October 24, 2006 1:33 PM   Subscribe

Blaster Master... Solid NES Gold. Those who remember the game do so with fondness. Though critically lauded on release, and later spawning several sequels, the game was never as big a hit as its its spiritual predecessors, Metroid and Legend of Zelda. Like Super Mario Bros. 2/Doki Doki Panic, Blaster Master was based on an obscure Japanese game, in this case Chōwakuseisenki Metafight although the differences in this case are limited to the story. Blaster Master was also the first (and only "canon") book in the Nintendo Worlds of Power series, in which various authors novelized third-party games using the pseudonym "F.X. Nine." Download the Blaster Master book here (MSWord zipped, "enhanced" by a fan). Lastly, some bonus links: one, two, and three (!)
posted by BlackLeotardFront (34 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Props to arguably the finest NES game ever! I was a game counselor during the NES years, and this game never left my top 5 list the entire time. Fans loved it, kids loved it, all the R&D guys wanted to make another game like it - I never understood why there wasn't a sequel...

Interesting Note: I was one of the game counselors asked to confirm the exploding grenade / start button pause boss trick for the Nintendo Power magazine article.

/don't forget Milon's Secret Castle!
posted by Aquaman at 1:38 PM on October 24, 2006 [2 favorites]

Blaster Master was the dopest. Made my little 12-year old heart race, and I felt like the king of the world when I beat one of those fershlugginer bosses. First game I remember with the ability to shoot up, get out of a vehicle, and have a plot twist. Hard as hell, though.

Ace soundtrack, too.
posted by Durhey at 1:41 PM on October 24, 2006

That's "shoot up" as in "shoot upwards", not take drugs intravenously, btw.
posted by Durhey at 1:43 PM on October 24, 2006

Oh, I loved that game.

I would have expected the domain "bmshrine.com" to be something a bit more sinister, though.
posted by gurple at 1:53 PM on October 24, 2006

I owned an NES (my first ever console) and I owned a lot of NES games but I never ever played this game. Infact, up until today, I'd never even heard of it before, and I'm one of the biggest Nintendo whores you'll ever meet. Reading the links in this excellent post makes me feel like I've really missed out.

Is it possible it just wasn't released in Australia? Or did the game somehow just pass me by as I tried in vain to beat games like Mach Rider and Rush N' Attack?
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:54 PM on October 24, 2006

I'm currently in awe of aquaman.
posted by drezdn at 1:59 PM on October 24, 2006

\m/ >_< \m/
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:59 PM on October 24, 2006

Blaster Master and Bionic Commando were my favorite NES games.
posted by stifford at 2:07 PM on October 24, 2006

So uh, does anyone want the ROM? Or do we not talk about such things on MeFi? I'm torn.
posted by BeerFilter at 2:14 PM on October 24, 2006

I am pretty much the same, but I'm from the States. Up until two days ago when someone randomly posted a picture of the box cover on a message board I had never heard of this game.
posted by Phantomx at 2:15 PM on October 24, 2006

Blaster Master runs Bartertown!

... no wait.
posted by ODiV at 2:18 PM on October 24, 2006

My favorite game! Great replay value, I used to take it out once or twice a year and play it through as a time trial.

And Stifford, Bionic Commando too, you are right! They used to make such great side-scrollers.
posted by cotterpin at 2:19 PM on October 24, 2006

Game Genie? Not so interesting for skipping levels, really interesting for making Mario have low gravity, striped tile sets, or walking on air.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:56 PM on October 24, 2006

Thanks for the post, this was also my favorite NES game. I still have my copy in the box in my closet. Never did a time trial, although I imagine I'd be pretty good at it by now. Here's one I've seen though.

And yeah, I bought the book from the book fair at either my elementary or middle school. Read it about 5 times, although it's not every good. I have it in the same box as the game.
posted by bob sarabia at 2:57 PM on October 24, 2006

That should be "not very good."

And yeah, it was very hard. Especially the last level. Still good though.
posted by bob sarabia at 2:59 PM on October 24, 2006

What a great game. My favorite NES game for sure. I've fired it up in NESticle many times over the years. Plus I have the soundtrack in my iTunes library (in MIDI format, natch). I love the Metroid feel where you get stronger and backtrack to areas that were previously off limits as you acquire powerups.
posted by Khalad at 3:16 PM on October 24, 2006

I never did beat the last boss in the game without cheating. It takes about an hour to get to him, which made it really difficult to get any good practice in on him. Reminds me of Ghost and Goblins in that way, actually.
posted by Khalad at 3:18 PM on October 24, 2006

OMG. I totally forgot about Bionic Commando. That game ruled.
posted by Bageena at 3:22 PM on October 24, 2006

Man! I thought that MeFi was going nuts, I got an error message when I submitted this. So..

Aquaman, it's my pleasure, and you're my hero.

Durhey, thanks for the extra link - you can also find the entire soundtrack in mp3 here... (SELF LINK)

You guys who haven't played it, do yourself a favor and go for it, it's a fantasic game. And you can beat it! I did!

Bob Sarabla, here's the offical version of that time attack, but thanks for the archive link.

And you Doki Doki panic lovers, check out that final bonus link.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 3:27 PM on October 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

I was just thinking of Blaster Master the other day. It had good music.
posted by slimbob at 4:09 PM on October 24, 2006

Loved it then and now. I think part of the appeal was the ability to climb out of the tank and run around as the little itty bitty guy onscreen and shoot eensy bullets.
posted by notmydesk at 4:13 PM on October 24, 2006

My favorite NES game can beat up your favorite NES game.

Seriously though, I never really understood the appeal of Blaster Master. On the surface, it's a totally sweet game, with fairly innovative (for the time) gameplay and pretty good graphics (and nice music), but IMO it's a kinda buggy (horrible collision detection) and rather difficult exercise in frustration.

My favorites? Bionic Commando (FYI, the only NES game where you get to make Hitler's head explode), Contra (one of the most perfect shooters ever made), and River City Ransom ("BARF!!!").
posted by neckro23 at 4:16 PM on October 24, 2006

River City Ransom was also pretty bad-ass.
posted by stifford at 4:52 PM on October 24, 2006

I think the appeal is the tank. They programmed a slight inertia so she rolls to a stop. She uncoils to jump, which takes a fraction of a second. Turning around takes a fraction of a second too. There's just enough visual feedback in the responsiveness so that it feels different from other games. I think it feels like there's realistic acceleration. It's not enough delay to made it a game element -- it doesn't make it hard. It's just enough to make it feel like the tank has mass.

Plus you can climb on walls and still raise your gun turret. So cool!
posted by cotterpin at 5:32 PM on October 24, 2006

Blaster Master was one of a select few games about which I had bizarre anticipatory dreams before I got them (as birthday/xmas gifts). My Blaster Master dream involved making repeated runs through a burning building to try to successfully acquire the cart.

When I finally got the game, I was not disappointed. Loved it. Love it still.

neckro23, it was difficult and buggy, yes—but that was de rigeur at the time. The appeal was specifically in those things you mention: it was not just aesthetically appealing, it was excitingly so. Excellent use of a limited console, tremendous production values, and the dual-mode nature of it was compelling and unusual.

And yes to Bionic Commando—which was also beautiful, innovative, and hard.
posted by cortex at 5:36 PM on October 24, 2006

Doki Doki Panic is really one of the most bizarre platform games ever. I've only played it in its Super Mario 2 guise and that's the only Mario game I haven't really enjoyed.
posted by grouse at 5:37 PM on October 24, 2006

Blaster Master is definitely one of my all-time favorite games as well, and is one of the few old-school games I can play in an emulator today and feel it has stood the test of time.
posted by nightchrome at 5:50 PM on October 24, 2006

Oh man -- This post has put me in such a good mood. I absolutely loved Blaster Master.

I doubt I'm the only one that did this: When I first got the game, I enjoyed taking a flying leap off a huge cliff in the tank. About halfway down, I'd hit the select button so that Jason would be jettisoned. Wait for 3, 2, splat. (hee!)

*goes off to listen to the stage 1 music*
posted by icosahedral at 6:15 PM on October 24, 2006

This is one game I guess I just didn't appreciate. I don't know why. I just know that after reading all the hype in the industry rags, I was completely underwhelmed. Can't even recall why. I'll have to fire this up in an EMU to see if that sentiment holds up.

My favourite NES games of all time are: Rygar and Crystalis.

Rygar is just so damn difficult but was full of exploration fueled by getting the next power-up - it was only superficially like the arcade version. I never did defeat the last boss and because there was no password system nor a save-game system I never went back to it after the marathon gaming session of note.

Crystalis was late to the party so it's fairly unknown but, imho, it owned Legend of Zelda in the action-RPG subgenre. Great levels and power-up structure. Difficult, but not overly-so. Loved the story.
posted by C.Batt at 6:32 PM on October 24, 2006

Blaster Master > Metroid.

Seriously. Metroid was good, but Blaster Master just leaps past it by leaps in bounds in innovation, art, music and - most importantly - game play.

I still play that game. Lifeforce? Nope. Contra? No way. Metroid? Ok, once or twice, but not all the way through. Yoshi's Island? Well, yeah, but that's SNES. Blaster Master? Hell yes. Can we run through it again? OK!

I was always annoyed it never had a sequel. Someone should update it for the Gamecube or Wii, but they better do an unspeakably killer job or they'd better just leave it alone. (Reference: Robotron 64 was a tolerable 3D update to a 2D classic. As was Mario 64, but that's setting the bar way the hell up there.)
posted by loquacious at 12:23 AM on October 25, 2006

By the way, I cannot recommend strongly enough the purchase of the GBA release Metroid: Zero Mission to lovers of the original NES game. It is a polished, primped, fanservicing take on the original that has all of the charm and wonder and none of the problems. It is tremendous fun.
posted by cortex at 6:21 AM on October 25, 2006

I too loved Bionic Commando, it's actually one of the few video games I've ever beat.
posted by drezdn at 6:22 AM on October 25, 2006

How did I ever miss this game? No idea. But I LOVED me some Metroid. That satisfying splatty noise when you would shoot open the pods. Oooh. Makes me happy to this day.
posted by thekilgore at 7:42 AM on October 25, 2006

This game was great.
posted by dozo at 9:08 PM on October 25, 2006

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