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 Post subject: Space Blaze (PlayStation 4 - Nintendo Switch)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2021 9:25 pm 


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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 359
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Time for another PlayStation 4 shmup review, and this one is a incredibly bad shmup review.
'Cos I'm gonna review Space Blaze.

The guys from UIG (United Independent Entertainment GmbH) sell trash, everyone knows this. You'll probably remember them as the developer of trash simulators like the Professional Farmer series, Firefighters: The Simulation, American Trucker: The Simulation and Garbage Truck: The Simulation (How appropiate 'cos that's where their catalogue belongs). Now, think of them making a shmup. Well, anyone without experience on shooting or general gaming can make a shmup since they have the right to do so, but experimenting can bring different results. From a masterpiece of shooting (Qute's Eschatos and Ginga Force for example) or a disaster that looks worse than a dead cow that was ran-over by a speeding truck. Unfortunately, UIG's result is precisely the dead cow that I'm talking about.


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This is like Thunder Force...Thunder Force gone wrong.

While the game itself is an horizontal shooter, the game tries to make an approach to the classic style of Thunder Force, especially Thunder Force III as we have selectable weaponry. Your default weapon is the Spread Shot which is a multi-way fire that provides a wide range against enemies above and below you, while they're approaching your ship. The second weapon is the Laser, which is your full frontal shot which fires blue bullets of considerable power. The third weapon is the Plasma, which is your vertical fire as it fires plasma shots vertically above and below your ship, becoming the Air-to-Ground weapon. Also, each weapon has its own bomb. Spread Shot fires a volley of homing-like shots that target multiple enemies. Laser utilizes a thin murder-beam blast to inflict damages and the Plasma fires a huge crescent moon-like shot that passes through enemies. The game provides you with pods called Satellites which are the rear-firing subweapons of the game, making them an extremely essential item. Your ship is equipped with a life bar making you able to withstand some damage before going down. You can get extra lives by clearing a stage, so there's 7 1ups in total.

This is where the good part ends and constant stupidity begins. To begin with, there's no explanation of the game's mechanics, even something as simple of telling you which button is for fire and which one's the bomb before starting the mission is not mentioned in this game, forcing you to figure that out by yourself. Well, in the PS4 it goes like this: To shoot you can press either Square or X, pressing Triangle or Circle unleashes the bomb attack. L1 and R1 are the weapon changing buttons. Everybody knows that a good shmup has a great storyline, or at least a decent plot with some in-game lore to understand the universe within the game. This game has nothing of that, is just "Go out there and destroy things for no explained reason" that makes things look generic and dull. The first two boss battles are way too easy with bosses that move back and forth and fire lame attacks that can be easily evaded. Wish I was kidding, but the first boss is a damn coward that barely puts a pathetic attempt of firing a 5 way shot after moving back and forth for a considerable amount of time.



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You'd probably have more luck playing a Touhou Project game blindfolded.

Now, this is where the problems begin. The first of our problems is the graphic confusion. There's parts that at first they look as part of the background but they're not and that results in an instant death collision, the only way to tell what can instant kill you or not is to keep firing at nothing and see if the bullet collides with something. So, if there's an item that is "half-stuck" in a block or asteroid, better skip it, 'cos you're gonna lose a life trying to pick it. From Stage 2 you'll be facing a very common issue: The Foreground. Throughout your mission your visibility will be blocked by wreckages, stalagmites, trees and metallic towers/columns and that means trouble for you since they'll be frequently blocking enemies larger than you, small formations or a block resulting in cheap deaths. The difficulty curve climbs way too up in Stage 3 as the boss utilizes spread fire weaponry at very close range, making bullet dodging harder than it should be.

Remember those Satellites you've got? You'll be losing them forever if you lose a life in Stage 3, 'cos the game will not provide you with them anymore and they're crucial since they're the only ones that provide rear firing, and its gonna get much worse than you can imagine. This disadvantage will be heavily exploited against you for the rest of the game as the enemy will throw one rear enemy after another and during the left scrolling segment in Stage 7 you'll be an easy target. That's right, the game will scroll in the opposite direction kinda like in the fortress boss battle from U.N. Squadron, but in this game, your ship doesn't make a turn to give you a chance of fighting back, making you prone to enemy fire. With this problem you might think about utilizing your bombs, but think again, 'cos your bomb stock is of 3 per continue. That's right, you can only use 3 bombs during your three lives since unlike a basic shmup like Aero Fighters where after using your bomb stock it gets replenished after losing a life, in Space Blaze if you lose a ship, the bomb stock still stays at zero, forcing you to keep them for very extreme situations such as "Burn 2 in the stage, save 1 for the boss".



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One of the most common things you'll be seeing in this game.

Dying in this game is gonna be the most frequent thing you're gonna do. If the foreground trickery wasn't already a problem, the game is a total display of videogame idiocy: The hitbox is huge since it is the whole ship, making dodging a vertical bullet curtain a problem, and so the hit detection with the obstacles, where a collision with the ground or an asteroid will result on instant death despite having an energy bar. Speaking of the health bar, it is almost useless as the game suffers from the issue that I call "Turridamage" where the ship's energy can be depleted nonstop without an afterhit invincibility like in the first Turrican by either constant bullet hits or an enemy that passes through your ship. Like in Super Mario Bros., 1 is the zero of the game, 'cos if your ship goes down with 1 life left you'll be on the Game Over screen.
Like the Case Study Level in Natsuki Chronicles where an Ex. Shield is added after playing a stage constantly, the game keeps tracking of the overall score in your playthroughs as the game adds 1 more credit after reaching a certain score.



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Example of "How not to provide support to the player": Same item more than 3 times.

For a last example of in-game stupidity, there's stages where the game provides you of the same item. This is not like the second stage of Metal Slug 2 where you get more than two Heavy Machine Guns before the boss fight, we're talking stages where the game will give you the same item again and again and again nonstop. Stages 4, 5 and 7 are just Plasma, Plasma, Plasma, Plasma, Plasma, Plasma, Plasma at the point of making hear the voice sample saying "Plasma" to be as annoying as Blazing Star's "Bonus!". The same goes for Stage 6 and is Laser only upgrading.
This indifference on upgrading makes the game even more harder as you can no longer get the Satellites if you lose them, or regain a bomb, becoming an easy target for enemies that appear behind you and being overpowered by those in front of you.



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They just simply don't care about the gamer.

After all the broken issues with this game, you could be expecting that at least they've could had the generosity of giving you an ending, BUT NO!, they send you right to the credits, and as soon as they hit the "Thanks for playing" the screen fades to white as if they're saying "Yeah, thanks. Now get outta here!". Well, that's fine for me, since this game is just an unspeakable abomination that insults the shmup genre.

Since the game gives two [EXPLETIVE] about the ending, you might try to have some comfort on the trophies as a little "Trophy Hunt" to boost your PSN Trophy count, but guess what?, This game only has 7 trophies available. That's the second lowest that I've know, being the low record for the PS4 port of Star99 which had only 4 and for a price of $9.99 that was insult to injury, but then comes Space Blaze and rises the price 10 bucks more, BLAM! 20 bucks for 7 trophies are a total lack of balance in the Price-Quality equation. If you've bought this game, Dude, they've robbed you. Badly.

To finish the gameplay review, the game has a simultaneous local 2 Player Co-op mode if you have someone stupid enough to play this abomination with you.



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NASA discovered asteroids orbiting Neptune with high concentrations of Septonium.

The graphics look kinda old, as if we're watching a 90's CGI show, but in the level of Space Strikers where the CGI models look terrible. Now imagine those CGI's trying to make an approach to the level of Mainframe's Beast Wars Transformers, Max Steel or Foundation Imaging's Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles but using dark, repulsive color palettes, the result is this disastrous game where the graphic level looks more like an early PlayStation 3 demo game rather than a PS4 full commercial game. There's also instances where the graphics obscure things like in Stage 2, the cavern has obstacles of the same color as the background which can hide them until your bullets make impact on them. Also, the already mentioned foreground graphics that block part of the game like in Batman Forever, are just unnecessary as they result in potential cheap shots and collisions due to the blocked part of the screen. The explosion effects look way too blurry like a lazy visual effect done in photoshop, testimony of the zero budget effort involved in this game.



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Riveting. Simply riveting.

Your ship design well, looks like a ripoff of the Exceliza from Thunder Force II with two TIE Interceptors as pods/CLAWs but rendered with terrible dark colors where you can't recognize basic details like "where's the cockpit", not to mention in the title-name entry screens you can see the absurde amount of rivets crammed on the ship which makes it look unrealistic, bordering into a bad Meccano toy. Not even The Steel Empire had that much rivets on their machinery, but to quote Comedy Central's Anti-AdBlock crybaby whinery: "Riveting. Simply riveting."



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Perhaps the only good part of the whole game: Mechanical details.

Only the large, artificial (spaceship) enemies can be applauded for the detailing included, we can also say the same for the technological-themed levels as they're very well detailed in the overall structures and platforms. However, the lighting effects on the energy generators leaves more to be desired as they look like a freeze-frame of a lightning bolt.



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The only deja-vu found in this game.

The first boss of this game has a slight reminiscence to Gaiya Beast, the worm boss from Thunder Force II. Not to mention the second boss which slightly resembles the Rhamphorhynchus boss from Prehistoric Isle in 1930.


The music is the only good point of this game, Levels 5, 6 and 7 are the best of all with its fast pounding, sazzling techno rock tune that breaks with the other electro-suspense tunes found in the game. It is nice to hear something great after all the letdowns encountered in this game. But still is not enough to become the saving throw of the game.




SPACE CURIOSITIES
- The Stage 2 boss resembles a Dimorphodon with a Deinonychus head.
- Speaking of dinosaurs, the Stage 4 worm boss roars sound like pitched down T-Rex roars from Jurassic Park.
- The game is also called Crush and Katakis II, making this game a sequel to Factor 5's R-Type clone Katakis.
- Manfred Trenz, Chris Hülsbeck and Factor 5 are credited in the Special Thanks
(My condolences to them for being included in this game).

While the music sounds good, the game is a virtually unplayable trainwreck disguised as a commerical game. This game is with no doubts the absolute thesis of how not to make a shmup.
A crash course of idiocy, featuring one exercise of stupidity after another. No storyline, no lore, no tutorial to explain the controls, no cutscenes, the graphics are ugly and old-looking for PS4/Switch standards, the dreadful "Turridamage" problem, camouflaged obstacles, unfair instances of enemy fire from behind, foreground trickery, lame boss fights, uneven item picking unfairness, that "you are playing low budget attempt to a Thunder Force game" feeling, and what's worse an outrageous price that doesn't deserve it. Yeah, this is one of those games made by people who thinks they're highly professional and they're an unsurmountable trash of putting your hands on your head and yell in disbelief.

To put it simple, stay the hell away of Space Blaze.

For $20 you could buy something way better than this pathetic attempt to a shmup, not even the 7 trophies are worthy. Thank goodness we have Natsuki Chronicles, Blazing Star and the Darius games on the PlayStation 4. Those are great games worth of your money. Paying 20 bucks for this game will only encourage UIG to make another aberration to shove in our faces.



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I HEREBY DECLARE UIG ENTERTAINMENT AS "DEVELOPER NON GRATA".

It blows my mind that such a broken shmup could exist. While I could applaud UIG for the idea and attempt of leaving their constant release of trash simulators and make a shmup, all the flaws mentioned before take any merit away from them.
Also, how the [EXPLETIVE] this game made its way to the PS4 and Switch stores. ¿Does Sony and Nintendo screwed it up or they just don't care about admitting games without having a look at them to supervise the product quality?

*Sing "I've played a piece of trash" to the tune of "The Smile has left your Eyes" by Asia*



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I saw this game in the online store.
Then I've pick'd it up with no questions asked.
'Cos I know what it is, I've expected the best like any other shmup.
Then the "What the Hell?" and even worse were thoughts within my head.

I've played a piece of trash.
I've played a piece of trash.



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I'd rather play Darius Force.
Or even Blazing Star was better than this mess.
'Cos gameplay's a broken disaster, and things are getting even worse.
It's over now, all thropies got.
1 hour's gone. Oh, no!

I've played a piece of trash.
I've played a piece of trash.



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Lame trophies. Ah, God damn it!
Twenty bucks I've wasted.
I've threw my money to the drain.



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I could be buying a hot dog.
Maybe a pizza or fried chicken would be fine.
'Cos this game is a waste, I mean "What the Hell?", these guys don't realize
That money doesn't grow on trees, isn't hard to understand.

I've played a piece of trash.



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This game is a mess, I've realized.
Broken gameplay. I've wasted my cash.

I've just played with a piece of trash.



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I mean "What the Hell?", this game is bad.
An hour's gone, I've wasted my time.
Uninstall this game will be alright.
I've just played with a piece of trash.



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I've played... a piece... of trash.
_________________
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki


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