite well, occasionally overshoot their mark at precisely the worst possible moment...but I'm getting ahead of myself here. The premise behind Blasto is a simple one. You are a righteous do-gooder whose job is to rescue babes that have been captured by an evil alien armada. You start off the game at the spaceport and make your way along sidewalks that apparently hang in deep space. Fall off and you are greeted with a picture of a skull, which means you have just expended a life, and a one-liner from Blasto as he falls into space (how can you actually "fall" in space?). As you walk through the spaceport there are various buttons that must be pressed to open passageways somewhere else on that level. Sometimes you need to backtrack after pushing a button and try to figure out just what has been opened and where, but luckily for the most part there are floating platforms that can used to get you to your next destination. Littered about the play-field are various power-ups for health and ammo. There is also a nice armor power-up that morphs Blasto into a shiny gold superhero for a short amount of time. While in this state you are invincible against enemy fire, but can still fall off the edges of stuff and die. Now here lies the problem...there is lots of floating, moving platforms that you must jump on in the first few levels to proceed further in the game. Later levels have you edging along cliffs and jumping over crevasses and such. This would be fine if the control in these situations was spot-on, but alas it is not. There is a very definite lag from the time you press the jump button to the time Blasto actually decides to go airborne, often resulting in a missed platform and you plummeting to your untimely death. It's a good thing you get multiple continues (I believe there are five) and five lives per continue because with all of the missteps you are going to suck up those lives quite fast. As with anything, you do actually get used to the delay and learn to compensate for it. Once accomplished the game actually starts to become quite enjoyable and challenging in a good way. Throughout the game you will encounter all sorts of weird alien life forms that are totally bent on your destruction. Of course Blasto being the super hero that he is always has his laser pistol at the ready. Firing off shots is a breeze and requires minimal aiming to hit your target. Once hit, the enemy will either break apart or disintegrate into a million little pieces. My favorite shot of the game is the exploding headshot! To do this you press and hold the fire button. Doing this pumps up the power in your laser to critical levels...while you are holding the button line up an alien and release the button. If done correctly it will blow the poor alien scums head clean off. The resulting animation consists of a staggering headless body and fine wisps of smoke escaping from the neck. Hehehe. You also have your customary end of the level boss match-up to deal with as well. Some of the bosses are tough, but once you get their pattern down you can make mince meat out of them. At any rate, for the most part this is one pretty damn good game. Once you get past the quirks, and there are several of them, you are rewarded with a unique game that has those wonderful little touches laced throughout it that make a game so special. For example, I thought the space bathroom scene was a riot...there's other stuff as well just waiting for you to stumble across them.
Value for Money
Blasto is a pretty long game with rather huge levels...it's not something you will finish in a few hours. It also offers a good challenge, sometimes due to the rather poor controls... Unfortunately, once you finish the game there isn't really much reason to go back and pick it up again. Its linear approach generally means that once you're done...you are done.
I would rate Blasto a pretty enjoyable experience. Once I got used to
rather clumsy controls and learned to compensate for them, I was able to
settle in and really appreciate all that the game had to offer.
The graphics are retro and rather surreal and do a good job in portraying the overall outer space theme of this game.
The sound effects are brilliant and you are even treated to Phil Hartman's voice as icing on the cake.