One of the N64 games that defeated me as a kid, Blast Corps created a silly but awesome concept: there’s a nuke on a truck, due to a fault the autopilot sends it straight to the centre of a city in a straight line and touching anything will cause it to explore and take out the entire city.
Each of the main levels have a similar premise: the truck is driving in a straight line and you have to clear its route before it hits anything. Each level is essentially a puzzle to solve, smashing buildings, swapping between vehicles, filling in gaps in order to achieve your goal.
To do this are a variety of vehicles. You start each level in a pre-chosen one, while some can be found in the level. The most basic is the Ramdoser, where you just ram into buildings, but others are more unique. There’s a small car that works best when you land on top of buildings, a vehicle that smashes things to the side of it, one with guns and even a few different mechs.
There’s also the backlash, which is very difficult to use and can lead to the most frustration. It’s a dump truck and the main damage is caused by its rear. Reversing is really slow, so the trick with it is performing drifts and turns so the back skids into buildings. If you are able to master this easily, then you’ll have a great time, but if you struggle at aiming then it can lead to a lot of frustration. The developers must have loved it though, as it seems to be the most used vehicle.
On top of the destructive vehicles, there are also a couple of cars, trains and ferries. The trains and ferries are mainly used to fill in gaps the nuke truck can fall down, while the cars are to get between vehicles quickly. For an early mission, you start in a mech with a jetpack, but need to grab a train to make a bridge. Luckily, this train has a car to get you back to your mech.
In terms of controls, I think the addition of using the R trigger to accelerate in the Rare Replay version of blast corps helps a lot, it feels more natural due to current games and means your finger is ready to mash the “action” button for the vehicles that perform an action (stomping, shooting, bashing). With this setup, everything felt natural and very precise.
On top of the main missions, there are also challenges. These can be time trial races, smashing certain items, collecting items in a set time, playing Pac-Man with trucks or simply destroying a bunch of buildings as quickly as possible. These are short and sweet, but fun and as it’s very quick to retry, often avoid being frustrating when you constantly fail.
When you complete all the main missions, you aren’t done with the game, you then have to locate seven scientists. These are hidden in the previous missions, and you also have other tasks in each mission: free survivors, smash all buildings and collect all “RDUs” (little lights that turn on when you drive near). The survivors one is a bit pointless as smashing all buildings will cause this to happen anyway. Finding the survivors will trigger the end cutscene and credits, but then there are bonus missions to play.
These are a bunch of silly over the top missions, and you need to get gold and all previous stuff to progress. I had a great time doing this, and learning the tricks to get the best times needed for each level is very rewarding.
Blast Corps is a great game, and the uniqueness of it means that it’s still great to play today. I think it’s quite amazing that nobody else has made a game about smashing stuff with vehicles (that I’m aware of anyway).