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Platform:  Gameboy
# of Players:  1
Developer:  HAL
Publisher:  Marvel/Activision
Ratings:  Everyone
Memory Req.:  none
Blade, Blade, Blade. Such a great concept for a video game. A vampire killing machine who is himself part vampire. Sounds like something that would rival even the Resident Evil franchise. Forget that they made a movie and a comic book out of the concept. Where it should really shine is video games. I feel like my second grade teacher when I say that Blade s a waste of some really great potential. It would be one thing if this were a lame idea from the start that they turned into a lame game. However, this is a kick-ass idea that they turned into a lame game. Hopefully this is just a case of stretching a good franchise onto the Gameboy for the obligatory Gameboy game. And hopefully the Playstation version of Blade will redeem this waste but as it stand now, Blade is just a disappointment.

One would think that this would be a really cool game, not just from the concept but also from the layout. Three different levels are available from the start and each level has a completely different kind of gameplay keeping with Blade's different types of skills. One level features a screen that plays like a shooting gallery with Blade picking off different bad guys as they pop out. Another level is your basic run around and beat up the bad guys. The third is the quintessential Blade combat, sword fighting. Each level (which consists of a few stages) has all three types of levels so you have to be good at all of them to proceed.

This is where the problem came in for me. I royally sucked at the gun levels, not necessarily because I was bad (although I am sure that was a part) but rather because it took too damn long to point the gun where I needed it to go and some enemies. You see it is not set up like a gun game with a scope on the screen but rather is has Balde sitting in the middle of all of the enemies and you have to rotate his entire body up and around in order to aim at them. By the time I rotated around to hit the guys in the corner, other guys were popping out and shooting me. I guess with lots of practice and a specific knowledge of which guys were going to come at which point, one may be able o overcome this hardship. I on the other hand simply felt that it was too difficult to be worthwhile.

That may have been forgivable had it not been for the fact that that was the most interesting part of the game. Despite its difficulty due to control it was still more innovative and engrossing than the other levels. Each of the other levels were bad rip-offs of Double Dragon. Remember how old that game is? Well if you want a throwback to that era then this is for you. Walk around, meet up with a bad guy, beat his brains out, walk some more, etc. Every once in a while you will use your sword for taking out the really tough opponents but mostly its just your basic punching and kicking fare.

The one thing I was impressed with was the amount of moves that one can do in the game. There are quite a few button combinations and specials for such a small guy. Plus there is a whole new crop of moves that open up when you stun a guy. But even if there were twice as many moves eventually you would see them all (if you were good you could perform them all in a matter of minutes) and then you would just be left with the droll repetitive gameplay.

This is one of those games that you like to play for concept value more than actual gameplay. It is the idea of beating up the other guys and shooting big guns that draws the audience. However this should not come at the expense of fun and interesting gameplay and should definitely not come at the expense of good control. If I am going to lapse into a hitting frenzy, at least I should have the ability to do it accurately and swiftly.

It is sad but this game is just another mediocre movie licensed game that delivers nothing of substance. However, what separates this from the many other licenses for me is a personal desire that this might be the game that produced something greater. It sure had a lot going for it. I mean he's a vampire that hunts down and kills vampires for chrissake. Well at least I have the Playstation version to look forward to.

Chris Shade

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