Review by KFHEWUI

"Before Starfox there was Blaster"

Blaster follows a spaceship that is trying to find paradise after the survivors on board escaped from the destruction of their world by the Robotrons. The sequel to Robotron plays nothing like Robotron.

The cabinet for Blaster was different from most of the arcade games from the time. Instead of being up right cabinet, Blaster had a built in seat with a screen and a control pad that had three buttons and a joystick, and it felt like sitting in a space ship like the player would control. The button on the left of the joystick is start, and the two on the right are fire and thrust. Control scheme is great, and the controls are solid and responsive.

When starting a new game, a screen with four options will pop up, and each box represent a different wave that the player can start on start with wave one to wave four. Wave one starts off with the ship flying through a village, and the graphics gorgeous. The enemies in the game are three dimensional, and they are composed of blocks. When the enemies are killed, they shatter into blocks which look great and definitely made Blaster a game that was a head of its time. In wave one there are barriers that the player can fly through to gain extra points, and each barrier gives an additional thousand points. At a hundred thousand points, the player is award with an extra life, and this is too high. Getting to hundred thousand points is no easy task, and the game starts the player out with two lives. It is very easy to go through those lives in no time since there is a steep learning curve.

There is no music in the game, but there are sound effects which sound great. The whooshing of a space ship through space, shattering of enemies, player's gunfire, and some enemies have unique sound effects, and this works well and helps the player to concentrate better especially once the player learns all the sound effects of the enemies.

Wave two tasks the player with saving spacemen (astronauts) that will fly towards the player which award the player with points for each one save like the barriers in wave one. Wave two does not have a scrolling Technicolor ground instead the background is black with rocks, enemies, and spacemen flying at the player. Taking three hits is instant death, and the enemies bullets can sometimes blend into the chaos that is going which can lead to some cheap hits. Since the game is first person, there is a box that is marked at the corners with white lines that represent the player. If an enemy hits the box, damage is taken, and it also is used for aiming.

Wave three is similar to the previous wave except there are only U.F.O.'s attacking the player, and the player is tasked with destroying the red U.F.O. Wave four has the player being attacked by vampires, but vampires in this game are flying robots. Wave five is similar to the first wave except there are now new enemies and a ceiling overhead, and the game does spike in the difficulty.

Wave six gives the player some breathing room, and there are no enemies in the level however there are spacemen that can be rescued for bonus points. Wave seven is back to action as the robotrons start attacking again, and there are only thirteen more waves to pass through before reach wave twenty which is paradise. After reaching paradise, the game restarts at wave one.

Reaching paradise is no easy task at all, and Blaster is a difficult game. This game takes a while to master, and while it is easy to jump in and play, death will come frequent in the early playthroughs. Skills and mastering the game are definitely needed however there are a few problems that I have with the game, and the first involves the health system. Three hits from an enemy is death, and every once in a while there will be a blue letter "E" that can be seen. Touching the letter "E" will restore the player's health, but the letter is placed far apart from each other. There should have been more "E's", and not to many to make the game too easy.

Secondly there is no continue system, and game over means starting the entire game over. Blaster will take a lot of quarters before being beaten, and some may not have the patience or will be willing to pay that much to make it through the game. Even with the steep difficulty, I still found the game fun and jumped right back in after getting my butt handed to me.

Blaster is an impressive game that was a head of its time with gorgeous graphics and unique cabinet design.

Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/03/12

Game Release: Blaster (US, 12/31/83)

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