Review by Kai

"Originally released in Japan as"

Story line ( Based from the Worlds of Power Novel ):
After a dream, an adolescent finds himself chasing after his closest friend, a frog named Fred. Apparently, this young man's bond with his pet is so great, that he pursues after the amphibian after it disappears into the darkness of below. The youth slides down a crevice found in the swampy area, near a plutonium plant, and finds himself in a world underneath his own. Along with this newly discovered region of Earth, he finds a vehicle ( SOPHIA 3rd NORA-MA or simply NORA MA in Japan ), and it's pilot. ( Either an Alien or a human scientist .. depending on nationality )After a short conversation, the objective is clear.
To find his friend, he must travel the dominion of a Lightning Being who is trying to destroy the Earth from it's core.

Overall, Blaster Master has a pretty original story line .. even if the concept of a modern teenager risking his life for a frog is a rather far-fetched idea. The characters, Kein(Kane)/Jason and NORA-MA/SOPHIA 3rd NORA-MA are in both versions .. but left out of the US port is the scientist, Jennifer.. later added in an unlicensed novel as an alien called ''Eve''.

Musical Score:
From the opening melody to the song playing during the credits, Blaster Master pushes the NES to it's limits. Processing the entire musical score on the NES's sound core gave this game rather 'chip-ish' sound, and might now be considered low grade. One must remember, Blaster Master is a NES game .. that system does not have the capacity to output CD-Quality sound that even some Playstation games of today lack.
Personally, I used to become inspired by Area 1's music, screw around to Area 2's, and be all around creeped out by Area 4's. The final Boss fight's music, though remixed from Area 7, is beyond words. Well, to rate music, you have to actually like the genre of the game's set theme. I happen to like the idea of a Futuristic/Medieval blend.

Game Play, Control:
All game's have their difficulties, and once mastered, the controller becomes your ultimate tool in video game domination.
First off, if you're new to the Platform / Action genre of NES, this game will seem nearly impossible without the usage of a Cheat Device. Second of all, even if you consider yourself an elite platformist, this game is going to push your talent to the limit.
Blending elements from Star Tropics and Ninja Gaiden, Blaster Master allows you to acquire various upgrades to your A-Vehicle ( SOPHIA ) in the 2D platform stages, allowing access to new areas, most often times discovered in places you would have never thought of looking. However, to gain these power-ups, you have to abandon your security of a large gun, missiles, vertical lightning beams, and homing projectiles for your trusty blaster and grenades. Jason can acquire an upgraded blaster by collecting capsules .. but SOPHIA's upgrades come from the death of a mutant underlord.
The only issue I've had with this game and it's play .. is that once you acquire certain upgrades .. it's rather difficult to perform even the simple feat of short jumps into small passages.

Graphics, Sprites and Details:
If you've played this game, then you know what this is all about. Like Ninja Gaiden, animated cinema! ..not as many as Ninja Gaiden, but .. there is reason for that. Area 1's graphics seem at first below par ... vast spaces of black and large spreads of blue. Of course, about the time you're noticing this you see the real reason Blaster Master shines. Look at SOPHIA. It's detailed. Very rare in a NES game to have that accurate of representation.
The 3/4 overhead view stages are breath-taking for the 8-bit system. Amazing detail to even the little things ( meaning 16x16 pixel things. This IS an NES game. ) The boss fights are rather fearsome, mutants that look like mutants, not blobs of repeated matter ( Give the alternative coloured things a break.. Jason's hair being an example. )
Can I not say more? I think I've already said enough about this game's graphics. You can tell what things are, 'nuff said.

Summary of Review, Overall Score:

Blaster Master is a great game, a pity so few sequels were released. The Genesis version ruined the image of this game's series .. and the gameboy version wasn't even a Blaster Master saga to begin with! If you own a NES and you do not have this game in your library .. I truly pity you. My final word before the end results:
Imagine Castlevania; Symphony of the Night only in 8-bit crossed over with Legend of Zelda. Worship the Mutant Slayers.

Story : 9.7 / 10 - Extremely Original
Music : 9.8 / 10 - Incredible
G.Play : 9.5 / 10 - Difficult, Includes variety
Graphics: 10 / 10 - Amazing, very few flaws.
Replay : For a NES game, extremely high. There's always something to miss no matter how many times you've played it.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/29/01, Updated 08/29/01

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