Saturday, September 15, 2012

Game of the Day - Blazer

Blazer is a console-esque looking tank/chopper game with interesting gameplay mechanics.  In fact, something old in the design makes for a game that requires a little more thought and savvy than it otherwise might have.

You start as a tank and the strange (old) thing is that you can only move in four directions (up, down, left and right). Meanwhile, you can also fire your tank either forward (button 1) or up (button 2) - up will be because of all those pesky helicopters trying to attack you.  The fact that you can only turn the tank in 90 degree segments makes for some interesting fights.  You sometimes have to go right up alongside an enemy tank and then turn 90 degrees to shoot him point blank.  Or, you wait until the coast is clear, move into the enemy tank's sight line and then quickly turn the 90 degrees toward him to fire - then, turn again and high tail it out of there.  This absence of diagonals makes for a less smooth, but tougher game - and for some hilarious "just in time" encounters.  What's weird is that the flyer shows controls that I don't understand that seem to be 8-way.  Unfortunately, it is in Japanese and I ditched that day in school.

There are several power-ups.  Those that upgrade the whole tank (T-2, T-3 buildings) and those that simply make you better or faster (oil, health, etc).  When you upgrade to T-2, your tank shoots in all directions simultaneously (as you can imagine, this is very helpful).

Go far enough, and you come to a heli-pad. Park your tank, and it's off in the chopper in a part of the game that plays like the old game "Desert Strike".

Now, your chopper shoots forward and DOWN (drops bombs) instead of up like your tank did.  Fly far enough (and kill enough dudes) and you land again and get back in the tank - can I get some back-up here???  Apparently, still later in the game, you operate a boat - but I haven't gotten that far.

Blazer isn't particularly beautiful but has a look about it that hearkens back to great early console games.  And for that matter, the gameplay isn't particularly fast or chaotic, yet strikes a great balance wherein you know where every shot is going and can focus on everything you need to blow-up.

In all, the total package makes for a very fun game that you will play repeatedly,  And if you figure out what the fuck the flyer is trying to tell me, let me know with a comment here.

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