Blaster Master Zero Review (Switch)

After countless lackluster sequels Blaster Master Zero brings the series back to its roots. Inti Creates does a solid job of recapturing that retro feeling while still introducing enough changes to make this installment feel fresh.

 

 

You can’t talk about Blaster Master without mentioning its nonsensical story. The 1988 Japanese original takes place on the Planet Sophia the 3rd in the near future and has our protagonist leading the counter attack against the evil emperor Goez.

 

Blaster Master Zero - 1

 

The western release for the NES original opted to go in a drastically different direction even though it is basically the same game. The story follows a guy named Jason. One day his pet frog Fred escapes, jumps into a radioactive barrel in front of the house and hops into a mysterious hole. Jason chases after Fred and finds himself in front of the Sophia the 3rd vehicle. He quickly goes on an adventure to hunt down the Plutonium Boss roaming these uncharted lands.

 

Blaster Master Zero - 2

 

Blaster Master Zero fuses these two concepts together into a cheesy but nevertheless kickass story. This time around our protagonist Jason Frudnick, an expert in robotics, finds a frog and decides to study it. But it is not before long that the frog escapes and jumps into a wormhole. Jason gives chase and like in the original finds himself in front of Sophia III. He sets out to search for Fred and explore the subterranean ruins where man lived during the last ice age. The game has a fair number of anime-styled cutscenes which complement the game’s atmosphere rather well. Thankfully, they are kept brief, never interrupting the flow of the game.

 

Blaster Master Zero - 3

 

At a glance Blaster Master Zero might just seem like your typical platformer. You drive Sophia III while shooting anything that might get in your way. What makes Blaster Master Zero unique is the ability to hop out of your robust tank at a moments notice and explore the giant world on foot. As Jason you can climb ladders, crawl through tight spaces and enter doors which would otherwise be inaccessible for Sophia. Once you pass through a door the game shifts to a top down perspective and have you navigate progressively more complex maze-like areas. These zones hide most of the game’s bosses as well as the much needed upgrades.

 

Did I mention the game borrows heavily from Metroid? Exploration is extremely rewarding. And while at first most areas will be blocked off you will get the power-ups for your trusty tank which will allow you to blast through obstacles and scale walls. This modern re-imagining also includes a handy map screen which you will want to use if you wish to see everything and unlock the game’s true ending.

 

Blaster Master Zero - 4

 

The Switch version brings two player co-op to the fray. While the first player plays the game normally, the second takes more of a supporting role. Player two moves a target and can shoot down enemies, effectively giving player one a greater area of attack. Additionally, he or she can place helpful power ups ranging from health pick-ups to weapon upgrades.

 

Where the game unfortunately fumbles is in providing any real semblance of challenge. It is extremely lenient with its infinite continues. And while the unforgiving nature of its old-school counterpart would definitely feel punishing in this day and age, a difficulty selection option would have gone a long way. Most boss battles are finished before they even started. Add another player to the mix and you’ll plough through the majority of the game with ease. While Blaster Master Zero has a few additional modes once you get the game’s true ending these do very little to change the formula.

 

Blaster Master Zero - 5

 

The visuals had a nice bump since 1988. They retain the retro aesthetic but add a much needed fresh coat of paint. Blades of grass flutter in the wind, while the adorable but deadly Sophia the 3rd buzzes through these meticulously crafted labyrinths. You will retread classic levels and see totally new ones. The once static backgrounds now have multiple layers of parallax and the flat foreground includes animated tiles. Even Sophia has an idle animation and throws dust around when she lands.

 

Blaster Master Zero - 6

 

Blaster Master Zero is an enjoyable albeit brief trip through memory lane. What it lacks in replay value makes up with the fact that it is just so damn enjoyable. Exploring the intricately designed underground ruins on foot and in Sophia the 3rd all while slowly acquiring additional abilities that unlock new areas makes for an addictive experience which you won’t put down until you see the credits rolling. Blaster Master Zero falls among the best games in the series, and will be equally enjoyable for newcomers as well as longtime fans wanting to re-experience this childhood classic.

 

Blaster Master Zero - 7

 

Latest posts by Kitsumeda (see all)
Spread the love!

Related post