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Blaster Master Zero Review

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.

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Star Fox Zero Review

Star Fox Zero – A Review by Jose Vega

Special thanks to Nintendo for providing a review copy of the game.

In 1993, Star Fox was released for the SNES, the first game that specialized on polygonal graphics with the use of the Super FX chip. It would be the start of a franchise that would span more than two decades. Four years later, Star Fox 64 was released taking the franchise to the third dimension all while providing a satisfying experience. The series chugged on, from the adventure based Star Fox Adventures, the vehicle and ground based Star Fox Assault to the all-range shoot-em up, choose your path style of Star Fox Command. Not counting the 3D remake of Star Fox 64, there have been a total of 5 games in the franchise and all of them have delivered. It’s 2016 and the newest game, Star Fox Zero is here. But will it hold up well or will it crash and burn?

Let’s begin with the plot and for the sake of things, it’s sort of a retelling of Star Fox 64. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing but it’s done in a way that is familiar while not deriding from what it was. People may complain about it if they wish but honestly, I kind of like it. I’m nostalgic, to let you know.

One of the main things about the game is the controls. People wonder if it’ll be like Star Fox 64 where you use the analog to move and buttons to shoot. Not in this case. Here, Nintendo decides to bring the feel of being a pilot by means of motion controls. People may complain that the motion controls hinder the game overall but from my experience, that isn’t the case. Sure it took me a while to adjust since this felt different at first but overtime, it grew on me. Now I love it and I feel that helps the game out greatly. Though you’ll have to do double duty as you not only have to contend with what’s on the TV but also ensure that the motion controls help you deliver a sharper shot. The good news is that a simple button press helps calibrate it, making things easier and less of a strain on the player.

Also, you can play the game two ways: single player or co-op. Co-op is interesting as one player uses the tablet to aim and shoot, the other uses either a Wii U pro controller or the Wii remote and nunchuk to move and steer the ship. It’s awesome and you know what they say, teamwork is what will win the day no matter what.

You have access to three different vehicles: Arwing, Landmaster and Gyrowing. Arwing and the Landmaster are pretty straightforward. Whether in the sky or in the ground, you just aim and shoot at anything that’s in the way. However with this game, they take it one step further. With the Arwing it has the option to transform into something called a Walker, borrowing elements from the cancelled Star Fox 2 game. Design-wise, I like it though the controls for it can take some adjusting. Just a small nitpick. As for the Landmaster, it has the option to hover and become the Gravimaster. In some ways it’s like a smaller arwing but with heavier firepower. About that, it can lock onto three enemies at once. Helpful for getting higher scores in some levels. Last but not least is the Gyrowing, a new vehicle introduced for this game. It’s not like the other two as its slower and has an onboard droid called Direct-i. Direct-I is a small robot that can access data ports and hack them. Not to mention it can enter through small spaces. People may not like the Gyrowing because of its controls but they aren’t as bad. Fortunately it’s only used on two stages so no problem there. Also once the Walker obtains the upgrade that lets you hack like Direct-I, the Gyrowing would be more or less unneeded.

It’s not a Nintendo game without Amiibo support and this game has it. Using either the Fox or Falco amiibo will provide you some really nifty stuff. For example the Fox amiibo gives the Star Fox team access to SNES style Arwings called Retro Arwings and the Falco Amiibo gives Fox the Black Arwing. The Black Arwing makes the game a little harder so if you want a challenge, this is it.

Level wise, the game is like Star Fox 64 as you go from point A to point B. How you reach it depends and there are many ways. When you play it for the first time, you go through a set path that’s provided for you. Afterwards you have the option of going back to previous levels to discover alternate paths. This adds replayability to a game that many say is short, for those that want to not only find new levels but also to get the highest score. There are rewards for it but I won’t say what they are. You just need to find out for yourself when the game comes out. Knowing Platinum Games, the company behind many games that are difficult and challenging, this is one I feel you will have to spend a lot of time on to do so.

Star Fox Zero looks amazing on the Wii U. The presentation is great. Everything feels lively to look at and when the game gets intense with the battles, you know you’re in for a heck of a ride. Want to know what makes it better? The game runs at a rock solid 60 frames per second. It’s awesome and it makes the game look and run so well. The voice work is good, many of the people that did voice work for Star Fox 64 (as well as the 3D remake) reprise their roles here. It makes the game feel familiar. However I have a nitpick with it and its that you don’t hear the voices on the TV. They are heard on the gamepad. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing but I wish that the game had the option to let you have the voices on the TV screen. It would make things feel familiar. I hope Nintendo considers adding this option. Music is a different story because the game has many memorable tunes that add and fit to the overall game’s aesthetic. Some songs in it will remind you of Star Fox 64 but they’re done with much more finesse. It makes me wish the game had a soundtrack cause I’d buy it. I love the music for Star Fox Zero. Truly one of the best I’ve ever listened to!

Nintendo and Platinum Games have delivered an experience unlike any other. It feels familiar but also feels fresh as well. Sure some people may not like the game’s controls, the fact that it’s somewhat of a reboot of Star Fox 64, some vehicles may not be up to par like the Gyrowing but would it really hinder your overall experience? No. Of course not! Star Fox Zero is an amazing game and I can’t say it enough. If you’re willing to invest time in learning the controls and how the game works, you’ll be in for a heck of an experience. Team Star Fox is ready to soar once more on the Wii U. It’s one that I feel will leave you satisfied.

My final score for this game is an 8 out of 10. It’s an excellent game that is worth your money. You will not be disappointed.