Game Review

Blaster Master Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Master of blasters

When it was originally released in Japan as Meta Fight, Blaster Master failed to make much of an impact. In the west, however, it was retooled slightly and given a new story about a boy and his pet frog, and became a cult classic that spawned multiple sequels - several of which ended up not even being released in Japan.

On the surface, Blaster Master is a bit like Metroid, but with its own unique twists - just like Metroid, you travel through a giant maze-like world, defeating bosses and collecting new power-ups to access more areas. Generally, this is done in your armoured tank, the SOPHIA, which can eventually shoot, jump, float, cling to walls and more.

The twist is that you can actually exit the tank and run around on foot as Jason, its driver. Jason is pretty much powerless in the overworld, but there are special small gateways that only he can enter, in which the game turns into more of an overhead shooter. These are usually a bit more straightforward than the rest of the game, but as you get further into the adventure they have some tricks up their sleeves. All of the game's (quite difficult) bosses are located in these areas, so you have to make sure you explore them fully.

Interestingly, in these areas, your gun's strength is tied to Jason's health, so getting hit will actually weaken your gun as well. Thankfully, you have a close-range grenade attack to fall back on, but of course it's always smarter to avoid taking damage to begin with.

A big gripe with the original Metroid is that it can get very confusing to navigate, but thankfully, it's a lot easier to get around in Blaster Master. Each area has its own distinct graphical style and there's an almost complete lack of nearly-identical rooms. The areas are also quite a bit smaller, and exits to other places are marked by big, obvious gateways, so you know that you should turn back if you haven't yet beaten the current area's boss.

Blaster Master is quite the large game, with 8 unique regions. That, plus the fact that each has several Jason-only overhead sections, means it can take quite a while to get through the whole thing - this is actually one of the longer NES titles. This means it's yet another great fit for the 3DS Virtual Console's save state feature, as you can just save and quit wherever you want (or save before those difficult bosses so you don't need to backtrack if you suffer a game over).

As mentioned above, the game's graphics are quite good, with a different look for each area. They're accompanied by a soundtrack that also has different music for each area, and a lot of it is quite catchy.


Despite all their attempts, Sunsoft never quite managed to top the first Blaster Master game, which is evident by how many people seem to be unaware sequels even exist. It's still very much playable even to this day, and perhaps a gem you might have overlooked until now. This is well worth a look.

From the web

User Comments (35)



Grubdog said:

Looks great, I want to buy it but it's really silly being for sale on BOTH WiiWare and 3DS. When's Nintendo going to link this stuff?



naut said:

Bahhhh when does NA get this? Saw this review and immediately hopped on eShop only to be disappointed.



Taceus said:

This game takes me back. I remember it being tough. Never got that far. Thanks for the review, I forgot it came out recently. Going to the eShop now.



Spoony_Tech said:

Totally agree with this review. One of my favorite and best NES games. The land part is a bit tedious but still overall fun.



edhe said:

But it is silly, considering PSVita can play PSOne Classics from an account that is tied to the PS3 and the PSVita.

Why can't Nintendo? Oh. Because they didn't have the foresight to implement an inter-console accounts system when the Wii was first launched. And now the Wii U is out, they still haven't cottoned on.

I may have said this before, but I never bought the Wii VC version of this. I'd be interested in picking it up on the 3DS - considering how unwieldy it currently is to open up Wii Mode on my Wii U.



TheDreamingHawk said:

Oh please.

You all pointlessly whine over buying the game again. If you bought this in a NES cart, should you get it for free? No, of course not. And I strangely hear NO ONE Whine about a game they bought on 3DS being free on wii. they ALWAYS blame the 3DS.

It's $5. You won't die (Unless you are like me and hate the westernized version due to the intro)



Peppy_Hare said:

"Looks great, I want to buy it but it's really silly being for sale on BOTH WiiWare and 3DS. When's Nintendo going to link this stuff?"
I agree Grubdog I have it for VC and NES but no way am I gonna pay again for the 3DS version. Nintendo's double and triple-dipping is getting ridiculous.



RandomNerds said:

@WhiteTrashGuy "What is the difference between this and MB: ENEMY BELOW? Almost downloaded it the other day."

I think the MB: ENEMY BELOW was for a handheld, like gameboy color or something. Overall this game is pretty amazing, it can be punishing, but it is great. There was a refresh made on Wiiware it was pretty good too.



Discostew said:

Seriously, if they kept the price the same for 3DS and Wii U VC games, but had the option of paying $1 per game to make a purchased VC game on one platform accessible on the other as well, then I'd gladly pay that for each game in my collection.



KnightRider666 said:

@Windy: No, just the VC game. I wonder if/when we will be getting any more 3D classics. I have all 6 that were released so far, and I'd gladly buy more if they come available.



LevelJumpr said:

why cant they tell us when stuff will be released here in NA its like the ppl at nintendo wake up in the morning with no plans on what to put on VC when they update the eshop then when noon rolls around they have some game u already had or half wanted



Identifier said:

Same here. Is there any way to download the UK version on a USA 3DS XL by changing the region or something?



Thulfram said:

I just bought it today. Can anyone recommend any other good space shooters for the 3DS?

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