Anyone who still uses a real Amstrad CPC today surely knows the inexplicable pleasure of simply reading a game from a cassette. This little miracle of data transfer requires a certain amount of patience. Therefore, games are needed that do not strain the nerves for too long and reward the waiting time at the end with a nice, playful entertainment. Squeezed onto a nice, narrow cassette tape, Crazy Blaster offers the willing Amstrad enthusiast exactly this fun even today for a small fee.
In Crazy Blaster, the player controls a spaceship. The gameplay integrates basic principles from various classics of the 8-bit era. First and foremost, this is Space Taxi. The cosmonauts waiting on platforms in the levels have to be collected by skilful manoeuvring. However, the familiar crash landing – when the spaceship touches down too abruptly – has not been retained, so that much riskier approaches can be achieved. The controls are based on the jet-stream principle familiar from the classic Thrust: the thrusts are well-dosed via the fire button and cause a brief state of hovering or flight during which the ship can be steered to the desired position.
In contrast to Space Taxi, this spaceship must also defend itself against enemy attacks. To do this, straight shots can be fired upwards. The shooting mechanics were taken from another classic: Space Invaders. As is well known, the firing frequency is limited to one projectile per screen, i.e. you have to wait for the exit at the top of the screen before firing the next shot. In addition, Crazy Blaster implemented an unusual behaviour of the ammunition: platforms above or below can reflect the projectile, so that in certain cases, it oscillates back and forth for some time before hitting an enemy or burning up.
The 3 types of enemies also follow familiar classic principles: The “Windmill from Outer Space” follows horizontal paths and occasionally shoots vertically. The “Teenage Communist from Mars” is somewhat more flexible and can fly and shoot in both directions. Only the “Milkywaypoos” that appear after the time limit has expired can approach the player on a direct path and deduct a life by touching him. More gimmicks of meanness are: spikes that are deadly when touched, fixed cannons at the edge that shoot at regular intervals and meteorites that hail down.
Even the design of some platforms has been borrowed from a classic: the colouring of the path by touching it is familiar from Miner 2049er and is called “Expensive Space Junk” here.
All the planets have similarly funny names. For example, the player visits: Kongabonga, Saltyliquorice or Fartalot. The start of the game is also extremely unusual: the player immediately has control of the spaceship and must shoot a start symbol by navigating through the writing-blocks on the start screen in order to begin.
Since the Amstrad game library unfortunately only contains rather inferior ports of the actual classics – Space Taxi in particular looks extreme ugly on this system – Crazy Blaster is, in my view, more of an enrichment than just another clone-annoyance. The game is so well-made that you feel like you're playing Space Taxi on steroids. The controls are precise and the graphics are appealing in their practicality. With the many different ideas, the 17 levels remain interesting at all times.
The only criticism is the lack of a password system, which I would have liked to see instead of the continue function. Because, like its great predecessors, Crazy Blaster is also extremely demanding in terms of gameplay. The funny communism-metaphor throughout the game, however, makes it clear that the game doesn't take itself too seriously. This gives some breathing space to the grim ambition of completing the game. And after a few attempts, the cassette can be taken out again with the good feeling of having brought an almost 40-year-old medium to life.
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