Anyone who grew up in the era of the Nintendo Entertainment System will easily recall Sunsoft’s Blaster Master. It truly defined itself in an era when most other games did so on their own terms, with a combination of top-down shooting action and side-scrolling level exploration – and in a fantastic Moon Patrol-esque vehicle, no less. (Not that that’s an insult – it’s not every day that you gain access to a rolling tank vehicle with a girl’s name, in this case Sophia III.)
But since that time, the saga hasn’t always stood on stable ground. The follow-ups haven’t particularly been worthy, especially on the PlayStation, where Blaster Master: Blasting Again kind of brought the series to new lows by trying to make it work in 3D. And by trying, I really mean failing. So here I was, hoping that, one day, the series would find its way back home and be great again.
Alas, it has, and on the unlikeliest of systems, no less. Inti Creates has brought back Blaster Master to its form of old-school goodness with Zero, a game that mimics the original NES, but strikes out in new territory that works really well for the game. It’s not a reinvention of the wheel, but it’s enough of a creation to get the series back up to speed again – and we’ll take it.
Once again, the game is divided up into two segments. For the most part, you’ll be rolling around in your Sophia vehicle again, shooting at enemies from above, below and on common level as you make your way around elaborate stages, trying to figure out where to go next. You’ll also uncover gems and other goodies along the way, while shooting down enemies large and small.