November 30, 1999
|30/11/1999||Activision||Climax Graphics||1||MA 15+||$89.95|
|VMU Game||Difficulty||Save Size||Vibration||60Hz||PAL Border|
Blue Stinger. It's not hard to imagine where Climax Graphics got inspiration for this game, Capcom's legendary Resident Evil series. There was a lot of hype surroundng Blue Stinger in the lead up to its release in March this year. But the game suffered from terrible camera angles and received poor reviews from the press. Thankfully, Activision decided to bring the title to Australia and also fix up many problems found in the Japanese version which included a total re-write of the graphics engine.
Set on the mysterious Dinosaur Island, the game begins when Eliot Ballade is caught up in a mysterious meteorite explosion. Soon after the explosion Eliot jumps into the water from his boat when he is attacked by several flying creatures. Eliot soon finds himself washed up on the shore of Dinosaur Island where he soon meets Dogs Bower, a heavy weapons specialist. Together you decide to unlock the secrets on Dinosaur Island and search for survivors of the meteorite crash. So begins the quest to unravel the mystery.
Graphically, Blue Stinger is very good. I was a little worried the first time I watched the intro sequence as it is quite jerky in parts. But it soon becomes apparent just how much effort has gone into the graphics. The textures are very clear and there is a wide variety of areas to explore. Special mention must be made of the superb enemies in the game (see left). The design and animation of these creatures is nothing short of amazing and puts Resident Evil to shame. It is possible to break off the enemies limbs during fights which reduces their attacking ability. Of course as you break off their limbs blood comes gushing out in all directions. It's no wonder this game got a MA 15+ rating here in Australia.
But there is still a major problem with the game. The camera angles. While the US/PAL version is now viewed from behind the character rather then fixed camera's in the Japanese version another problem has reared it's ugly head. In small rooms or tight corridors your view is severely restricted with the camera often looking straight down to the top of your head. It would have been great if Activision had mixed the two camera styles to suit the areas which you are exploring. While it's annoying at times the camera angles are the only major problem in the game and if you've played Super Mario 64 you will be able to cope with Blue Stinger.
The music in Blue Stinger can only be described as brilliant. The game has a very atmospheric soundtrack whichadds a huge amount to the overall feel of the game. The music when you come accross a boss in the game is among the best ever. But if there is one small niggle with the sound in the game, it's the voice acting. The voices sound like they were recorded by some kids with only one take attempted. This is a shame because one minute your character is (literally) swearing and the next minute they are talking like they belong in a cartoon. The other minor problem, and i'm really nitpicking here, is the poor lip synching. In several spots in the game the characters lips are moving and yet, they aren't even saying a word. It must be said though that the music more then makes up for any minor speech problems.
Blue Stinger, even with it's problems, is still one of the better launch titles. As a first generation title this is an amazing feat and until Resident Evil : Code Veronica comes out next year this should be the top action/adventure games available on the Dreamcast. Go buy it now.