Sonic Blast Man, eh? Is it a less talked about fun-filled adventure or just plain crap? The game was as popular as it was cheesy and controversial back in 1992. Sonic Blast Man was originally in the arcades and the goal was to stop different terrors by wearing a pair of punching gloves. You then had to swing as hard as you could to damage the oncoming threat. The problem with that was that kids would play these arcade machines (according to the links above) and injure themselves by damaging their hands and wrist. Naturally, the arcade machines had to quickly be removed from areas that had them and parents were furious. Instead, Taito made a console version that played like a beat-em-up (the arcade version is not a beat-em-up from my knowledge) and that's how this game was born. You control your titular hero (Sonic Blast Man) as he deals with street thugs, aliens, and other crazy weirdos. The plot is reminiscent to certain old cheesy comic books and Sonic Blast Man himself looks like he is wearing a generic suit that he could have put together in five minutes...I wonder just how much of a hit the arcade game was? Interesting.
One thing that most people seem to agree on is that Sonic Blast Man looks like a nice SNES game for 1992. Characters are large and arcade-like and the animation was pretty decent overall. The backdrops are clean and well done and should satisfy most SNES fans despite how old it is. You'll travel down dangerous neighborhood streets, a factory that has pipes that spray fire, the sewers where you'll get your feet wet, and other locations and they all look good. After going back and listening to all the music, I think that the music is pretty good too, though a tad bit on the repetitive side. The sound effects are typical to most beat-em-ups...the guys groan when they are defeated, punch sound effects aren't the most realistic things alive, etc. Needless to say, the sound is standard fare. I think it's acceptable.
The gameplay for Sonic Blast Man isn't atypical to the beat-em-up genre (hell, enemies are just labeled "ENEMY") and you may be familiar with the play mechanics if you've played other beat-em-ups. You can move in eight directions, jump, punch, and jump kick. The game feels a little linear because Sonic Blast Man is the only playable character and one of the general turnoffs I hear regarding this game is that the SNES Final Fight (the first FF) allowed you to play with two. Still, Sonic Blast Man's repertoire of moves contain some pretty cool stuff. After a series of rapid punches, Sonic Blast Man then grabs his opponent and can do several things. He can smash the enemy offscreen, uppercut them unleashing a sonic wave, or throw them behind him. On top of this, when enemies are dizzy, he can swing them in circles. If you just grab the enemies without initiating a combo, he can hit them with a flurry of furious punches or toss them with one hand. To top it all off, Sonic Blast Man can hit the ground with a super attack that damages all enemies on-screen. The game has bonus stages that are similar to the stages in the arcade game as well, though you obviously won't be using a punching glove. You must hit the directional keys rapidly to build up power and time your attack when you think you have enough power.
The game has its faults though. It's short and consist of five stages. You don't pick up things like weapons (though the bonus levels kinda help remedy this). On top of this, Sonic Blast Man moves very slowly. You can get interrupted during combos too and since Blast Man is slow, you have to plan accordingly as to not get pummeled by your foes. Despite what I've said so far, the game is actually very easy too and it's very easy to figure out strategies to beat the enemies. As stated before, you only use one character and while he has numerous tricks at his disposal, it can still get old pretty fast. You get items for points, health items, items do a super attack (if you are running low) and not much else. The game is nothing special in terms of gameplay. That being said, there's nothing really wrong with that. A game with good graphics, fair sound, and fair gameplay, Sonic Blast Man shouldn't do you any harm. I remember I had fun with it back in the mid 90's when I finally got to play it.
- Written by Vyse the determined -