Blaster Master Zero (Switch eShop)
Blaster Master Zero is a remake of an NES game. I can't tell you how faithful it is to the original despite owning Blaster Master on the Wii Virtual Console. The original, at least the PAL version, was frustrating because enemies spawned a few inches into the screen instead of scrolling gently into it. I quit the game in area 2 because I had had enough of going slowly because of this issue, and I never touched it again.
The remake is much fairer, not just because it is technically sound, but also because the controls have been improved. The difficulty is almost too fair for the most part, so this game isn't anywhere close to NES hard, aside from a sudden difficulty spike towards the very end. Blaster Master Zero is broken down into two different gameplay segments. While controlling the tank Sophia III, you are playing a sidescroller and looking for the entrances to caves in which the game switches to a top-down perspective for short on-foot missions. The reward for these endeavors are various upgrades that make your tank more versatile and allow you to reach new areas.
Unfortunately, the same doesn't apply to the hero who doesn't get anything new besides the rarely used secondary weapons. The primary weapon can reach full force right from the start by picking up pink items. You lose firepower when you get hit by enemies, but for the most part your blaster will be so powerful that you clean up each room of foes very fast and even most of the bosses can't put up much of a fight. The realisation that the hero doesn't get stronger throughout the game drags down the motivation considerably in the latter half, and it also impacts the replay value negatively.
The extra modes after the true ending are disappointing, the same holds true for the Gunvolt DLC. Gunvolt plays like you'd expect from his own games (Azure Striker Gunvolt 1 and 2), so you shoot enemies to mark them and then activate shock to grill them; lame and boring. On the plus side, Inti Creates is capable of making decent to great games when they honor an established framework; the most noteworthy mentions are Mega Man 9 and 10. Thankfully Blaster Master Zero falls into this category instead of Inti Creates' pit of despair where classic ideas get suffocated by an overemphasis on story and creativity.
|Controls||10||Pressing up diagonally doesn't make the hero grab ladders.
All the more annoying because fall damage is severe.
|Gameplay||Explore sidescrolling areas to find dungeons that are played
in top-down perspective. Upgrade your tank and hero.
|Story||Starts off succinct, gets more intrusive towards the end.
Less would have been more in this case.
|Single-player||Slows down after a good start. While upgrades for the tank
remain consistent, the hero plays the same all game long.
|Multiplayer||Not tested, but player 2 controls only a crosshair and can
drop a limited amount of beneficial items into the field of play.
|Graphics||The 8-bit style is consistent throughout the whole game,
but of course not taxing the hardware at all.
|Sound||An 8-bit soundtrack worth listening to. At times
reminiscent of Mega Man.
|Value||$/€10 for five hours are an absolutely fair price
for an action game.
|Replay Value||None of the extra modes are convincing and the base game
tapers off in the latter half, making it a rather tedious affair.
|Score||6||There was potential for more here, so Blaster Master Zero
is only a decent game. A sequel could fix issues.