September 29, 2013
On the very last day of September, it's time for a new TurboMento-12! I'm going way, way off the beaten path today with
Westone's Blue Blink. It's a game with some pedigree, as Westone are the developers behind Sega's super popular (well, 20 years ago) Wonder Boy series, and Blue Blink itself is adapted from the very last anime Osamu Tezuka ever worked on, about a boy, a magical blue donkey and their ragtag group of friends searching for the boy's kidnapped father. So, yeah, it's a 16-bit anime license platformer. But a good one!
I want to thank the translators Gaijin Productions and Zatos Hacks for creating the English patch. There isn't a whole lot of text in the game, but when searching for TG16 stuff to cover I figured if someone bothered to translate something it's probably worth playing. Blue Blink certainly got some curious ideas and looks fantastic for a game that pre-dates the Super Nintendo. But hey, why don't we just have a series of consecutive images do the talking? And then maybe I do some more talking underneath them in the captions?
Blue Blink and You'll Miss It Welcome to Blue Blink! That's Kakeru and Blink there, bestest pals. One's a nigh-omnipotent magical creature from space and the other is some kid in a hat. Guess which one we're playing as! Oh hey there, Blues Brothers. Sorry this couldn't wait until after you changed out of your jammies, but it's 106 miles to Chicago and we're running out of cigarettes. So we're looking at regular old anime platformer territory for right now, but almost immediately we start seeing its odd quirks. For instance, with ledges this close together in height, the character will automatically hop up them. Saves on mashing the jump button, and even has tactical applications way later in the game. Here's some kind of armadillo that is minding its own business, so I'll demonstrate how to kill things: your dude has throwing stars, and whenever he fires his two followers fire as well like options in Gradius. Because they follow the main character with a slight delay, you can create walls of projectiles like this. The spread's definitely useful. Holy crap, these are some angry little gnomes. Guess they've finally had enough of getting jammed into rockets. You guys should count the lucky ninja stars being thrown at your face that you aren't Kerbals. Quirk number 3: Those stairs lead up to a different level. They're right in the middle of this one, though, which means I'll have to drop back in and repeat all that jumping if I want to unlock the stage's other exit, Super Mario World style. But don't take my word for it? Most stages end with an NPC who gives out advice if you didn't figure it out yourself. Not sure why we're invading people's homes, but then I do have two convicted felons with me. So this is what the world map looks like. Any stage with more than one exit (and one entrance) has a branching path. Generally speaking, it's easy to find the fastest route to the boss, but there's issues with this. I'll expound on those a little later, but let's just say it pays to explore. A power-up! This game has all sorts of things to pick up. Most of it is cash, but you'll find temporary boosts like this feather here. It makes you move faster, which isn't necessarily a good thing. More alternate paths. Don't like the look of those logs? Then just wuss out. I've been reliably informed that a red key is in here, and it's apparently necessary to unlock the door to the boss. This is problem one with taking the quick "go as the crow flies" approach to the end level. This stage is interesting because it loops. If I keep heading right, I'll end up at the top where that boulder is. (Oh, the guy in the cap is Tanba, by the way. He drives the bus you can see on the world map.) And with the magic of screenshots, was it so. The red key is usually hidden within a pot, which are invisible until you hit it accidentally. Good thing I'm sweeping everything with these projectiles. Anyway, with red key in tow, we can reach the final boss in this last stage of Rose Town. We're going across the rooftops Tenchu style. Or maybe Ninja Gaiden style, considering how many of these annoying birds there are. If you happen to fall off, Blink shows up to save you. However, there's a limited number of times he can do this. So it's like a cross between a life system and Elika from Prince of Persia. This is what the end of the final stage looks like. Without the red key to open that locked door on the right, the only option is to take the left door which just drops you back on the world map. First boss is this horrible Aztec thing with a permanent expression of horror. All boss fights are fought on Blink's back, since he's apparently the only one that can damage the big guys. After a few dozen hits, dodging up and down this ziggurat that has no doubt seen thousands of human sacrifices to appease this terrifying monster, it finally falls off the screen and explodes. I jump the dancing jumps of victory, like the brutal oppressive Conquistador that I am. This girl was standing right here the whole time and then has the temerity to insult my contribution to that mighty battle? Somehow suggesting I spent the entire time sitting on my ass? Mayhaps these people grow too bold without their angry god around to punish them.
In Part 2, the game decides to get serious. Or at least as serious as an anime about a magical blue donkey with pink hair can get, which turns out to be very. No worries though, because I finally discover a few things that make the game a lot more manageable.