Sunday, April 04, 2010

Virtual Console Review - Blue's Journey (Neo-Geo)

Blue's Journey - ADK for Neo-Geo - 7/10

Now this one is a real surprise.  The Neo-Geo is famous for its shooters and sports games and about a million fighters, but not side-scrolling platformers.  Perhaps ADK felt the need to fill a void when they conjured Blue's Journey, and they very largely succeeded.  This is a very fun and very entertaining game.

I think it's a bit unfair to compare Blue's Journey to Super Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog; this game is far closer in spirit to Hudson Soft's platformers like Adventure Island and Bonk's Adventure.  The level designs are relatively straightforward, left to right, with some impressive dips and turns and surprises.  One impressive feature is that your hero can shrink down to a tiny size, where he can slip through cracks into secret areas.  The ability to switch sizes on the fly is nice, real nice.

This game is very cartoon-like in its graphics, and I'm sure that didn't win any fans among the SNK crowd, which was becoming increasingly "hardcore" on Neo-Geo.  I think the graphics are very nice - bold, confident sense of color, well balanced, not garish or loud.  The artists knew what they were doing, and this is much easier on the eyes than ADK's earlier Neo-Geo titles like Ninja Combat.  I really like the look of this game.

After being subjected to so many awful Neo-Geo games, Blue's Journey feels like a breath of fresh air.  It's definitely an anomaly in the system's library, and I'm a bit curious why that is so.  I think there should be more - more levels, more variety, more surprises.  But that's really a hallmark of quality, don't ya think?  I'm spinning Paranoid, side two, on my stereo as I'm writing this, and I'm secretly wishing for just a few more songs.  I'm pleading with the sunset for just a little more time.

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