What more-needs to be said about Blast Corps? The mission is simple: Destroy everything in the path of a runaway missile carrier as il makes its way across the urban and rural areas in the game. This way gamers can destroy literally everything, because if it gets in the way of the carrier, the whole world will blow up. Would we want a little single-family home to cause something like that? No so gamers can destroy it without feeling bad.
The graphics are sharp with reflection mapping on the metallic parts and smooth edges all the way around. There seems to be a changing camera view as well. It isn't known if the view is controllable. Gamers can use several vehicles including a dump truck, a front loader and a giant robot of some sort. The game is supposed to have a point system that allows gamers to purchase vehicle upgrades as the game progresses.
- MANUFACTURER - Nintendo
- THEME - Action
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
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Isn't it ironic, don't you think, that the only way to save the world in Blast Corps is to destroy it? But irony isn't the only thing this relatively unhyped hybrid of puzzle and action game has going for it.
First and foremost, this sucker is big-60 levels big, in fact. The goal of most levels is pretty simple: Use a variety of vehicles to demolish everything in the path of a runaway, bombcarrying truck. Other levels-the bonus stages (see sidebar)-have you zipping through hilly race courses; destroying a set number of buildings or collecting the scattered Radiation Detection Units, Blast Corps' equivalent of Mario stars.
Blast Corps' premise is more than a little offbeat. Apparently, Earth's top eggheads have decided that the best way to rid the planet of its nuclear arsenal is to transport the nukes across the country in an unmanned carrier. Unfortunately, the carrier's cruise control has gone haywire, and the big red rig is rolling steadily onward, unstoppable and out of control. If the plodding carrier should knock into any buildings, its megaton payload will make a very big boom. So it's your job-as a member of the Blast Corps-to clear a path for the carrier, from one end of the level to another.
Lucky for you, the Blast Corps has access to some very cool vehicles (12 in all] to make your building-bashing business easier. You start the game with a bulldozer, which'll topple most structures if you slam against them long enough. And scattered throughout the levels you'll find the other, more specialized smashing machines (see sidebar for a closer look).
Most of these vehicles are hidden, making Blast Corps a game of exploration as well as demolition. Fortunately, once you clear a path for the carrier and complete a level, you can go back in and explore it at your leisure. You'll also want to collect all the Radiation Detection Units, destroy all the buildings and rescue all the people in each level, too. Completing all these tasks will earn you a gold medal, which in turn opens more levels.
Graphically speaking, Blast Corps is just as pretty as Rare's other releases. The 3-D landscapes (you'll roll through country, city, seaside and suburban locales) look fantastic and possess an especially convincing sense of depth. You can pan your view around your vehicle Mario 64-style, as well as zoom in and out. But what'll really blow away gamers are the explosions. Everything in Blast Corps blows up real nice, filling the screen with balls of incandescent fire as you crunch and slide through city blocks and farm houses.
There's more to Blast Corps, however, than Die Hard-inspired fireballs. Each level is a puzzle of sorts, each vehicle a tool with different strengths and weaknesses. The dump truck, for instance, is most effective when you power slide into structures. Some buildings only topple after you shove a crate of explosives next to them, and you have to ration these crates to last the entire level. Other levels are home to ships, trains and cranes you'll use to haul your vehicles between points A and B. Sometimes you'll even need to fill holes that lie in the carrier's path, thus saving the big rig from a disastrous, explosive tumble.
Above all, Blast Corps keeps you on the move-and on the edge of your seat. The suspense generated by the carrier as it rumbles across the antialiased landscape is intense. Judging by the reactions of EGM staff members, you'll rock in your seat, scream at the TV and swear in frustration as the rig rolls closer and closer to a building. But you'll have a heck of a lot of fun while doing it.
Blast Corps' bulldozer not exciting enough for you? Don't worry--soon enough you'll trade it in for more powerful, and often more bizarre, vehicles. Scattered throughout the game are 11 other smashing machines, including a dump truck, van. dune buggy, missilelaunching motorcycle, three cars (which are perfect for the racing levels), three robots and a massive truck named Sideswipe, whose side-mounted battering rams rip into nearby buildings.
Most vehicles have a special power. For instance, the dune buggy packs turbo speed, the dump truck can power slide into structures and the gold robot will tumble and flip into buildings. You'll only find a few new vehicles in each level (and often just one). But once you find a vehicle, it becomes available for use in bonus levels.
- MANUFACTURER - Nintendo
- THEME - ACTION
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
Blast Corps is the most intense game ever made...at least most of the time. You'll spend half the game on the edge of your seat, smashing and blowing stuff up with a collection of whacked-out Tonka trucks, trying to clear a path for a rolling, nuke-haul-ing semi. If the errant nuke should knock into a structure you left standing, then KABOOM! Thank you, try again later. It's a silly premise, sure (why doesn't someone just turn off the bomb truck-DUHQ, but originality is one of the game's strongest points. And there's more to Blast Corps than mindless destruction and pretty explosions; it often demands some good of' puzzle-game head scratching'. Sometimes you have to shove around crates of TNT to take out sturdier structures, fill potholes with slabs of concrete or transport your vehicle to different parts of a level via a crane, train or ship. But the real puzzle is figuring out how to topple the buildings fast enough so that you can stay one step ahead of the bomb carrier. Blast Corps packs 12 vehicles-from a tumbling robot to a missile-launching motorcycle-which you'll gradually stumble upon throughout the game. Most smashing machines have a special power that you must learn, and the first 20 levels act almost as a tutorial for newbie drivers (trust me-it'll take a while to master the power-sliding dump truck). The other half of Blast Corps-the exploration side of the game-is much more laid back. Once you complete a level, you can hop back in, relax and explore it at your leisure, looking for hidden vehicles, more buildings to smash, radar dishes and lost scientists. Finding all these secrets opens up bonus levels, which have you racing cars, destroying more buildings-even smashing a lunar base. (And just wait until you see the level that pays homage to Pac-Man, complete with colored bulldozers as the ghosts!) With all its normal and bonus levels, Blast Corps packs more than 60 stages (fortunately. you can save your progress to the cartridge). And while the antialiased landscapes are incredible (especially their sense of depth) and the bonus stages are OK, the game's greatest strength is the palpable sense of suspense it creates as you watch the semi rolling closer to a stubborn structure. You pummeled the house but it doesn't crumble. The semi's closing in. You slam the building again, but it still won't fall! The semi's nearly on it! We're gonna die!
I'll admit it I'm a starving Nintendo 64 player. I'll try anything that comes through at this point. Even though I'm a little desperate, I do have to say that Blast Corps is a real winner. Needless to say, the graphics are excellent The sound, although it's nothing I'd want on CD, fits the game well and really builds up the tension, although I don't like the jaw harp song at all. What impresses me the most about Blast Corps is the variety-in many ways. First, all of the vehicles to choose from; second, all of the secrets to discover and last, all of the different styles of levels to play through. Still, what it comes down to is level after level of destroying stuff which might get old. Overall, this one is a definite buy.
Don't judge a book by its cover, right? Well, when I first saw Blast Corps, I thought that it looked extremely boring. It's a good thing that I had to review it, because I discovered that it was very fun to play. It's the type of adrenaline-pumping, addicting experience that will make you say, "just one more round," or more likely, "let me give that last round one more shot." The game is definitely challenging, and you'll have to retry some levels over and over (but you'll have fun doing it). The variety keeps the game interesting, and the action never gets old. The graphics and sound are also killer. It may not be for everyone, but I got hooked. Don't miss out (like I almost did) on this sleeper.
Blast Corps is kind of a shocker for Nintendo, considering the premise of pure destruction and all. But still, they've managed to pull off a truly unique game, with enough levels to keep you smashing for a few weeks without getting bored. The vehicle variety was very good, and overall the game feels a little like Pilot Wings 64, except on the ground. There's really only one major stumbling block that keeps it from getting a much higher score from me: the repetitive game-play. After all, here's a game totally about nothing but destroying buildings. Sure there are side missions, like rescuing the scientists and finding radar dishes, but those elements seem placed as an afterthought, not an enhancement.
North America would be nothing but ash if a runaway missile carrier made contact with anything in its path of doom. You're picked to make sure that doesn't happen. This may sound like a lot of responsibility, but look at it this way: You get to control various high-powered vehicles of destruction to clear L anything and everything out of the way. Remember that's everything. Houses, barns, buildings, trees, whatever might be in the missile's path.
The beautiful thing is that points are awarded for the more you destroy. With the points you receive, upgrades can be purchased to gain more armor, weapons, new vehicles, etc. All of these upgrades are eventually available to gamers who make their way to later levels. The graphics look spectacular-especially the incredible explosions. Keep an eye out for destruction with Blast Corps!
- MANUFACTURER - Nintendo
- THEME - ACTION
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
An unstoppable Bart Simpson of a game!
Blast Corps is based on a very novel idea indeed. You are in charge of a variety of heavy duty vehicles which must be used to lay waste to a number of hitherto pristine structures. As a spur,there is the ever-looming presence of an out-of-control missile carrier hurtling behind you. Fail to get everything out of its path, and the world comes to a booming end.
The trucks all have different abilities, and you can often decide which is best for a particular job. Some are front-end fitted, others require scything back-spins in order to clear the path. They walk, barrel, fly and cartwheel. In the new age of gameplay mechanics you might think this too simple. Sure, itfs straightforward nonsense, but it is engaging. There are 50 levels here, many different styles of play, tons of secret goodies and a couple of neat bonus missions.
Players are often forced to use more than one vehicle during a mission. You may control one car, then have to move the driver out and into another. The missions take some learning. They include having to find distressed scientists who will create bigger, meatier and nastier vehicles. If those 50 levels aren't enough, you can always go back over old levels later. As in Mario 64, the game turns in on itself with missions back-ended.
The style of control is top-down. This seemed to bring together the fun of ancient arcade game Rampage and the addictive qualities of Micro Machines. It works well with different trucks taking on a variety of driving personalities on different terrains.
There are 12 vehicles in all. The most useful are diggers and they range from the straight-forward and splendidly destructive Ram Dozer, to the Back Lash and the airborne Skyfall. Ballista is a missile-launching super-bike, J-Bomb a walking vehicle that simply trots roughshod over anything in its way. Cyclone Suit is a Catherine Wheel with a mission and Thunderfist Plus pretty much explains itself. Then there are the mission-based vehicles including freight-trains, juggernauts, lorries and racing cars abound.
Technically, Blast Corps is by no means the most impressive game of Nintendo 64*5 first generation. It does show off a few good tricks Including lovely reflective metallic textures on the better vehicles. Graphically, the game is a treat with excellent use of the hardware's reflection mapping and alpha-channeling transparency abilities. Will it be a must-buy? If there had been two play abilities it would be impossible to resist. As it is, it looks promising enough though longevity could be the question which taxes reviewers.
Prospects: Astounding fun from the Rare boys married with the n64*s superb graphics capabilities.
One of those games that defies categorisation. Blast Corps is best described as a combination of racing game and puzzler. A nuclear missile carrier is rolling towards destruction - you have to use a variety of vehicles to clear a safe route for it. It's destruction on a massive scale and good fun, though not that long-lasting unless you're into exploring every square inch.
Okay. Brace yourself. There's a nuclear missile carrier -- right? -- and it's carrying a pair of defective missiles to a place where -- for some reason -- they must be detonated safely. Except, they've started leaking. Yes. So... the missile carrier has become damaged, and -- no, really -- has started to drive... itself... automatically... to... the... detonation... site. Er. And also, it's taking the most direct route, through towns and cities. And, er, if anything blocks its path the missiles will detonate instantly. For some reason.
What This Means In Practice
As a member of the elite Blast Corps, what you've got to do, basically, is clear a path for the carrier. Buildings need demolishing, holes need filling and gaps need bridging. And all the time the missile carrier's inching slowly towards disaster. At the start of each level you're given one Blast Corps vehicle, but you may be able to find other, better ones as you play.
Each Blast Corps mission begins with you sitting in one of the following vehicles, each of which is designed for a specific purpose. You may come across further vehicles as you play through the mission. If you're good.
It's not all knocking buildings down. Blast Corps also has a few extra bits and pieces for] your little bloke to hop in and out of.
Used to pick things up -- and then put them down again. Good for lifting crates and vehicles over stretches of water and railway tracks. The joystick swivels the arm around, A and B move the hook in and out, and R raises and lowers your load.
The fastest way to get from one side of the playing area to the other. Trains can also carry other vehicles on their flatbed trucks and, when parked in appropriate places, can form bridges across the track. Steering is clearly unnecessary, but L and R toot the whistle.
Boats work much like trains, with simple forward and backward controls and a flat area for loading vehicles and crates onto.
Of very little use, but fun to drive around in, and the hotrod is the vehicle of choice for race course levels. L and R either play Dixie on the hooter or, on the police car, flash the lights and sound the siren. This pleases us.
You don't actually get to drive this, but you'll find it parked at the end of each level. It's what you hop into when you've completed the mission and want to return to the globe.
You can't control the helicopter either. But at the beginning of a mission it'll overfly the carrier's path, giving you a glimpse of what's to come, before dropping you off in the starting position. Then it'll circle overhead looking for survivors.
Sample Mission 2
As you get further into Blast Corps, the missions get more and more involved. As soon as you solve one problem another crops up.
It's become something of a Nintendo tradition that there's always more to their games than there at first appears. Which, in the case of Blast Corps, is just as well, as it doesn't take long to demolish its 20 main missions. So what happens next?
For some reason, to ensure that the missile carrier can be detonated safely, six scientists are required. For similarly tenuous reasons, these six are hidden throughout the levels that you've already conquered. So you'll need to go back and ferret them all out. This is excellent fun as you'll find all sorts of secret passages and underground railway systems that you'll previously have overlooked in your haste to bash down buildings. A couple of the scientists are quite fiendishly buried, but altogether they won't take you more than an hour or so to find.
The Space Shuttle
Great celebrations, then, as disaster is averted and the missiles are blown up safely. But -- oh no! -- now the Space Shuttle's in trouble. It's having to make an emergency landing... guess where? Yep, right in the middle of a city.
With the Shuttle safe the Blast Corps team are just about to put their feet up when -- aarrghh -- it's discovered that there are lots of buildings on the Moon that need bashing down. For some reason. Much low-gravity fun ensues, and with a completely new set of graphics, too. (Except, guess which of Blast Corps' fine vehicles you're given... Bah. )
The Gold Medals
Each mission you complete earns you one gold medal. However, you can earn another by returning to the scene and knocking down every remaining building and collecting every RDU (little things that light up when you go near them).
The Bonus Games
As well as the main mission, Blast Corps has loads of extra challenges -- little races, buildings to demolish within a given time, that sort of thing. There's even a version of pool with a bulldozer and some TNT crates. And a sort of Pac Man. At the end you're given a medal depending on how well you did.
The Outer Planet
Get a gold medal on every level and, some say, you'll be sent on extra Moon-style missions to Mercury, Venus, Mars and who-knows-where-else. It's possible - the planets can be seen in the background.
With Blast Corps, Nintendo and Rare are claiming they've created 'an entirely new genre of game'. Psh, yeah. But, if you think about it, they're right. Every Nintendo 64 game so far slots neatly into a generously-guanoed pigeon hole. Mario Kart 64's a racing game; Pilotwings 64's a flight sim; Turok's a Doom game; and so on. But Blast Corps's a... well, a what? A smash-'em-up? It's not just about demolition: there's all sorts of thoughtful vehicle-juggling to be done. A save-the-world game? No. A driving game? No no.
And it's this inability to be labelled that makes Blast Corps so immediately appealing. You start playing it, and right away you're doing things that you've never done in a game before. You're skidding around in a dumper truck, tail-sliding into buildings. You're driving a train. You're causing a giant robot to somersault into office blocks. You're lifting a bulldozer across some railway tracks with a crane. You're desperately trying to bash down a line of houses towards which a radioactive lorry is steadily inching, a bead of perspiration forming on your temple.
The levels get better and better the further in you play. They begin as simple bashing-down-buildings-against-the-clock affairs, but then gradually evolve into more thoughtful, puzzle-style scenarios. How do you release J-Bomb from that impregnable tomb? How are you supposed to destroy that enormous building when there's no TNT anywhere? How on earth are you going to get to the top of that massive cliff?
I got frustrated from time to time. In fact, a couple of times I said some rude words. Even Tim looked shocked. Not all the levels are brilliantly designed, too many relying on the contrived tactic of giving you a huge number of buildings to destroy and then a really rubbish vehicle (the annoyingly useless Backlash, usually) to do it with. I found myself having to start again from scratch rather too many times in some of the more convoluted puzzly levels, having to repeat the early, simple steps long after I'd got bored of them. (An echo of Lemmings - which I despise - here. ) Then there are niggly faults, like the way vehicles sometimes get stuck in the scenery (particularly railway tracks), or the way your little bloke often blunders straight back into vehicles he's just hopped out of, or the restricted selection of views which never quite seem to zoom out far enough to let you see what you're doing.
But Blast Corps is overridingly great. It's just so refreshing to have all these new toys to play with, and find oneself in so many new situations. Several elements work together to make the game compelling: the difficulty of controlling the demolition vehicles; the not knowing quite what you're meant to do next; the carrier advancing relentlessly while you're running around in panic; and the rewards you're constantly earning in the form of medals and bonus levels. It's great.
The graphics? Oddly, I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about them - there was simply too much to be done. They're actually extremely good, as it happens, with tonnes of detail, no slow-down or fogging (even in action replay mode, where acres of finely detailed landscape can be seen stretching off into the distance), and some smashing transparent smoke and explosion effects. But I didn't really notice much of it until I came back to take some pictures for the review because the game itself demands so much attention. And that's great. With the Nintendo 64 we've reached the point where amazingly realistic graphics can simply be taken for granted and a game can, just like in the 'good' old days, be judged purely by what you actually do in it.
Given that Blast Corps is so great, it seems almost ungrateful to knock it for all being over too quickly. But... well, within a couple of afternoons I'd completed all the missions, rescued all the scientists and returned safely from the moon. And that's me -- normally a bit crap at anything but Mario Kart. All that left to do was to go back and try to get a complete set of gold medals - something that I'm now doing, but rather half-heartedly. Despite Nintendo's best efforts to flesh it out, Blast Corps is something of a one-week wonder, with no multi-player facility and not the same incentive to rack up world-beating times as Mario Kart.
That's perhaps one reason why Nintendo have taken the unusual step of selling Blast Corps for 6,800 (about 35) in Japan, compared with the usual 8,800-9,800 (45-50). At that price it's an absolute must-have. At the $60 Nintendo of America are asking, it doesn't take much thinking about either. If you're considering buying Blast Corps from an importer, though, with all the overheads that entails, you're going to have to give it a bit more thought. And it remains to be seen what price tag THE will write when they release it in the UK later this summer.
Lifespan aside, Blast Corps ranks as easily one of the best N64 games so far. It encapsulates everything the N64 is supposed to be about: unprecedented graphics and sound, millions of secret bits and things to find, ceaseless inventiveness, and, most importantly, a style of playing that's simply never been seen before. Truly, Rare are great, and Nintendo's faith in them has again been rewarded.
Unusual game that defies categorisation - it's a sort of racer-puzzle-ad venture thing. Entertaining but not that long-lasting.
Undoubtedly one of the most idiosyncratically original games on the N64. and one you're almost certain to enjoy.