GBAtemp Recommends! Blackthorne G.R. Issue #28 (GBA) Its been too long old chum. Welcome back to GBAtemp Recommends! Our popular weekly magazine feature in which we recommend classic Game Boy Advance titles big and small! GBAtemp Recommends! Blackthorne This title was originally developed by Blizzard and was released for the Super Nintendo, PC, Mac, Sega 32X. It was ported to the GBA by Mass Media who also handled the GBA ports of two other Blizzard titles, The Lost Vikings & Rock 'n Roll Racing. You play Kyle Vlaros aka Blackthorne and you make your way through seventeen levels which vary from dark caverns to lush forests. The gameplay is very similar to such games like Flashback & Prince of Persia in that its not a straight forward linear action game, there is a little backtracking to be made but not as much as games like Castlevania or Metroid. Your character carries bombs and a shot gun around with them but at times you have to holster your weapon so you can climb platforms and ledges. The levels are maze like in construction and you'll need to find certain keys to progress a lot of the time. At times you'll need to ride lifts to reach higher or lower places and also there are a lot of puzzles that stop you in your tracks. The puzzles aren't contrived or stupid and they actually make sense in their surroundings. There are checkpoints around the levels that allow you to save so when you get shot, you don't have to start a level all over again. Unlike the older versions, the GBA one lets you save instead of having to enter passwords. Combat most of the time is done in form of gunfights. While sometimes you can creep up on someone and just shoot them, other times you'll need to duck and prone the wall to avoid bullets. You'll need to be able to have a decent sense of timing to get through these. Some of the baddies if you stand too close to them will actually kick you to force you to the ground which also gives them more time to get a shot in. Another great thing of the game that wasn't seem before is the ability to shoot blindly behind your character without him turning. There isn't really much reason to do this but it does add a certain sense of "bad arsery" to the character. It is a fairly violent game, enemies bleed a ton of blood when shot and so do the prisoners who you are fighting for. The prisoners can be killed by yourself, not something that you have seen often (or at all) back on the SNES and while there is no reason to kill the prisoners, there is no reason not to. You have infinite shotgun bullets, their moaning can be irritating and it looks cool when you shoot them. Due to these elements in the game I'm surprised the game got a "Teen" rating rather than a "Mature". During the course of the game you character becomes stronger but then, so do the enemies. This makes the difficulty very fair and gives a great learning curve. Looks wise, it has a great old school style to it and pretty much represents the art of Blizzard very well. While nowhere near the best that the GBA has seen, there is a lot of detail there and the characters are well animated. The dark look really captures the tone of the story in the original game but for the GBA the colours can look over saturated and too bright at times but it still doesn't effect the tone.. The sound isn't anything to write home about and to be honest it wasn't back in the SNES days either. The music is really disappointing for a Blizzard title. Overall its a great old school title that requires though, timing and patience. If you're someone who likes their game to be quick paced then its probably best to give this title a miss. Its a shame that Blizzard no longer release NEW IP's anymore, and its also a shame that they haven't done an action games for years.