VC Weekly 331

Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe’s guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo’s download service. Written by Sam C Gittins

Two third-party titles, one is a classic while the other one is not so much even if it was previously unreleased in Europe, no free-passes here. Anyway enough from me and on with the games!
Available for download this week we have...     

Blaster Master

Price: GB £3.49, EU €4.99
Publisher: Sunsoft
Developer: Sunsoft
Released: 1988
System: NES

When you consider the 8-bit era there are many classics that immediately spring to mind but none of them can ever really compare to Blaster Master for it is a game that refuses to be shoe-horned into any one specific category. Exploration, platforming and even shooting were blended near-seamlessly into a game experience that is truly like no other even to this very day some near two and a half decades after its original release.

You take on the role of a guy called Jason and you must seek and destroy the boss in each area which will bestow a special power-up upon your armoured vehicle allowing you to progress further than was previously possible. There are two ways to play, firstly as you take out enemies with your craft you'll upgrade your vehicle which improves maneuverability greatly but there are times when you won't be able to use your vehicle and are forced to go on-foot for certain sections.

Upon exiting the vehicle you get to go into smaller areas which change the perspective of the game from side-on to overhead and gives you a set amount of things to well... blast, the clue is in the games title after all. You'll be mostly using the titular blaster but you also have a small supply of missiles and grenades which are very useful indeed, especially when it comes  to the games bosses which you will face frequently.


Everything controls amazingly well in this game to the point where you feel in complete control and that is actually something of a rarity, especially these days. It's challenging, both looks and sounds stunning and provides an experience that is quite simply like no other; so if you're looking for something new that's decidedly different from the rest of the game then you should look no further if you've yet to play this classic.

Vibrant visuals, awesome audio and an all-round original offering in the gameplay department puts this title up there with the rest of the classics because truly this is where it belongs and if you've yet to play this then you owe it to yourself to do so, especially at a mere five hundred Wii points; it's a well worthwhile investment.

Verdict : A true master of the original 8-bit blasters. 


Price: GB £3.49, EU €4.99
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Taxan
Released: 1988
System: NES

While many may have heard of the original arcade game Mappy I would wager that not a lot of people will have known about the existence of Mappy-Land which was a sequel that ended up gracing Japan and America while completely ignoring European shores which seemed to be an almost standardised process at one point. However just because a game was previously unreleased doesn't instantly mean that it's good, indeed in this case what we have here is a sequel which plays on the success of the original while trying to introduce more elements in a slightly failing manner; taking on the role of Mappy the Police Mouse you go on a hunt for hidden presents which have been scattered across the land by Nyamco the Cat, can you obtain all the presents again in time for Mapico's birthday?

Your objective is to obtain six of these presents per stage while avoiding your feline foes, these stages are composed of multiple platforms bridged by trampolines which are fun to use but watch out for all of the traps which will cause you to meet an untimely demise. The trampolines vanish after three bounces before reappearing  shortly after so you'll need to factor that in but really the enemies are so simple that you'll rarely run into much trouble. Upon collecting the last item the exit will appear to you, making it to that point will then allow you to proceed to the next stage where it's a case of rinse-repeat for the familiar gameplay.


Seemingly using only a handful of colours, the palette for this game is decidedly sparse even for an early NES title, it's very simple plus it lacks the charm that other platforming titles such as Super Mario Bros. seem to have in abundance. Music is very basic indeed, while it isn't terrible you certainly won't want to listen to it for very long for fear of going insane, likewise the sound effects are functional but barely worth mentioning.

If you are a die-hard fan of the arcade platformer then you may well be able to glean a certain amount of enjoyment from this but personally this is the kind of title which is painful to review let alone the thought of playing it for a significant amount of time due to the fact that there are just so many other better examples out there so why anyone would want to waste time on this is beyond me. It's not a terrible game but it's just not very inspiring at all, if you enjoy the 'vibe' of something like this then by all means spend some virtual currency on it but the majority of gamers will probably just want to skip this entirely in favour of something more enjoyable.

Verdict : Mappy-Land is a masterfully mundane title made mainly for masochists.

That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!

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