An epic battle down to the depths of Uranus!
It is Earth’s darkest hour! Banished to the dreaded 5th dimension, the evil ruler BOSC has raised an army of pear-headed troops and other assorted alien scum. His evil plan calls for the creation of a pan-dimensional mallet, which, when operational, will be used to punch a hole through the space-time continuum. This hole will serve as a bridge to Earth, where the vile alien army will crush humanity! There’s only one hope for Earth. A hero of disproportionate size… A giant torso with impossibly underdeveloped legs… A virtual balloon of a man… Captain Blasto!
With more jokes about Uranus than a Beavis and Butthead marathon, Sony is out to win the platformer war with their newest title, Blasto. Best described as Tomb Raider set in the old Warner Bros. cartoon depiction of Mars, Blasto is Sony’s answer to Mario 64. With all the hype surrounding this game, I knew I had something special in my hands when I picked it up. The fact that Blasto’s release was delayed a few months testifies to Sony’s dedication to the success of the anti-Mario.
Blasto isn’t cute. He doesn’t care. He’s got the voice of Troy McClure (otherwise known as Phil Hartman) from the Simpsons and other educational films. In fact, he’s very much like Crash Bandicoot, but even more full of himself. When he gets power-ups he says things like “As if I need more power!” Yes, we’ve finally got a hero for the nineties.
In the style of Mario 64 and Tomb Raider, Blasto is played in a three-dimensional world. Your view is from behind Blasto as you run, jump, shoot, and sidestep your way through the stages. Your blaster can be powered up with enhancements such as rapid fire, homing missiles, and nuclear warheads. Or for those close encounters, you can pistol whip your enemies. Besides running around, there are swimming levels and levels where you can fly around with a jetpack. You’ve seen this kind of thing a million times before.
What really makes Blasto most different from other games of its genre is its size and artistry. The levels in Blasto are huge. The new technique the developers used to stream data into memory allows for stages of immense proportions. Fortunately there are numerous save points spread out through each level. Blasto also sports some of the best graphics to be seen on the PlayStation. Although relatively simplistic, the style is very 40’s cartoon-looking, which is perfect for the tone of the game. Texture shading and other various lighting effects are used to create the perfect effect. Again, memories of Marvin the Martian will come to mind whenever you play. Eveything in Blasto is both polygonal and smooth, no choppy sprites at all. In fact, everything graphical in Blasto is a pleasure to see, from the video to the well-endowed babes that you rescue.
Sound and music in Blasto is also above par. Blasto is constantly making cocky and smart remarks that keep you grinning. The background music is the typical outer space, alien invaders fare. All the laser blasts and alien noises are also straight out of a science fiction movie. All in all, the sound and music are in perfect harmony with the theme.
Although Blasto has many good things going for it, it’s not all peaches and cream. The most distracting thing is that Blasto moves with the deftness of a crippled Rhino. He looks like a big balloon but he controls like a lead weight. Maybe it’s his malnourished legs, but they should’ve given him a skateboard or wheelchair. The controls aren’t necessarily bad, but the sluggish movement is a bit frustrating.
Unlike most technologically inferior bad guys, the aliens in Blasto have the ability to teleport wherever they like. Unfortunately for you and Blasto, they really like to teleport behind you and in pairs: one on each side. What makes it worse is that enemies seem to come in gangs. You’ll walk around for a while without seeing anything, but suddenly a horde of bad guys will come out of nowhere and zap a laser through your steroid-ridden torso. And once you turn around to kill off two of them, two more appear behind you. Sometimes it gets really nasty.
Finally, the control of jumping is a bit difficult. Although not bad compared to some 3D games, you’ll find yourself performing some leaps of faith and biting the dust a lot. One of the biggest life-savers is that Blasto can grab onto edges, so once in a while you’ll just make a jump by the hair of your knuckles.
On the whole, Blasto isn’t a game that comes out every day. Maybe if it had arrived before Mario 64 and Tomb Raider, I’d be a lot more excited, but it didn’t. It’s got almost everything you’d want in a game– great graphics, sound, laughs, vixens, and guns, but there’s room for improvement. If you’ve had your way with Mario and Lara Croft and are looking for a real challenge, I definitely recommend Blasto. Don’t dump your girlfriend so you’ll have money to buy it, but definitely give Blasto a try. It’s a work of art.