Uh oh, guess what day it is! Huh? No, it isn’t hump day. It’s Review a Bad Game Day, the day where the internet gathers and reviews a game that they just plain don’t like. For me, that happened to fall on the same day as a 2 Decades Late piece, which for those uninitiated, is where I play a SNES title for the first time and review it. For this one, I can almost hear you typing your rebuttal comments for how I am wrong but here goes. A number of you suggested I play Blackthorne so I did. I did not like it.
This is by no means the worst game I ever played. However, it is the worst SNES game I have played so far. Yes, I realize most of you love this game. No, I don’t care. Let’s start with what I liked about this game. It has a killer opening sequence and an intriguing story. Apparently the king is about to eat it at the hands of someone who is basically the devil but he has a son so he wishes his son well and a wizard zaps him away into hiding. Now it’s 20 years later and the kid has grown up presumably on a steady diet of working out and revenge. He is now of ass kicking age and is coming back to get him some of anyone who is responsible for the death of his father and destruction of the kingdom. Awesome. The music for this game is also really good and added to the ambiance very well. Those are the things I liked. *Cracks knuckles* (Author’s note: I really cracked my knuckles there) [ Editor’s Note: Thanks for the clarification, Tom. Thanks. ]
Here is where the whole game goes off the rails for me. The game controls like a dump truck with a flat tire. It’s horrible. Most games like this would have your shotgun just be equipped at all times. Nope. Not this one. You have to holster and unholster it a million and a half times. But Tom, why don’t you just leave it unholstered at all times? Capital idea, except if I do that , I can’t interact with anything or climb ladders. Well, at least I can run and shoot at the same time. Nope. That brings us to the inevitable question of why he has a shotgun if this is a time of kings, wizards, and demons. No idea. On top of that, your character moves like he has a load of crap in his pants unless you action roll with him in which case he moves just fine and quite Samus-like for some reason. Oh, and you can run and jump to get across really wide gaps but good luck. It requires a level of precision timing that NASA has to calculate. The argument I heard for this control scheme is “Well you just have to get used to it.” I hate to be the bearer of bad news (LIES, I love to be the bearer of bad news), but if that is your defense, it is because the control scheme is dumb. Some people say that this is their favorite side scrolling shooter on the SNES and with these controls, I have no idea why. It made the game far more frustrating than it needed to be. There is a tutorial that helps minimally. It basically just shows you the buttons you will later curse about as you swore you pushed them only to have your character not do what you asked.
Visually, this is nothing to write home about, either. The levels are dark and soulless. I understand that that is kind of the theme they are going with here but I was never immersed in the world they were trying to create. The enemies are very generic and could just as easily be reused in any number of horror games or molded into those cheap plastic finger puppets you can get 10 for $1 at a party store. There are a number of friendlies that you can get info and sometimes health from and pretty much every one of them is identical save a different colored outfit. If you’re gonna go that route, why not have it be the same character that is like some sort of spirit guide or something that shows up at random points? Given the magical wizard stuff going on, it wouldn’t be too far fetched for this game.
At the end of the day, I found this to be a game with a lot of potential and upside as they say in sports. It had a great story premise that made me care about what I was doing. Unfortunately, it followed that up with a control scheme that was frustrating and unresponsive. Like I said earlier, a lot of people very much like this game and you very well might, too. For me though, the controls were just way too much to overcome for me to enjoy this title. That makes it the perfect choice for me for Review a Bad Game Day. Speaking of which, head on over to the RABGD site and check out all of the reviews of some of gaming’s greatest misses. Well, go on. You’re done reading this now anyway. Shoo!