Title :Blast Corps
Platforms :Nintendo 64
Publisher :Nintendo
Game Rating :3.5 stars
Review by :Ken Gagne

Most of the games released for the Nintendo 64 so far have been sequels or been built on some past premise. Blast Corps from Nintendo is an entirely new game, and it's sure to bowl over players everywhere. 

The concept is that a nuclear missile carrier has gone out of control and locked itself on a straight course to a safe detonation area. It is the player's job, as a member of the Blast Corps demolition team, to clear a path using more than a dozen different vehicles. Should the carrier collide with a building or other obstacle, it's game over. 

Gameplay is continuous and rewarding. Blast Corps has elements of many genres within itself, predominately puzzle and action. Players must react quickly to have a path cleared in time, but there are also many hidden items and areas that must be found to finish a level fully. Even once a stage is secured, it can still be explored more to find everything and be given a 100% completion rate. 

The game includes control of tools such as a bulldozer, jetpack, police car, steamboat, and train, all with a sort of "Pilotwings meets Micro Machines" feel. Each vehicle has its own controls, but the underlying basics are the same. Some automobiles are difficult to control, though. They'll often get stuck in a corner or not make a turn correctly. One vehicle especially, the dump truck called Backlash, requires much, much practice to use effectively. The stages calling for its use are often the most arduous and frustrating. 

The documentation for Blast Corps leaves much to be desired. It outlines the functions for each of the vehicles, but does not describe the various menu items or bonus levels. Fortunately, there is some online help for whenever a new object is presented, but for the most part, players are flying blind. 

The graphics are incredibly detailed and present a world just waiting to be obliterated. There are hidden secrets everywhere for players with an eye for these details. A canyon far below a rope bridge being crossed looks fantastically real, while the nearby explosions are a great incentive to continue destroying the local area. 

The music and sound both play a great role in Blast Corps. The background tune picks up the pace when a dangerous situation approaches, or becomes a peaceful lilt when the jetpack takes to the sky. Some vehicles have horns or sirens or whistles, just for fun. The explosions go with a deafening roar. There are also many voice samples as other members of the team offer their acclaim or advice. 

Overall, Blast Corps is a unique game that presents a fresh challenge. Since some nearly-impossible levels must be completed before others can be tackled, it may become tempting to just give up on those one or two areas. Players that don't lose their head and give it much practice will be compensated with a satisfying game unlike anything else.

This article is copyright (c) 1997, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.

Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 14-Apr-97