The Timeline

How old was Jason supposed to be for the events of the first game?

In the actual game and the Worlds of Power novel, Jason was a teenager. Exactly how old, I don't know, but I'll put him at 15. But in Blasting Again when Eve explains to Roddy how she came to Earth and met Jason, the implication is that they were both adults. Being a teenager also doesn't work with Roddy and Elfie's ages. Even if you think Elfie was adopted, which I'll discuss in a minute, Jason would still have to get Eve pregnant with Roddy when he was 17 or 18, which is a little young. But my rule of continuity errors is what's better takes precedence (hence why I'll accept the book's story as canon over the game's; yeah, it's kind of cheesy, but it has some awesome parts and it's oodles better than whatever the hell Sunsoft was doing), and if they're fairly equal then the older one does. Blaster Master wins by both accounts, and even the Enemy Below manual mentions Jason "emerging from his many battles both a warrior of legendary proportions and a battle-weary man," which I guess could be read a couple different ways but I read it as him growing up during the course of the games and emerging a man. There's also something I find deliciously eerie about Roddy being the same age his father was during his first adventure.

I won't accept Jason as an adult for the first game, but I guess I can see why that mistake happened; the Japanese developers might not have known any of this. The two Meta Fights have a completely different plot, and as far as somebody in Japan is concerned their "Blaster Master" is the only one. Jason as an adult doesn't conflict with anything over there. But the localization team should have fixed that and we still have another question that would be present in the Japanese version: Was Elfie adopted?

I say she was Jason and Eve's offspring, but the same barmy writing and dating that buggered up Jason's age raises this question too. Blasting Again (supposedly) takes place 18 years after the events of the first game, but 18 is also how old she is. This is another thing that points to Jason as an adult for the first game, because otherwise Jason would have had to get Eve pregnant with her when he was fifteen, which does not sit well with me. For Jason as an adult, well, it's possible she was the result of Jason and Eve's "victory celebration" after they beat the Plutonium Boss, and Blasting Again actually takes place 18 years and 10 months after the first game. But when she spills her guts to Roddy that her fuckup cost Jason his life (see below), she mentions "since I was taken in." And finally, Eve tells Roddy he has the same blood as the Kaiser, but she never mentions Elfie's blood.

However, about 2/3 of the way through the game the Kaiser mistakes her for Eve and sends some giant flies to capture her. How did that happen? Elfie has brown hair, while Eve is blonde, not to mention very dead. Well, that chicken-legged boss was able to sense Roddy having the blood of the Kaiser, so I'd say the Kaiser got wind of Elfie, sense her blood and decided, hey, it's Eve! But most of all...

...she totally looks like Jason and Eve.

On a side note, is it just me, or does Eve look like some generic, well-endowed anime girl got mixed in with the character sheets?

As for what she meant by being taken in, I think she meant when Eve first brought her into the computer room, not into the family, and since Elfie isn't around maybe Eve just didn't feel it necessary to mention her blood.

Whoever established the timeline for Blasting Again needs to be yelled at. All they had to do to fix these problems was increase the amount of time between Blasting Again and the first game from 18 years to, say, 24. That would have given Jason time to grow up, him and Eve time to get to know each other before they got horizontal, and Elfie time to be born. Why did they choose 18 years, anyway? It's not as if Blasting Again was released 18 years after the first game (on an interesting side note, according to Blasting Again, the first game took place the year Blasting Again was released. Barmy!) Maybe they wanted Jason's other three adventures to occur during Roddy's lifespan, but I find that to be a pretty weak justification especially when Roddy would have only been one year old for Blaster Master 2.

So, if Blasting Again wants to make stupid rewrites and retcons willy-nilly, then I'm going to believe that it takes place later than it says it does. And if you want to tell me "But you can't do that! Blasting Again CLEARLY states it takes place 18 years after the first game", then you completely missed the point of this rant, not to mention Blasting Again also expects me to believe Eve spent all those years with Jason and still struggled with English and apparently passed her at-best loose grasp on English onto her kids, that Jason could stand to live with somebody who sounded like she did and would make no attempt to teach his kids proper English, and that the area entrances are actually warps to distant planets far into the past and future (Seriously, check page 13 of the manual, although I don't think even the game itself believes that, since chicken-legs mentions how it's only a matter of time before 'this planet' is destroyed, presumably referring to Earth). And George Lucas has given me good practice in writing my own canons, though it is somewhat harder to go through several sources and put together what works best than it is to simply say "the Special Editions and prequel trilogy didn't happen".

The Story

Another reason I don't take Elfie's "since I was taken in" line to mean anything is that the dialogue in this game makes no fucking sense. I understand the other games' plots weren't exactly the work of Tolstoy, but there's a big different between "silly" and "retarded". Blasting Again is not only utterly incoherent, it tries to be darker and more serious than its predecessors what with the dead parents subplot and all, and that it expects you to take its horrendous writing and dodgy voice acting seriously just makes it into a far bigger joke than the runaway frog.

The game takes its first tumble right out of the gate. In the opening movie, Elfie tells Roddy that they're only doing a recon mission, so "no nonsense".


But after you beat the first boss, Roddy can't figure out what it is, and both he and Elfie are shocked that ZOMG! it was a lightning being! Even though the rest of the cave was full of them!

Question: what the hell was Jason doing when he got killed? Why are Roddy and Elfie so surprised to see the lightning beings Jason failed to clean out last time? And if he died before destroying the lightning beings' current attack, why did Roddy and Elfie wait a few years to finish what he started? Did the lightning beings decide they could take a break after they took out their main resistance? Or was he killed trying to escape after taking out the heart of the lightning beings' fifth attack, when the remainders were in their "If we go down, we're taking you with us" mode?

I guess now's as good a time as any to mention the prerendered cinematics. Back in 2002 I thought they were the bee's knees. These things did *not* age well, and have since taken up residence in the uncanny valley somewhere between "hideous" and "the stuff of nightmares". Everyone looks and animates like rubber puppets, Roddy's anorexic and creepily bug-eyed, and there's one moment in the temper tantrum cinema when Roddy tilts his head downward so you can see his mouth through the visor, and that it isn't moving while he's talking (though it is moving later during one of the Kaiser cinemas, and manages to be even creepier). Although as dated as these movies are, the Kaiser's intro cutscene is still pretty gross.

Back to how Blasting Again's dialogue is weird and all over the place. Take the cutscene after you beat the first boss:

Elfie: I can't believe you weren't hurt! How could you survive?
Roddy: Well, what can I say? Depiste that I only had minimal equipment.
Elfie: Listen, Roddy. Father wouldn't have argued like that!
Roddy: I understand.
Me: He's not arguing, he's being cocky!

And the intro movie to the chicken-legs boss fight:

Chicken-Legs: Intruder, you have the same blood as Kaiser.
Roddy: What?
Chicken-Legs: Why do we have to be enemies?
Roddy: What are you talking about?
Chicken-Legs: This world will be destroyed in a matter of time. What good is your futile resistance? It's not to late. To repent!
Roddy: YOU!
Elfie: Don't do it Roddy!
Me: Don't do what? Kick chicken-legs' ass?
Roddy: BUT YOU!
Me: "But you" who? Chicken-legs, or Elfie?
Elfie: Don't listen to him! He's our father's enemy!
Roddy: !!

This game makes me feel like a Breath of Fire 2 Cat. SOPHIA turns people evil? Roddy's alien half makes him more susceptible to evil intentions? What? Where's this shit coming from?

I'm only going to look at one more cutscene, which has so many problems it deserves its own section, but let me touch on one last thing before I move on. At the last minute, the game tries to give the Kaiser some depth by making him one of those "I will protect the world by destroying it!" deals. That's a stupid plot twist, and always will be.

Elfie's Confession

Things about this cinema that bug me, besides the obvious "Roddy and Elfie are horrifying rubber puppets" and "since I was taken in" which I already talked about:

1. This comes completely out of nowhere. It's like Elfie read the script, knew she was going to get captured by a giant fly in about three minutes and the last thing she was going to get to say before the ending was "AAIIIEEEE!!!" and decided to spill her guts now or forever hold her peace.

2. You wouldn't be able to tell this from the movie alone, but you can't turn back. When you enter the room you need to use the Boost in, the door you came in locks behind you, and exiting through the other door triggers this cutscene. Elfie even phones in (automatically, even) to tell you that you can't open the door from the side you're on.

3. What the hell does "you might become depressed" mean?

4. What is Roddy doing from :36 to :38? He's moving like he's supposed to be talking, but isn't.

5. I just think it's funny that Roddy gets on Elfie for "whining like that" when he's going to be the one throwing a hissy fit before long.

6. "That's not going to happen" can have several different meanings depending on the inflection. Roddy could be trying to comfort Elfie ("You made a mistake, you're not going to repeat it, sis."), he could be showing determination ("I'm going to make sure that doesn't happen. For father, for you, and for the fate of this planet!"), or he could be condescending Jason ("You think I'm going to end up compost like dad? What's wrong with you!"). Okay, we know Roddy has nothing but respect for his father, so we can omit the last one, and I think it's supposed to be the second one, but Christian Storms delivers the line so flat it's hard to tell what he really meant.

7. Note how Elfie's still crying with her head on the console when it fades to black. Pause the game right after the cinema is finished and...

... my, wasn't that a speedy recovery.

8. I'm really not sure how I feel about the "Jason went up against monster frogs and crabs and laser-whip weilding knights and fire-breathing pumas and death masks and a self-replicating ameoba and even took on an army of clones of himself, and died because his kid didn't make the tank retreat" thing.

9. I'm also really not sure how Roddy would have missed that Elfie was navigating for Jason when he fell into the trap.

Dropped Balls

I've mentioned before my mixed feelings on Jason's role in Blasting Again; part of me found it massively frustrating that he didn't appear ending alongside Eve when she was saying her farewells to Roddy and Elfie. Another other part of me is glad he was spared the embarassment of this game's voice acting and dialogue and creepy PSX-era model rendering. Yet another part of me... well, I'll get to that in a bit. But I still think he could have had a better visual role. A wave, or a thumb's up, or some other gesture in said cutscene would have been fine. Or if showing up as an apparition would have been too corny (although I kind of think we crossed that line around the time Eve's ghost showed up) or as a horrifying rubber marionette would have been a fate worse than death, how appealingly fucked up would it have been if you could have actually found where Jason died, and his skeleton still in the suit or something, and fought that worm-thing from the intro that killed him?

But Blasting Again dropped the ball even harder on the whole Roddy being half-alien thing. First of all, this big reveal loses a lot of its punch because while it may be news to Roddy, the player already knows. You don't even have to have read the Worlds of Power novel to know his mother was an alien, it's given away on the back back insert and in the manual. Maybe Sunsoft just assumed everyone had read the novel, but that'd still be like if the Final Fantasy 7 packaging told you right upfront that Aeris dies. And while Roddy wasn't half lightning being, let's think about how he comes to learn this; he sees the design on his mother's pendant on the walls of the lightning beings' nest. He's told by chicken legs that he has the blood of the Kaiser, and that there's no reason they need to be enemies. His own mother comes back from the dead and tells him he has the same blood as the commander of the lightning beings, and he gives it all a "what're ya gonna do" and continues his business, even after he sees the Kaiser.

Y'know, if I found out I was half the same species as a 30-story pulsating monstrosity that looked like the bastard offspring of a Final Fantasy: Spirits Within phantom and mutant-blob Tetsuo, I'd be pretty damn creeped out, but I guess having a human father was enough for him to not be bothered by it. Though I don't know, Signar-Elians are still pretty much humans, and given the other abominations running around all the games, we can assume that when the Kaiser stole the Boss' powers and gained control of the lightning beings he was also probably horribly (horribly) mutated by them and the same would have happened if the Kaiser were a human. But we're not given any sign this stuff crossed Roddy's mind. It seemed like they were going for a twist in which Roddy fears he's one of the monsters his father spent and eventually lost his life fighting, but finds relief as he learns more about his family history, what having the same blood as the Kaiser really means, and that there's no way his father couldn't have known what he was, but just as they were about to hit it somebody on the writing staff remembered they were writing the plot for a fucking Blaster Master game, wherein a kid jumps down a hole after his pet frog and finds a tank instead of breaking his spine, and pulled back. I understand that the writing could be on the level of Vagrant Story and it would still be struggling to overcome that stigma, but that doesn't mean you can't try. Hell, the novel right-out included Fred and spun some interesting threads with him. Blasting Again had the ingredients but lost the recipe card, and we're left with clunky, half-baked exposition that leaves the player thinking "where's this going and why should I care?"

Jason knew how to shut up, dude. Seriously, not counting printed material, he said one damn thing all four of his games.

Oh, I don't have anything against you personally, Roddy. I can't stand your sister, your prerendered cinematics model scares the bejeezus out of me, and I find the attention given to your bum rather distracting on the loading screen, but you're clearly a sweet, well-meaning kid who just got stuck with a crappy script and an irritating sibling.

But having grown up with Blaster Master, Jason is one of my video game heroes, up there with Ladd Spencer, Luigi, Leon Kennedy, and that first lemming to fall out of the trap door in "Just Dig!" and my, that's a lot of L's. Seriously, I hold him in higher regard than freaking Mario, but he's dead and that makes me sad, which might sound strange considering how much I enjoy his death animation in Blaster Master 2, but shut up. It's bloody weird to go through the previous Blaster Masters knowing that. And then they didn't even bother to do what they could have with Roddy, which leaves me wondering what Jason had to die for, other than to create cheesy melodrama and have somebody else to humiliate with bad voice acting and horrifying rubber-puppet rendering (well, yeah, he shows up very briefly as one in the opening cinema, but you can barely tell what the fuck is going on other than that somebody at Sunsoft clearly has a giant hand fetish). So maybe I should feel sorry for Roddy, who as well as taking that bullet for his father, ends up getting the brunt of my comtempt for his fate.

Now, that third part of me I mentioned? Because of how different Blasting Again is from the other games what with adult Jason, Eve navigating for him on all his previous missions instead of him going alone, the radioactive mutants being changed into mechanical/bionic aliens, and the overall darker tone, that part of me actually wants to make Blasting Again into another Bionic Commando-like case of similar elements but different canon, and that the Jason from this game is a different individual from the Jason of the other Blaster Masters, who's still alive, just like the Super Joe of old is not the Super Joe who went around, turning people's loved ones into bionic parts and eventually getting his head bashed in.

The Actual Game

I said in my Overdrive review that, while I remembered Blasting Again's plot reasonably well, I couldn't remember a whole lot of the actual game. Yeah, I remembered bits and pieces, and constant prodding did awaken more moments, but they were all vague. For example, I remembered there was a rail shooter boss, but I couldn't remember a ding-blasted about the actual fight, like its attacks or anything. Hell, I couldn't even remember what the boss looked like, and kept picturing the attack carrier from Star Fox. Other moments I only remembered because something significant was tied to them, like this one random staircase in the ice area I was hopping up when I realized what the J7 in "SOPHIA J7" meant. At first I thought this was because when I first played it back in late 2001/early 2002, I didn't have a Playstation of my own had to use the PS2 my brother got for Christmas, and he only let me use the thing for three hours a week. Blasting Again isn't a particularly long game, only eight to ten hours depending on how much searching you feel like doing for weapon stock upgrades, but that was still frustrating.

Training lessons for Overdrive.
Then a few years down the line he got his own copy of the game and played it, and expected me to have any interest in discussing the game with him. Go figure. I just told him I didn't remember shit about the game, which was kind of true.

That might have been part of it, but the game itself is just not that remarkable. In trying to be darker, Blasting Again just ends up being mundane and boring. The plant-overgrown cave-technology mishmashes are actually quite nice, but the rest of the environments are a cave-technology mishmash, another cave-technology mishmash, a flooded cave-technology mishmash, and a lava cave-technology mishmash. And aside from some color changes to the rocks, the cave and technology parts are all identical in all areas. The birds and lizards you occasionally stir up start out a nice touch, but by the end I wasn't even noticing them. The Roddy dungeons are even more repetetive. Seriously, each one uses the same textures, hazards, enemies, and even rooms. Some have lava, some have acid, one freezes over when you activate a generator, and another has a timed escape, but by and far they all look and play the same and I swear you could make a drinking game out of visits to the room with that console you blow up to disable electric barriers. Say what you want about the risks and eventual result of Jason's lifestyle, at least he got some wonderful sightseeing out of it, what with the medieval castles and Atlantean ruins and alien innards and whatnot. Even Blaster Master 2 had giant bee hives, marlin statue filled crypts, and that creepy-ass swamp level along with caves and ruins, and even those had more personality than anything in Blasting Again. The best I can say of Blasting Again's environments is that they're still more varied and inspired than Overdrive's "What's your favorite level? The gray cave, the bluish-gray cave, or the brown cave?"


Don't get me wrong, the game itself isn't bad, it's just not likely to be blowing any minds and the repetetive environments don't help. Playing as SOPHIA is also rather annoying. The camera is always too high when you're trying to see into the distance and too low when you're trying to jump down to a lower platform and cannot be adjusted, and she controls like a busted shopping cart. Even at the end of the game I was still fumbling around with the controls and driving against walls. Bosses range from insipid (the ricocheting orb turtle) to incoherent (chicken-legs) to WOULD YOU DIE ALREADY! (the bat), and most of them don't even look like anything. Also, many bosses have multiple life meters for different parts of the boss you can destroy, but there's no indication of what the meters go to, and bosses often die when a random one in the middle is emptied, leading to some major "Wait, wut?" moments. I also distinctly remember the Kaiser kicking my ass six ways from Saturday back in 2002 on Easy, but this time I went through on Normal, only remembering two of his attacks (when he lobs a generic fireball at you, and he forms the crystals around you to block your attacks), and beat him on my second try, which left me thinking "Wow, that was it?" You'd also think the fight with the Kaiser would be a change of scenery, with how grotesque the movies involving him are.

No, you fight him on a nondescript cave floor with a spacey background like the first and fifth bosses had. Sheesh, lame as Overdrive's final boss was, at least it got a unique room for the fight.

The two most noteworthy bosses in the game are the cube boss and the rail shooter boss. The latter makes the first impression of "HOLY SHIT, I'M FLYING, THIS IS LIKE STAR FOX!" and then you realize the controls kind of stink, most of the fight is spent flying around the screen in a circle, and it's hard to keep track of SOPHIA over all the crap the boss is flinging at you. The former would be completely forgettable if it were a brand new boss instead of a bastardization of a classic.

Remember when this was one of the fastest, most hectic Blaster Master bosses? I sure do.

And take note of the pendant cutscene that plays afterward. I'll get back to that.

Elfie is annoying. Didn't Sunsoft notice how much everyone hated Alia in Mega Man X5, or Navi in Ocarina of Time? You could probably go through the entire game without ever answering her, even on your first play, except sometimes the she pops up automatically. At best she's merely unhelpful ("You can't go through there until you deactivate the barrier!" "NO SHIT!"). Most of the time she's a nuisance, nagging at you that you can't take SOPHIA through a dungeon you were just driving past, and completely throwing you out of the game as you're just getting into it when out of nowhere comes "RODDY? RODDY?" just to tell you something you've already noticed like "They're putting traps out!" And a couple of times she right-out interferes with you, either popping up automatically when you're in the middle of a crucial jump, or handing out bad advice. In the third area you have to drive around activating these crystals to open up the entrance to the boss' dungeon, and one of them is in a room with these three really strong gundam-like enemies. When you drive in there she phones in and tells you you're in serious trouble and to get the hell out. I remember back when I first played this game driving around for about a freaking hour trying to figure out what the hell I was supposed to do, which would have been bad enough without the situation I had with the system. There is an alternate way into that room via going down the waterfall, but you can also just plow through, jump around to avoid the gundams, activate the crystal, and get out. One of the nice things about Eve taking over is that she generally leaves you the hell alone, and phones in with a much less intrusive bleeping noise.

This fight is every bit as comprehensible as this screenshot.
It occured to me one day before my replay that all I remembered of the soundtrack was a few notes of the hub area music (which is a remix of the Area 1 theme from the first game), and that somewhere I had heard part of the original Area 2 song mixed in. That's because just about everything else is elevator music. The handful that aren't are still completely forgettable, and the ending credits starts out sounding like either Area 3 or the ending from the original game, then descends into complete noise.

I understand that around this time Sunsoft was having some problems and there was talk about this game never getting a release outside Japan, but nothing says "We're out of ideas" more effectively than a boss rehash. Blasting Again is the first and currently only Blaster Master to have one. Other Blaster Masters have reused bosses, usually beefing them up, but this is a full-fledged "make you fight all the previous bosses, exactly as they were, for no damn reason". This particular boss rehash is even worse than usual because it also leaves the player wondering what the point of the rest of the game was. As you defeat the bosses again, the crystals guarding the Kaiser shatter, but shouldn't those have been shattering while you were beating the bosses the first time around? What are you doing for the first eight hours of the game, exactly? You're not getting SOPHIA's powerups from the bosses like in the other games, Elfie sends them to you as she finishes working on them. Fuck that "recon mission" shit, they already knew the Lightning Beings were back, so it's like Roddy was just having some risky fun because he got sick of waiting for Elfie to finish the parts.

Miscellaneous Questions, Observations, and Trivia

When Jason died I assume he'd taken SOPHIA down the same pit Roddy drives down at the beginning of the game. Given that Roddy is a lot smaller than Jason was we can assume he's using a spare suit or SOPHIA can conjure up new ones, but how did they get SOPHIA back?

The back insert says that if the lightning beings aren't stopped, they'll hollow out the earth so its empty shell collapses on itself. Uh, I think somebody failed Geology 101.

So, according to the Enemy Below manual, Jason was "a warrior of legendary proportions", but when he dies all he gets is a chinsy wooden cross out in the middle of nowhere?

Roddy mentions how after Jason died and because Eve was already dead, he and Elfie had to fend for themselves. Really, Jason had no friends or relatives who could take them in? Not even Alex?

Going back to that pendant cutscene after the cube boss, how did Roddy get the pendant off? He doesn't take his helmet off and pull it off over his head, he doesn't untie it, he just pulls the thing right off his neck. And he doesn't even yank it, just casually removes it. If you're as active as he has to be in combat, you probably wouldn't want to be tying knots that come open with a light pull.

When you enter the room in the Lava area that you need the hover to get into the second part of, Roddy stops to ask "What made these tracks? These are huge!" Well, what made them? The game never tells you.


What happened to all the other Signar-Elians who chased the Plutonium Boss to Earth with Eve and Kaiser? And their SOPHIAs? Did they pack up and leave out of embarrassment that their entire species couldn't do what one human in the same gear could? Where would they have gone? Signar-El was nuked. Jeez, the novel's version in which Eve was the only survivor because she was on Earth when the Boss went Lavos on her planet, and the Boss got the coordinates to Earth from her made a HELL of a lot more sense than what goes on here. Hell, maybe it could have happened like that, then years later, shock and horror, we find there's another Signar-Elian who survived, maybe was even directly mutated by the Plutonium Boss, and now he's made it to earth and he's pissed.

Why do Eve and the Kaiser call each other "Eve" and "Kaiser" instead of "Yvtrkizj" and "Whatever The Kaiser's Original Name Was"? Okay, I'm willing to suspend disbelief for "Eve" and not just because the alternative is a bitch to pronounce, but I find it rather unlikely the Kaiser's name was always "Plutonium Kaiser".

Why does Eve ask the Kaiser if he intends to be the "second" Plutonium Boss? Isn't he, like, the fourth or fifth?

How did Roddy get Elfie back out of the hole after saving her from the Kaiser?

Seems like it'd be awfully cramped in the cockpit for two people.

I remember back at the Blaster Master Underground forums, back when this game was released and I still went there, reading all kinds of batshit explanations for what goes on in this game including the "Elfie was adopted!" thing. Maybe it's just how cynical I've gotten in the past nine years, but here's my explanation for all this; the writers cocked up. See, isn't that a lot more concise, not to mention more likely?

On that subject, one of the fruitier theories I heard somebody offer is that Signar-Elians can shapeshift but Roddy lost this ability to his human half. There's one very confusing line in the novel that suggests that; when Jason asks Eve if she's nuts, Eve says "I have tried to attain a suitable human form." Eve's problem with English doesn't make it any easier to figure out what she meant by that (should could have meant "maintain", or she could have been talking about how her people evolved), and since Jason doesn't pursue the subject and there's no other evidence they can shapeshift (it's not like she says she transformed into a human to blend in with them during her studies or anything, and SOPHIA's interior was made for a human, for cheese sake) I'm inclined to dismiss that as a mistake, like when Alex originally said he was looking for his pet lizard when he ran into Eve, then later on it was his lobster (don't ask me how a lobster outran him). But still, what the hell was that supposed to explain regarding Blasting Again? This is Blaster Master, people, not Daniel fucking X. Even if Roddy is an orphaned, blonde, fifteen year old human-alien who took up his dead parents' mantle of protecting the world from other, evil aliOH GAWD I'M CREEPING MYSELF OUT AGAIN.

Looking up the four voice actors on IMDB provided some good, unexpected laughs, the best one being that Rumiko Varnes, Elfie's VA, also did Alia in Mega Man X7. I probably found that way funnier than I should have, but you gotta admit that's still pretty hilarious. Also amusing to me is that Christian Storms (Roddy) has played two guys named Jason, in Firefighter F.D. 18, and some movie called The Pavillion Salamandre. Jeff Manning (Kaiser) and Rumiko Varnes actually have done a fair amount of video game voice acting, but they're almost all games infamous for terrible voice acting like Symphony of the Night (Manning did Shaft), Mega Man X7 (which Manning also did "additional voices" for), and a bunch of games featured in this video (I've never played TRAG, but why do I get the feeling Varnes is the "Lalalalala" girl?).

And just to mention her, Ann Tashi Slater (Eve) seems to have only voiced for one other game, Shenmue. Her IMDB page also mentions something from 1915, but that's gotta be a mistake, because she would have to have been around 100 years old when she voiced for this game.

Did anyone else notice the Kaiser capturing Elfie, Roddy bitching about why it wasn't him instead, and Eve taking over to assist Roddy and be his voice of reason is an awful lot like the Boss capturing Eve, Jason bitching about why it wasn't him instead, and Alex taking over to assist Jason and be his voice of reason in the book?

For the people who haven't picked up on this, despite the rather glaring hint I gave in the Overdrive review, here's the explanation of SOPHIA J7; Roddy and Elfie named the upgraded SOPHIA after their dead parents. "J7" is said "JaySeven." Take "Eve" out, you're left with "JaySn", or "Jason". I just find that amazingly clever, and if that's not where that name came from, that is one hell of a coincidence.

I just thought I'd mention that there's nothing in this game called the Overdrive; SOPHIA's ultimate attack is called the Acceleration Blast.

Wasn't sure where else to mention this, but the maxed out gun is bloody worthless. It's a blue flamethrower with horrible range that only takes one hit to lose (every other level takes 2 or 3 to lose), and you're far more likely to get hit while using it in the first place.

In all five games, you are never required to learn Jason's name. His name is nowhere to be found in Blaster Master, Boy, or Enemy Below. His name only appears in Blaster Master 2 when you try to enter the room in Area 3 you need the goggles for without them. Roddy and Elfie only refer to him as "Father", and the cutscene where Eve speaks his name is not mandatory, although it's pretty hard to miss if you don't know it's there. So if you didn't have any of the games' packaging (for some reason), did Area 3 in Blaster Master 2 right the first time, and managed to miss the room in the final Roddy dungeon where Eve gives the history lesson, you would never know his name.

Well, yeah, there's the Internet, but I'm talking about within the games.

You know what I love most about the wonky exposition, half-finished story, and bad voice acting that I've spent this article bitching about? Want to guess how much dialogue is in the single most powerful and memorable moment in the whole game, that still makes me go "... holy shit!"