Wednesday 12 February 2020

Blast Corps (N64 review)

Developer: Rare
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 1997

Blast Corps is an action game that's exclusive to the Nintendo 64.

There's 57 levels and the objective is to clear the way for two defective nuclear missiles that are en route to a safe detonation site. To do this, you must demolish buildings and objects in its path using your range of vehicles that include a J-Bomb (has jets and can then smash downwards) and a Ballista (can fire missiles). The game throws a ton of information and vehicle types at you as soon as you begin and it can be a little bit overwhelming. However, you soon realise that the simplistic controls of most vehicles is key to establishing fun gameplay that's actually very easy to get to grips with. Each vehicle is different enough to affect the gameplay type throughout the levels, so you never feel bored of just bashing into things; in fact, it's highly enjoyable and anything but mindless, as there's always a strategic element where you need to focus on the best way to complete the objective before time runs out. Likewise, the Sideswipe vehicle only has a limited amount of punch blasts, so the player is challenged in a puzzle-like manner to be as efficient as possible. Being able to switch between vehicles in some levels gives you plenty of ways to experiment, and frustration is kept to a minimum due to the bite-sized mission approach. The game constantly rewards you with promotion badges and medals to keep you motivated and if you're stuck you can normally try another mission as several are usually available. The only downsides are the camera which doesn't always give you the best view of the action, and the Backlash vehicle that's tricky to control as it involves drifting and crashing into things with its rear.

Blast Corps could easily be written off as a brainless demolition game, but in actuality it has plenty of depth to go along with its gratifying missions and diverse vehicle types. It has the perfect mix of destruction and puzzle elements, and the reward system does a great job of keeping you hooked throughout.

Random trivia: In 2015, the game was re-released as part of the Rare Replay compilation on the Xbox One.

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