People are too quick to play the rip-off card in my book. After all, the superhero that this SNES title derives from, Superman, was himself created by way of borrowing from numerous other sources, particularly Jesus Christ and Hercules. But when it’s clearly for lack of anything you can dream up it becomes a problem.
Case in point, Sonic Blast Man. It’s basically a half-assed beat-’em-up that tries to make use of the Man of Steel to cover up its own inadequacy.
Plot: 2 out of 10
This game is about Sonic Blast Man, a superhero from the planet Sonic Blast. As stated, just a dumbed-down Superman game. But it gets worse than that before you even start playing with quite possibly the stupidest opening sequence of all time:
In case you don’t want to watch or it gets taken down, the cutscene that follows the title screen is of Sonic Blast Man saving a woman tied to railroad tracks by destroying the incoming train and killing all aboard with one punch. Homeland Security, I’d like to report a dangerous terrorist on the loose.
Truth be known, we have our generic superhero plot with faceless villains after this. That would merit a four out of ten, but not with how the idiotic introductory cutscene above sets the tone.
Graphics: 8 out of 10
I said before that this game deserves just a little credit. For a Superman clone, it gets the colorful, comic-like look right. And I must admit that everything looks great in a more general sense. Alas, we just might have the original test case on how graphics alone don’t make the game.
Sound: 4 out of 10
Competent but lazy. That’s my view of the music and sound effects, including the one voice-over (anyone who blames the time period should listen to the voice acting in Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat). While the sounds aren’t particularly bad, no energy seems to have been put into them.
Gameplay: 2 out of 10
In theory, this is your generic 2D beat-’em-up. The only real twist is Sonic Blast Man’s 100 Megaton Punch. He punches the ground, killing all foes (except bosses, who this still partially damages) on the screen. You have a limited number of these, so use them sparingly.
The problem is that Sonic Blast Man moves extremely slowly. Much slower than the enemies in fact. Additionally, his jumps keep him in the air too long, making jump kicks easily countered. This limits you to a ground game that is already quite slow.
All said, there are not really any glitches in the gameplay, but Sonic Blast Man’s slow speed and clumsy jumping make him extremely difficult to handle effectively. For a Superman knock-off, whatever happened to “faster than a speeding bullet” and “able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.”
Challenge: 3 out of 10
In the beginning you’ll find this game quite hard because the enemies are faster than you. Once you adapt to Sonic Blast Man’s speed, or more accurately, make the best of a bad situation, the game gets much easier. Yep, we’ve got one of those games whose difficulty thrives on bad gameplay that we’ve come to know and “love.”
Overall: 3 out of 10
Like I said, I can deal with the ripping off Superman. The obvious lack of work on anything but graphics is another story. Sonic Blast Man is a bad game that does very little right. Again, the graphics are quite good, but that is not a good enough reason to play this game. This game actually got a little-known sequel and that sequel was actually competent. Another review, another day!