Blackthorne , also known lovingly around here as John Romero's Quest , is a rotoscoped action-platformer that follows in the footsteps of games such as Prince of Persia , Out of this World and Flashback. War breaks out in some kingdom in an alternate dimension - as Orcs are about to invade his living room , Random King asks Merlin to teleport baby John Romero to another dimension ... namely Earth. 20-odd years go by and John Romero studies the ancient art of shotgunnery and becomes a rock star. Suddenly , one day while collecting beer cans by the roadside or something , John Romero is summoned back to his home world. With the wavy black locks that drive the ladies wild flowing behind him , and his stained wifebeater , Romero strides into battle.

In the 20 years he's been gone from his home world , the Orcs have gone from swords and shields to shotguns and rolling explosives. Fortunately Romero brought a shotgun of his own , and apparently he's programmed an infinite ammo code for himself. His soiled wifebeater and ripped jeans allow him to absorb two or three bullets or explosions before dying. Additionally , he can dodge into the background of the screen to be safe from enemy fire and rolling bombs.

My first problem with this game is the graphics. Even with my monitor's brightness cranked way up , they are too dark. I can't see half of what's going on in the background. This is a long-running problem for Blizzard (see also Diablo).

Though the game borrows pretty much all it's elements from classics like Out of this World and Flashback , it's just not as fun as those games. Frankly , the plot is stupid. It doesn't have the clever puzzles or hair-raising thrills of Prince of Persia. It doesn't have the intriguing situations or great cut-scenes of Out of this World. And it doesn't have the well-thought-out gameplay and level design of Flashback. It creeps along at a slow pace and is fairly boring. Enemies are fairly stupid , once you are no longer parallel to them they forget you exist , and they don't seem to notice or care when huge explosions suddenly happen right near them. The random chained-up allies you find all over the places are also amusingly dumb , like the guys who are mining or something and complain that 'if I only had a bomb I could escape the guard' ... then you go blow up the guard , and they just stand there and keep mining away. You can't free the guys randomly chained up everywhere , but you can blast them and put them out of their misery(?). This being a Nintendo game however , they spew out green slime instead of blood. And they also like to randomly wander into the middle of your firefights , which is always good for a laugh.

Anyway , I wasn't too impressed with this one. Check out Flashback or Out of this World to see a much better example of this type of game.

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