You know, Sonic Blast Man! That rad arcade game where you put the boxing glove on to punch the sensor and defend the Earth? I doubt that rings a bell either. In fact, I don't recall even being aware that there was an arcade game until I encountered one of these rare machines on a class trip to Atlanta, long after I had played the Sonic Blast Man SNES game and its sequel, which is what I want to talk about today.
The cover art reads "The Arcade Hit" which isn't exactly true or false. The main game is actually a side scrolling beat em up in the vein of Final Fight or Streets of Rage where you follow a given path clearing enemies as you go. Just as it is presented in the opening cutscene, you'll quickly learn that punching is Sonic Blast Man's specialty, which is oh so satisfying to dish out on street thugs, robots, aliens or whatever else the game throws at you.
Mass Effect fans, where else can you punch out some weird Turian/Krogan hybrids?
Sonic Blast Man has enough combo variations and special grabs in his arsenal to keep the punches rolling, however his slow walking speed makes getting within range a chore. Especially in later stages where the enemies duck in and out of the screen and flee as you advance, forcing all too many repetitive slow dances as you inch your way through combat. If only they thought to include a run or dash. Sometimes I felt like I needed to use one of the limited D. Punches, the screen clearing 100 megaton punch, to advance because chasing the enemies down was becoming too monotonous.
This guy is about to very much regret getting up this morning.
The stages from the arcade game appear as bonus stages after each level, called "Hit Stages." Like the arcade, you are presented with a single screen showing you an advancing threat that can naturally only be dealt with by smashing it with megaton punches. Such as an 18 wheeler about to run down a runaway baby carriage.
Since the Super Nintendo to my knowledge never came out with a punching glove and sensor apparatus the stages consist of you swirling the d-pad to fill a power meter as high as you can before a certain time limit runs out and then hitting b when the floating punch icon is over the target area. It's fun at first but quickly becomes physically tiring as you swirl your thumb with all your might to fill the power meter. The higher the difficulty the harder it is to fill the meter, but I found that even after switching back to easy for the bonus games my thumb was extremely fatigued. By the end of the game I was holding the controller upside down in my other hand to save my left thumb from breaking off.
Use 100 megaton punches on the Giant Enemy Crab's weak point for massive damage!
The sprites in this game are large, colorful, and impressively detailed. The size actually reminds me a lot of SNK titles like Art of Fighting. Until later in the game, most of the stages are the typical locales you've seen in the beat em up genre's past such as a street, sewer and factory. The music is generally pretty catchy and the sound effects give satisfying support to each devastating punch you deal out.
Despite Sonic Blast Man's arsenal of attacks, the mobility issues make this title come off as a very basic style of beat em up. It's not a bad game, but an unremarkable one, especially if you've honed your skills on games like Streets of Rage.
-Sonic Blast Man has probably the most awesome super hero costume ever!
-Huge arcade style sprite work is nice to look at.
-Stages from the Arcade game included as a bonus (when you're not exhausted from playing them).
-Combat is satisfying (when you can catch up to the enemies).
-Movement is sluggish to the point where catching up with enemies is difficult.
-Bonus stages hurt my hands to play for too long.
-No 2-player mode.
-The game overall doesn't really bring anything memorable to the table, aside from Sonic Blast Man's costume!
Next time on Sonic Blast Man....can the problems had with the original game be ironed out for the megaton smashing sequel, Sonic Blast Man 2? Visit again later to find out.
Until then, thanks for reading!