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Blackthorne

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Released: 2003

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: Game Boy Advance

Publisher: Interplay

Developer: Blizzard

Submitted by: Gavin Miller

I came across this gem while browsing an abandonware website a few years ago. Released on the PC and SNES in 1994 and then on Sega's 32X the following year it was only when I did a bit of research that I discovered the game had recently been ported to the Game Boy Advance. After a quick purchase from ebay this game had me hooked from start to finish.

You play as Kyle Vlaros (Blackthorne) man on a mission. You must travel through 4 huge levels made up of 17 sub levels to defeat the evil Sarlac. Throughout the game Kyle can use his pump action shotgun to do away with the many monsters and beasts that fill the levels or he can throw grenade mines which dish out a lot more damage and can even break through walls. Along your journey you'll find rebels who are chained to walls, prisoners under Sarlac's rule. Talk to your fellow rebels for a helpful hint or in a cruel twist of fate, stand back and blow them up with the pump action. Health and firepower become upgraded as you progress but enemies become much more powerful as well. To dodge incoming bullets, pushing up will make Blackthorne hide into the background. It's vital to learn the enemy attack patterns so you can appear out of the background at the right time and take out your opponent. A cool little feature is the "blind fire" which see's Blackthorne aim and fire his shotgun behind him while still facing foward. It's just as easy to turn around and shoot behind but it doesn't look as cool.

The game plays beautifully on the GBA and it's a shame a sequel was never released and also if you're looking for the full experience opt for the 32X version as it has an extra 5th level.