Game Over Online ~ Blaze and Blade

GameOver Game Reviews - Blaze and Blade (c) THQ, Reviewed by - Prolix

Game & Publisher Blaze and Blade (c) THQ
System Requirements Pentium 90, 16MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 56%
Date Published Tuesday, April 20th, 1999 at 04:02 PM

Divider Left By: Prolix Divider Right

It’s not to often you see a console style Rpg on the PC, hell you never see them with the exception of FF7. But after playing Blaze and Blades I’ve become a bit worried that more developers might follow in THQ’s footsteps. I thoroughly enjoy console Rpgs, Wild Arms and Alundra being my two favorites, however, I have played too many bad Rpgs to count. Blaze and Blades definitely falls into the latter category due to its numerous pitfalls.

As the story goes, Foresia was once a very prosperous continent, until an outbreak of magic was unleashed across the land. This magic destroyed everything and Foresia is now referred to as the forbidden country. Despite the obvious peril, many adventurers around the world are attracted to the forbidden country. For there are tales of treasure and wealth beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Naturally you assume the role of the party leader, leading your group of up to five characters throughout the forbidden country. There are a total of eight different character classes, both male and female. Character classes include fairy, dwarf, rouge, sorcerer, priestess, warrior, elf, and hunter. After character creation you must decide what element to have protect you and distribute bonus points. Bonus skills are very much like that found in most Rpg’s; agility, strength, intelligence, willpower, power, luck, and constitution. Each character has their own unique weapon or magic abilities and will eventually change or strengthen throughout the game. If this sounds like the typical rpg set up, that’s because it is. In terms of character creation and party formation there isn’t anything new here.

An overhead and semi rotating camera view is how the action takes place. With D3D resolutions up to 1024x786, you shouldn’t go wrong, right? Unfortunately Blaze and Blades appears to have been pulled out of the era when D3D rendering first became available in games. The computer graphics industry has come too far for pitiful set backs like Blaze and Blades. But, graphics really shouldn’t make an Rpg, they should just add to the feel. The only feeling the graphics engine in BB conveys is a feeling of ugliness. There are so many basic flaws in character modeling, landscapes, and even the faces of the people that I don’t know where to start. The faces on the people of Foresia appear to be glued on and possibly drawn by a child they are so poorly done. Houses and outdoor textures are poor as well. The starting location, a hotel, is filled with your average clientele (adventurers, drunks, and wisemen) and a massive bar. All the textures are bland, blurry and uninspired. To top it all off, the borders of the buildings walls are simply done by using black space, which really detracts from the fantasy feel. Overall Blaze and Blades looks worse than most Playstation Rpg’s and uses the typical Rpg texture formula to create a dull and unimaginative environment.

I’ve come to notice how most Rpg’s mash the entire party into the main character, like Cloud in FF7. But in Blaze and Blades the party resembles a train. For example, the main character moves left then right, the entire party goes through that motion like a giant caterpillar. It really gets annoying because sometimes a party member will block you or get you confused with other npcs. This also creates difficulties on the battlefield. Many times I found my main character taking way to many of the hits because the rest of my party was behind me and not close enough to attack. Although the party system could use some work, controlling your character is very easy. The player is given the option to use a gamepad or the keyboard and mouse. I opted for the keyboard due to the lack of buttons on my gamepad. Npc interaction is very easily done, you simply walk up to the npc and get close enough to touch them and conversation will be instigated. BB really isn’t a hardcore rpg in the combat sense, due to its real time nature. The combat in Blaze and Blades is best compared to that of Zelda, using one button to attack and another to use magic. The targeting system could use some work however, at times I found myself missing a lot with the bow and arrow due to lack of crosshairs. One thing that annoyed me is how the monsters would appear, from out of nowhere. The monsters would start as black shadows then progress into the full monster and even after killing the initial batch if you hung around for a few seconds the same spawn process would begin again. I think a set amount of monsters that were lurking on the screen already would have been a better solution instead of using this spawn method. Last but not least, the save system. It’s fine if you’re porting a game from a console but please don’t leave in the console type save features! I hate having to go to a set place to save my game, it gets so tedious and time consuming. The style of gameplay in BB is best compared to Alundra for the PSX or Zelda.

Pulled straight from the SNES the sound effects are some of the cheesiest I have experienced in an Rpg. Bleeps and bloops are at an all time high in Blaze and Blades. It’s odd that BB makes use of 3D cards, but doesn’t take advantage of any of the latest sound card technologies. One thing Blaze and Blades sorely lacks is a multiplayer function. The addition of a multiplayer option could have made this game somewhat worthwhile. Instead you must constantly deal with the idiocy of the computer controlled party members.

With so many bad things hindering Blaze and Blades, it really isn’t worthwhile for even the hardcore Rpg addicts. A dull story line, bad graphics, and piss poor AI all contribute to the overall feeling of disgust while playing Blaze and Blades. With games like Baldur’s Gate and Everquest on the market, you can do much better than this title.


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