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Power Blade (NES) artwork

Power Blade (NES) review


"Beyond here, you'll take the Schwarzenegger-type avatar and pull him through a series of platform areas filled with cybernetic enemies with varying attack patterns, ranging from airborne robots to giant, bearded faces attached to walls that spit bubbles. Yes, such an enemy exists. And this is all done with the aid of a... boomerang?"



With the success of the Mega Man titles, there were bound to be similar games to follow in their wave, and sure enough, the Taito-published Power Blade was one of them. Snatching some elements from the MMs, Power Blade also tries new things in an attempt to separate itself from said releases, forming its own identity. The most noticeable borrowed aspect is the ability to select any stage in any order, hell, the selection screen is even familiar, with the stage areas placed in a boxed formation as the final, locked level sits in the middle. Beyond here, you'll take the Schwarzenegger-type avatar and pull him through a series of platform areas filled with cybernetic enemies with varying attack patterns, ranging from airborne robots to giant, bearded faces attached to walls that spit bubbles. Yes, such an enemy exists. And this is all done with the aid of a... boomerang?

At this point is when Power Blade carves its own path from the games it drew inspiration from. Unlike Mega Man, you can't capture unique powers from fallen bosses, instead having to beef up your character with items randomly dropped by normal foes. In no time, you'll have a man with the skill to swing multiple, powerful boomerangs at long distances, who also acquires devastating bombs that can damage all on screen. If you look around enough, you can even discover Metal Suits, its best and only usage being that of harnessing the Power Blade, a projectile attack that goes through surfaces and damage enemies on the opposite side.

If the main character, Nova, sounds like a really strong person, it's because he is, and there lies the game's most glaring issue: your guy is so tough, nearly all enemies in Power Blade are beneath him. Adding insult to injury, you can even attack in eight different directions. The reason Mega Man and similar titles are fun challenges is because of their character's limited attack maneuverability, making most typical baddies equal in battle, meaning you have to put in actual thought and skill when fighting. Power Blade makes the protagonist a bully in comparison. If developers are going to make flexible characters, they could at least structure the rest of the game to accommodate this.

Not only does this make the game easy and repetitive, but also really short. Having played through Power Blade recently since the last time two decades ago, I had next to no problems breezing by enemies and bosses in just under one hour, only dying three times. The funny thing about that, too, is how the bad dudes had no part in those deaths, they were all platform fails. I guess the development team was banking on the included mini fetch quest to add a layer of depth to this game. It doesn't, since the locations of the I.D. cards needed to open rooms to the boss fights are easy to find. Would've been better if the levels were larger, or if reaching them were a challenge thanks to tougher ene... But like the rest of Power Blade that tried different things from the MMs, it was a nice idea that lacked good execution.

Rating: 5/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (January 11, 2012)

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