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Blast Corps (1997): Demolish Your Way Clear of Nuclear Armageddon

Blast Corps is an action puzzle console video game for the Nintendo 64, recently released under developer Rare’s 2015 Rare Replay retrospective compilation, and is also one of the first in a standout run of titles released by Rare for Nintendo’s last great console.

Okay so here’s the setup. You have a nuclear carrier whose steering has been locked so that it’s constantly heading on a collision course with the city. Meanwhile the A-Team are out of town and McGuyver is nowhere to be found leaving it down to a team of demolition experts to clear a path for the runaway carrier or risk wiping the city out in a massive nuclear explosion.

Blast Corps

As any retro gamer knows all too well, nostalgia is both a wonderful and dangerous thing and this could be none the more true than with “Blast Corps” which truly is flashback to a more simpler time for gaming as the new generation of consoles which at the time saw Nintendo facing off against the Playstation and here they were making the first forays into 3D gaming moving away from the traditional 2D. While this was unquestionably an exciting time for gamers especially as what was once a pastime for nerds was fast gaining mainstream popularity. At the same time games where frequently hampered by clumsy controls and awkward camera angles as developers got to grips with the new freedom that these consoles allowed issues which unquestionably plague this title as well and which now are all the more obvious when returning to the game now.

Blast Corps

Plot wise it might be questionable and paper thin to say the least how anyone can justify saving the city by demolishing half of it, especially as the Blast Corps are certainly anything but subtle in their work as the player has to learn to master the eight demolition vehicles which includes the standard Bulldozer and dump truck to the more fantastical missile firing tricycle and dune buggy which launches itself into the air to crash through buildings. The building smashing fun is only added to further by the three mechs which the player gets to control on selected levels.  All the vehicles needless to say come with their own strengths and weaknesses for the player to discover especially with the game automatically selecting for each level the equipment to be used to clear a path.

Blast Corps

If you hadn’t guessed already this is a game far from grounded in any sense of reality, thanks largely to the developers whose team consisted of a mere seven programmers while many of the vehicles mechanics being designed because they sounded cool and yet somehow this works. Still if all the building smashing wasn’t fun enough the game also randomly throws in a number of race missions were players not only get to race many of the vehicles, but can also choose to use cars like the General Lee from “Dukes of Hazard” or the A-team van. Amusingly there are some of the races where the bulldozer is actually the best vehicle due to being able to create its own shortcut through the buildings on the course.

Blast Corps

Working your way through each mission the players eventually get to take their building wrecking skills off planet as you get to smash things on other planets in the solar system in fun and surprising set of bonus levels. At the same time players can replay missions to best their times by competing against a ghost version of themselves or just explore the map looking for bonuses or those last few buildings to destroy for total destruction.

The downside to the game is the often insane levels of difficultly which when combined with often unwieldy controls can make for controller snapping levels of frustration, as I lost count of the amount of times I failed to pull off a required destruction because I hadn’t drifted at the correct angle or hit the special function command too late to pull off the maximum destruction that the often tight timeline requires to avoid failing the level and seeing your hard work being wiped out in a nuclear fireball.

Blast Corps

While some fans have wished for Rare to release a sequel, especially in the wake of such positive critical reception this sole game essentially took the concept to its limit making a sequel with little to work with it would seem. Still with the release of the “Rare Replay” for XboxOne you can rediscover the game if you missed out the first time round and while it might have many of the flaws that we took as standard back then it still remains one of the key titles in the Rare back catalogue and worth rediscovering. Just be prepared for all that building trashing goodness to be perhaps not as shiny as you remember.

Blast Corps (1997): Demolish Your Way Clear of Nuclear Armageddon

Game Credits

Developer: Rare
Publisher:  Nintendo
Platform(s):  Nintendo 64, Xbox One
Release: 1997

3.0
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