(Hudson Soft 1989, Toho/Sunrise/Compile 1989)

Introduction and Story:

The Turbo Grafx-16 Entertainment System may have been considered a 8-bit/16-bit failure do some hardcore video game experts but for some of us gamers out there during the 1989 era, many would pick up the system after playing some of their ground breaking titles. The time was the beginning of the 16-bit revolution. The Nintendo Entertainment System just wasn't cutting it anymore and the Sega Genesis was releasing a lot arcade titles inferior to the real arcade games (bad translations of Altered Beast and Super Thunder Blade were just a few examples), people not only wanted something graphical impressive but they also wanted something they never seen before. Enter the cult hit Blazing Lazers; Hudson Soft's come out of no where break out title that would wow many soon to be Turbo Grafx-16 fans.

So what's the story here? The earth is at risk after the deadly armada simply known as the Dark Squadron unleashed 8 Super Weapons to destroy the world. It's your lone mission here to pilot a powerful 80 ton Gunhed; an advance Star fighter with the capability of holding 8 useful weapons. You're going to have to do what ever it takes to make your way down to the heart of the Dark Squadron: the Master Computer. So can your lasers slice their way through the Dark Squadron army to save the earth from destruction? The Dark Squadron has stationed these 8 Super Weapons in 8 different areas and each of these stages is well guarded by millions of ships, aliens, and objects ready to take you out at a moment's notice. Your wave of enemies are relentless in their attack but your Gunhed Star Fighter is able to defend itself by packing some serious weaponry and other important items. The first sets of weapons the Gunhed can pick are numbered 1 to 4. Weapon 1 is the Photon Blaster and it's your basic weak cannons that can be upgraded to fire in multiple directions, good for taking out those annoying group of enemies that surround you. Weapon 2 is wide and quick but lacks strength, weapon 3 is the power electric laser that can be very uneven, and finally there is weapon 4 that protect the ship with rolling orbs. Those are not your only special abilities because you collect bonus secondary items like Multi-Bodies, Homing Missiles, Power Shields, and lastly there is the 'Fire' upgrade that adds even more additional to the original 4 weapons.

The game play and bottomline:
What makes Blazing Lazers stand apart from other shooters out there is that power ups are everywhere. Destroying enough random enemies can even reward you cool items like you can grab pink gems that increase your strength slowly or you can just the collect the same items to improve your power much faster. You can also turn your reserve ships into golden ships which may not appear to do much until you realize how to effectively use them. If you want to see how many power ups can be on screen then head over to area 3 where you'll be flooded with tons of on screen cool goodies.

Perhaps the game's biggest draw was the outstanding graphics. As soon as you press the Run button to start the game, the adventure goes full speed ahead as you whip across a space station to make your way down to the first area boss. Blazing Lazers just screams intensity and few video games had the high speed action to compare with this. BL has no slowdown, little flickers, and all with tons of on screen action to boot. To complete the list of the game's cool features, Blazing Lazers also packs some killer sound tracks and loud explosions. The voices were the only weak spot in the game's sound department but they were still better then most turbo card games.

When all is said and done: Blazing Lazers has so much to offer. This game is absolutely loaded with chaotic firepower, great graphics, listenable music, and 9 huge levels. It's no wonder the game helped the TurboGrafx-16 through some rough times. The only issue I have with the game here is that it's just way too easy for a shooter thanks to all the game's massive power up system and it can be easily finished the same day or week if know what you're doing here. Blazing Lazers is still a very impressive shooter and it comes very recommend for a current or the future turbo owner! Sadly there was never a true sequel so the TurboGrafx-16 is the only place where you could play it other then an emulator of course. How about a sequel then?



overall rating: 90/100

Find Blazing Lazers on eBay here!

For 1 player only
Rated (E) for Everyone

graphics: 8/10
sound: 8/10
gameplay: 9/10
replay: 7/10

(Ryan Genno) 2003

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