Monday, 10 December 2012

Blade Review

Reviewed on: GameBoy Colour

Blade was a game developed by Hal Corporation and published by Acitivision for the GameBoy Colour in 2000. The game is a fairly straightforward 2D shoot/beat 'em up that takes inspiration from the film, using models that resemble the cast for Blade and Whistler, but also drawing on the Marvel comic book series for elements of the story. For those of you who aren't aware Blade was born as his mother died from a vampire bite and he is therefore blessed with all of a vampire's strengths but only one of their weaknesses: the thirst. Whistler becomes a father figure for Blade and gives him a serum to fight the thirst so that Blade can focus on hunting vampires.

The premise of the game is that Blade sees a new clan of vampires, marked by a distinctive tattoo, and although he doesn't know what he knows that they are up to something. He goes to investigate and the game begins. The levels are structured into shooting sections, where Blade stands still and must shoot enemies on both sides and in front of him. After this you are given a score and then you proceed onto a brawling section where the game becomes a side scroller. You move along through the levels and fight opponents as you go. You have a pretty decent move set with standard blocks and punches and kicks being complimented by throws and cool finishers like using the glaive. The controls are pretty simple but you will need to get a grip on the surprisingly large selection of moves and techniques at Blade's disposal if you are to have a chance on the higher difficulty levels.

This leads me onto one of the game's strongest points. When you first start there are three missions to choose from, one of them is a level one mission, one is a level two mission and the other is - you guessed it! - a level three mission. This allows more skilled/confident players to jump into more of a challenge but also allows other players (myself included) to ease into the game and follow the rather steep learning curve as it comes. You progress through the levels fighting bad guys and acquiring talismans and keys and the story unfolds largely through conversation that Blade and other characters have on screen.

The graphics and sound for this are actually quite good. The animations are pretty blocky but they get the job done well enough and the environments are quite detailed with words written in blood on the walls, trains going past and water puddled on the floor. It's not the best that the GameBoy Colour could do but its pretty good all the same. The sound is, like the graphics, functional but never amazing. The normal themes aren't terrible they just aren't as memorable as other games and do sometimes get a tad repetitive. All in all though neither the graphics nor sound are bad.

Ultimately then this game is actually quite good. Most licensed games are awful so I had low expectations but the combat is fun, the levels are cool and the structure is fairly original so if you have a GameBoy you should definitely get this, it won't be very expensive.

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