After weeks of waiting, I finally got Blaster Master in the mail today! I played it non-stop for hours straight, and got all the way up to the final boss before running out of continues. I was pretty close to beating him too, I blasted his shield off and still had four capsules of energy left, but then he hit me twice fast and I was a goner. I actually didn't die until I got to that bastard crab on the 5th level, he is, IMO, the hardest part of the game, he took 3 of my 4 continues to beat. Other than that, the game isn't too much of a hassle, just long. I'll write a review of it now while it's still on my mind.
Now this is my kind of game! The first thing that ran through my mind when I first started playing was "Man! This sounds a lot better than the emulater version!". It has one of the best soundtracks for an NES game, and THE best sound effects I've ever heard on the NES. It has realistic drum lines that are simply astounding, especially when coupled with it's great soundtrack. As for gameplay, I think the game will take a little getting used to for first time players, but once you do you'll find your tank easy to control. One bad thing about it, though, is that it seemed a little rushed. When an enemy goes off the screen it will stay in that spot until you jump and bring it back to the screen, a problem I've never seen in any other NES game (you'd see exactly what I mean if you play it). Another way it seemed rushed is that it has no save feature, you are expected to play through the entire game every time you play, and this game is long. A simple password feature would have made a world of difference. Also, when you climb out of your tank and are walking around, if you so much as jump off of a one-block-high cliff, you take damage, and what's wierder is when you hit the ground you'll bounce up, like a basketball! If you jump from high enough, you'll bounce so high that when you hit the ground again you'll take more damage and die. This sucks and I think Sunsoft could have and should have fixed this. These three things, however, are not really that important, and you wont notice these flaws throughout most of the game, so it's still a very good, well made game.
The storyline is pretty hokie. It is as follows: One day Jason is tending to his pet frog, Fred, when Fred jumps out of his jar and heads straight for a radioactive box in Jasons backyard (now how in the hell could Jason not have noticed that there was a radioactive box in his backyard!?). When Fred jumps on the box, he grows a lot bigger and becomes enormous until his emmense wieght pushes him and the box underground. Jason must've really cared about Fred a lot, because he then jumps down the bigass hole, in search of Fred. He slides down a long tunnel, and when he gets to the bottom he finds, of all things, a tank, technologically superior to anything man has ever seen. On the outside is a plate that reads "Sophia the 3rd, MA Nora 01" or something close to that. The tanks shortened name is just Sophia the 3rd. Inside he finds a suit of armor, handgun and all that good stuff, and then he sets out underground to find Fred. As strange as the story is, Sunsoft did a good job of making an opening intro for it. I hear the Japanese version, Meta Fight, had a drastically different storyline that involved saving a princess (how original). I guess the Japanese figured we weren't ready and threw together a storyline and opening into in about ten minutes for us Americans.
Blaster Master has some of the better graphics found on the NES. All of the backgrounds are splendid, and every area is unique and well-made. Some of the areas are quite eye-catching, like on level 4 where the bottom of your screen looks almost exactly like the part in Final Fantasy 2 where you have to fight Zeromus, except it's not moving. It seems like this game can fit a lot more colors on the screen at one time than the usual NES cart can. The overhead areas look simpler, but are still colorful and serve thier purpose. Even though the levels themselves look very good, the enemies, besides the beautiful bosses, all look bland. They come in 2 colors, grey and red. Throughout the majority of the game, you'll find nothing but grey enemies. Towards the end you'll find red versions of earlier enemies which are tougher and more powerful. This isn't really that bad, but it's sort of a let down.
Graphics Rating: 90
In a word, "AWESOME". Whoever was in charge of sound on this game deserves a pat on the back. The music in this game is the kind that will stick in your head and will have you whistling in the shower. First off, the sound effects are unchallenged, the drums sound realistic and go very well with the music itself. Each level has a different track, and each track is unique and fits its respective level very well. My only gripe is that the level 7 music is reused on the final boss. This is even more evidence that the game was rushed. I mean, the music goes well with the boss, it gets your heart pumping, but they should have come up with a different track for level 7 or a different one for the Plutonium Boss. I've yet to hear the ending music, but if the in-game music is any indication, it's gonna be kickin'.
Sound Rating: 99
The gameplay in Blaster Master is no slouch either. It will have you hooked from the time that you master the tanks controls to the time that you beat the game. The first thing you'll notice is that your tank can jump about the same as Mario, and that it doesn't just stop when you release the directional arrow like most videogames, but more realisticly slows down and comes to a complete stop, sort of sliding before it does. As you go along, you'll find doors that only Jason can go into, you can unmount Sophia the 3rd by pressing select, and enter the door by pressing down (not up, for some strange reason). When you do this you'll enter an overhead area. The overhead areas remind me of a 2 dimensional Goldeneye. You have a handgun and an endless supply of powerful grenades. Your handgun can be powered up to where it blasts out a literal tornado of shots that can go through walls and are each half as powerful as a grenade shot, but it won't be easy to power it up that high, each time you get hit your gun goes down one level. It is in these overhead areas that you will face all of the bosses. The bosses themselves are each very unique, except that there are 2 types of crabs and 2 of the bosses are reused, but for the most part, the bosses are cool. A lot of the bosses you can defeat in one hit by blasting them with a grenade and pausing it, this technique is a lifesaver sometimes. When you beat the boss, you get a new component for your tank. This is especially cool, because each time you beat a level your tank gains a new ability, some of which are flying, swimming and going up walls and on ceilings. The whole game is diverse and well-put-together. Gameplay Rating: 94
As long as the game is, it really isn't good for a quick play. I can't really see myself playing it a lot after I beat it a few times, it's just too much of a hassle. However, I would probably go to it on a rainy day when there's nothing to do, the game IS a ton of fun. I would probably want to show my friends that I can beat the game, so it does have a good deal of replay value. This is one game, however, I would not want to beat twice in a row. The game is a lot of fun, but it's really long, so I'm not exactly sure on the replay value of it quite yet seeing as to how I just got it today, so I guess I won't rate it on replay value yet. (Since then I have beaten it a lot, and I can judge it on replay right now.)
OVERALL SCORE: 93
A simply wonderful game with awesome sound, graphics and gameplay, I would recommend it to anyone who likes action adventure games and is really good at games (you'll have to be to beat this one). It's good points outshine its few flaws. I'm really glad I bought this one. If you find it for around 5$, and still have your good old NES, snatch it up.