by Blizzard Entertainment
BlackThorne is a multi-scrolling, action/adventure game where you are the liberator of a desperate human race that has been enslaved by goblinoid creatures. This is one dark game that spares no expense to put you into the mood for carnage. Armed with your shotgun, you can pulverize the wretched enemies. Collect the pieces of technology strewn throughout the caverns to work your way out. The Super NES game was excellent, and if the 32X is anything like it, we should be in for a real treat.
Excuse us, please. We must apologize in advance for our language - there's just no other way to state it. Ready? Here goes. Blackthome kicks ass. Whew. There. It's said. It had to be done and we were just the folks to do it. If you've got a problem with this, blame Sega. It's that company's fault for programming the incredible Genesis 32X version of this best-selling game. The truth is, we seriously doubt that many of you are going to complain that this game is just too good. We expect you'll bear it in silence. Well, silence may not be the right word in this case, because that's the last thing that's going to be happening in your living room when you get your hands on this one. Got it? Good.
At this point, your honor, we throw ourselves on the mercy of the court. If the preceding paragraph seemed over-the-top, it was for good reason. Here are the facts. Previous versions of this game were smash hits on both the PC and that poky 16-bit system from Nintendon't. Even those versions were a big step forward in the vein of Flashback and Prince of Persia. Those that have played the earlier renditions certainly haven't played 'em like this.
For starters, you get a whole new multilevel region to shoot and puzzle your way through. With the addition of the Snow World, Blackthome now has a total of 21 huge levels. Sega has made all the characters—including Kyle Blackthome, his friends, and enemies—much less cartoony by fully rendering them as three-dimen-sional sprites. Their realistic movements and actions are as impressive looking as they are technically spectacular. The programmers have made major graphical revisions to each of the levels (up to the capabilities of the Genesis 32X), from the backgrounds to the objects along Kyle's path. The Tree World now looks like a vast old-growth forest. This version features an astounding 32,000-color palette. The music and sound effects make fine use of the Genesis 32X's outstanding sound capabilities. You'll marvel at the enemy's laughter when you take a hit and at the click-click of a shell slotting into your shotgun's chamber. Did we mention gore? You now spray the walls with gray matter and vital fluids when you get close enough for a head shot. Joy.
The game play itself is peerless. You'll come darned close to losing your mind while searching out the items that get you through each of the mazes. Look for levitation units to get you to higher regions, bridge keys to create energy crossings, hover bombs to open locked entryways, better blunderbusses, guided explosives called wasps to take out power plants, and liquid energy potion from the seer Scout out tons of hidden areas, switches, and keys while you blast, run, and leap through each deadly region. You'll rely heavily on the password save—Kyle gives up the ghost regularly. Blackthome's a keeper. It's a serious kick in the pants.
- It's worth risking life and limb to drop into crevasses to search for items.
- Check the walls for openings. You'll find only a few of them, but they're worth the search.
- Don't bother to be miserly with the items in your inventory. You can't take them with you to the next level.
- Search behind waterfalls for doorways.
- To take out the purple enemies, crouch and roll into their vicinity, shoot a couple of times, then roll back out and do it again.
- Use your friends as shields.
- It's not nice to kill your pals, but there's no penalty. Be aware that some of them shoot back.