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Once known as Los Angeles, the city of Meggagrid is the result of politics that didn't return what was expected of it. By suppressing all forms of taxes with the sole goal to boost the economy, large corporations emerged and prospered in this financial paradise. Without the funds that were no longer collected, the state slowly became unable to sustain its most basic structures such as prisons, hospitals and courts. In this context, jail sentences were limited to a maximum of two weeks which evidently encouraged more criminal activity. The suppression of environmental laws also caused a major problem with a massive pollution increase that created a toxic environment over the city.
Despite Dr. Franz Grubber's efforts to develop an aerial anti-terrorist team equipped with HeliPak Flight Suits, City Hall corrupted by the league of criminals, stopped funding his research. Then, two weeks later Dr. Grubber's lab was destroyed leaving the scientist in a wheel chair. Only one person now can save the city, and Dr. Grubber has chosen you to get rid of these criminals. Since his lab's bombing, Dr. Grubber perfected the prototype of his HeliPak and it is now ready with a full range of weapons.
Bladeforce's introduction shows you the six most dangerous criminals you must capture. Graphic animations are among the best I've seen on the 3DO platform with full screen 3D rendered graphics for the introduction and during the game. Bladeforce features the fastest 3D engine I have ever played on this console, and you really feel a sensation of being there when playing. Using the D-PAD or the CH FlightStick, you can fly in all directions as long as you don't bump into an obstacle. If you don't like the default setup for the D-Pad and the joystick, the options will offer you different possible configurations. Besides the basic maneuvers (turn left & right, move up and down), the shift buttons will slide you to the left or right depending on which button you pressed.
The screen features a radar display, a score display and the main view. The radar display informs you about the presence of various enemies, their strength, and the number of lives that you have left. The score shows you your state of health, the amount of fuel available, your weapons charge, the special weapon currently in use, and your current score. The two displays can be changed in the option menu as it was possible for the controllers.
The city is made of a large array of blocks, walls, metallic arcades, etc... heavily guarded by a large amount of defenses. Most of them are static such as the turrets and the bunkers, but you will also encounter other enemies called the flyers. They have limited movement though, but avoid touching them at all cost because they will inflict you with heavy damage. They usually have a weak point that you must shoot at, and since they rotate while moving up and down, the difficulty comes from maintaining the correct position for aiming your weapon.
The static defenses usually protect special items called power-ups and sources. Two kinds of power-ups exist: the regular and the special. The regular contains health and fuel power-ups. The health cube will heal your wounds so that you stay alive, while the fuel packs are necessary to keep flying. There is even a special fuel pack that will give you a faster speed for a limited time only. With the different special power-ups, you will be invulnerable to shocks, resist enemy fire or gain an extra-life sometimes which is quite welcomed as you start the game with only five lifes. Sources are items that make the enemy weaker, slower and easy to destroy, but they are always surrounded by heavy weaponry.
The Underground has left many Charger-Paks throughout the various levels to help you fight the criminals. These chargers (between 100 and 200 per level) will help your weapons to recharge faster and will increase their firing rate as well. It is essential for your survival to collect them as much as you can, especially when you are going to meet the Boss's level. You can also find a Pulse Gun power-up which adds the number of shots fired at a time (to a maximum of three).
The special weapons include bombs and power projectiles. The bombs, similar to the destructive effect of a grenade, are of two different sorts: the Shrapnel and the Power bombs. The first one explodes into multiple smaller charges and the second is more powerful, but uses a greater amount of energy. Finally the projectiles look like bombs, but as they have a propulsion system they can be considered as missiles.
Bladeforce has 6 different missions plus a training mission in which you will familiarize yourself with the environment. Each mission will consist in capturing one of the six super-criminals and throwing him or her in prison. The missions however are not easy at all to complete because of the size of levels, and even with the map that you can activate at all times, you will sometimes lose yourself within them.
Bladeforce is a difficult game where only the best shooters will succeed at saving the City of Meggagrid. I found the game to be extremely challenging, and it may be too much for those who are not shootem-up enthusiasts.
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