Remastered Review: N64 Review #1- Blast Corps
If you’ve spent any time looking through my Nintendo 64 reviews here at 1 More Castle, the question may have crossed your mind as to why on earth the reviews start with #9. When I first started reviewing N64 games, I did so on my own personal website. After a while, it just didn’t make sense to have two places where I wrote about the Nintendo 64 and at the time, I was looking to do something a bit different with my personal website, so I folded those reviews into the N64 Connoisseur series. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, I left the first eight reviews on my website instead of moving them over with the project. Well that is silly and today the end of that begins. I am going to be moving those reviews over to 1 More Castle and touching them up a little bit as necessary. At the same time, I want to leave them as intact as I can, so some things in these reviews may sound dated. I begin with the review that started it all. This originally posted on March 31, 2013. N64 Review #1 is Blast Corps.
A friend of mine at work asked a question. How do you eat an elephant? The answer is one bite at a time. This particular elephant is going to have 296 bites in it as I attempt to review every North American Nintendo 64 release. During this journey I hope to find some gems I didn’t know about as well as have some fun with some of the bad ones. A couple of things about the journey. First, I need to physically own the game. That will assist in my quest to also collect all 296. Secondly, I want you to come along with me. I want to know how you feel about these games I review. Maybe you disagree. That’s cool. Let’s hear about it. Respectfully. Maybe you agree with me. Sound off. Now that the ground rules are out of the way, let’s get to review #1. It is a vehicular destruction based game released by Rare in 1997 four days after my 14th birthday, Blast Corps.
The plot of the game is that two faulty nuclear missiles are being transported via truck to a safe detonation site. The missiles begin to leak which activates the truck’s emergency protocol. Unfortunately that protocol is to lock the truck onto the shortest path to the detonation site. That would be all well and good except there are a lot of cities on that path and buildings therein. As a member of the Blast Corps, you are commissioned to destroy any building in the path of the truck so that it can make it to the safe detonation site without crashing and causing a nuclear winter. You get to do this using a number of different vehicles from the more traditional Ramdozer (bulldozer) and Backlash (dumptruck) to a couple of “why do these things exist?” vehicles like the Ballista which is a motorcycle with missile launchers and a trio of robots that you can hop into like you are a Power Ranger about to do battle with an artificially enlarged monster. The carrier moves through each level at a steady pace as you clear the path in front of it, making very sure that it touches nothing, unless of course you want to become your own night light.
Fun would be the word I would use to describe the gameplay. For the most part, the vehicles handle about how you would expect them to. Rolling around as Thunderfist, for example, handles a lot differently than zipping around the city on the Ballista. There is a lot of extra-curricular stuff to do like training missions, bonus levels, things to find, and space levels after you beat the main campaign. It would have been very easy to make every level nearly identical in this game and Rare did a good job of making each one challenging in its own right by changing up the vehicles available during the main story campaign. The levels that you encounter after the initial campaign take you into outer space where the physics of each planet come into play for added fun and challenge.
The game has a high amount of replay value. Each level had at least one medal that could be earned, bronze through platinum. As you earn higher medals, you gain new ranks. Earning 100% platinum medals was just one step below impossible. Additionally, there were secondary objectives like finding RDU’s or radiation dispersal units, rescuing survivors, and unlocking bonus levels by locating communication beacons hidden in each main level. The bonus levels were timed objective levels that had you performing some objective within the time limit.
Presentation here is a mixed bag. The graphics have held up sort of ok for an N64 game. There is nothing breathtaking or groundbreaking about the graphics. In fact, it is very average looking. That said, I always found the average to be pretty enjoyable. Some of the building destruction is very rewarding to watch. It did suffer from some bland terrains and poor camera angles, though.
Sound is one thing Rare always did well. Here they did it ok but not great. A lot of the music is very catchy and will find its way into your head for long periods of time. On the downside, there are a lot of pretty annoying sound effects in this game. The kind whereby you might find yourself actually muting the core game to listen to some of your personal music. As I’ve said before, when a game makes you perform that action, it has failed in the sound department.
Overall, this is one of the most fun, unique experiences on the N64. If you’ve never played it, you’re missing out. How many times in your life have yo had the chance to go full drift in a dump truck and take out a building? Don’t answer that if you’re in construction. Blast Corps is a fantastic game and definitely one of my all time favorites. Go find yourself a cartridge and enjoy the mayhem.