Blaster Master Zero Review – Written by Jose Vega
Purchased product for the sake of the review.
During the era of the NES, a game called Blaster Master was released made by Sunsoft. It was a fun game that got a lot of praise but sadly not a lot of love. It was overlooked but it did have a legacy that lasted almost 20 years, spawning a sequel, spin-offs, and a re-imagining. In November 2016, Inti Creates announced that they plan to try their luck on the franchise with a retro 8-bit remake called Blaster Master Zero. The guys at Inti know how to deliver good titles such as Azure Striker Gunvolt as well as the Mega Man Zero & ZX series but could they pull it off with this? The answer is simple. Yes.
Blaster Master Zero is an 8-bit remake of the original and since it is, the plot is similar. The story is set on Earth, set centuries after humanity was able to restore the planet after it plunged into an ice age due to endless wars. It focuses on a scientist named Jason Frudnik who finds a frog-like creature, calling it Fred. One day, Fred escapes and heads to a strange hole. Jason gives chase only to end up inside and discovers a weaponized tank called Sophia III. Seeing that the underworld is still around, Jason uses Sophia III to explore in the hopes of finding Fred and anything else that comes his way.
It’s straightforward but unlike the NES version, it includes stuff that was in the original Japanese incarnation, Metafight. I like how it ties the two together, despite it being a reboot. But in a way, I find it enjoyable seeing how Inti Creates pays tribute to the franchise as a whole.
Being that it’s a reboot, Blaster Master Zero’s gameplay is similar to the original NES game. Piloting the tank Sophia III, you explore 9 different areas while battling enemies and acquiring upgrades for your tank. Sophia III can shoot in three directions, jump really high and can contend with any situation. I should mention that the game is a Metroidvania-style game, hence the exploration. But you aren’t limited to just Sophia III. Many of the areas contain small caves for Jason to explore. The game then shifts to an overhead view where you explore said caves, shoot down monsters and find items. Your gun has a total of 8 different types and each work well depending on the situation. Heck, some gun types can be more effective than others. Boss fights are there too and strategy is important because just shooting may not be enough.
As far as length goes, the game will take you roughly 5-6 hours if you are going for 100% completion. If you are playing the game on the Nintendo Switch, the game also has co-op multiplayer where you and a friend can team up and kick butt. A nice welcoming feature indeed but sadly it isn’t on the 3DS version. Not much of a bad thing but regardless, the game is still enjoyable. Unlike the NES version, this one actually have save points and checkpoints. The checkpoint system is superb and in case you go down, you can continue where you left off either at a save point or in a cave entrance. Amazing. A sigh of relief for people that felt the original was too hard. Presentation-wise, the game is amazing. Inti Creates did a great job reimagining the original Blaster Master and making it better. It’s vibrant and lively, not to mention colorful. The music is amazing with some really addicting tunes and they also help add more to each area. Controls are spot on and precise. Perfect would be too appropriate of a word to say how good they are. With a recent update, the game also supports the Switch Pro Controller so to anyone that has this you have another option to play the game. Blaster Master Zero has a fair amount of challenge. It isn’t too hard or too easy but if you know your way around, the game isn’t difficult.
If I were to find any negatives, it’s that some levels have way too many hazards, forcing you to either find a way around or go for what’s obvious. It can get difficult especially with enemies firing at you and one mistake can lead you to an unexpected death. It would be nice if the game wouldn’t have sections that require you to improvise but since it’s a reboot, I only wish it can be alleviated. But honestly the game is that good, I see it as a minor negative at best.
Blaster Master Zero is a game that brings new life to a franchise that has a lasting legacy. Sharp controls, great music, amazing presentation and the addition of co-op on the Switch version adds a lot to an otherwise impressive game. What’s even better is that the game is worth $10. For $10, you are getting a game that offers so much and more. If you haven’t played the original NES game or any of the others, this is a perfect start for you. Bottom line, Blaster Master Zero is worth your money. I guarantee it.
I give Blaster Master Zero a PERFECT 10 out of 10. It also earns my personal Seal of Approval. Get this game now whether on the Switch or 3DS.