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Blue’s Journey

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Released: 1990

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: Neo Geo

Publisher: SNK

Developer: Alpha Denshi

Blue’s Journey was a pretty beautiful game. In 1990, the amount of sprites it threw around, the scaling effects it used and the depth of colour on show just weren’t common. But then, the Neo Geo wasn’t a common machine, and it wasn’t meant to be – the prohibitive pricing of both the hardware and software meant that it was a machine owned by a privileged few, who had to have the most accurate arcade experience possible. If the dependable old NES was a Ford Escort and the Mega Drive was a flashy Mercedes 500 SL, the Neo Geo was a Ferrari Testarossa.

The only problem with owning a Ferrari Testarossa is that unless you’ve got a nearby race track handy to really push the machine, you’re stuck using it to do Tesco runs and the occasional trip to B&Q, at which point the glamorous fantasies seem rather too far away. And using the Neo Geo to play Blue’s Journey was just like going to the supermarket in an Italian sports car. It’s certainly a decent platformer, no doubt about that – the multi-stage weapon upgrades, frequent shopping opportunities and size-changing gimmick took care of that nicely. But in no time at all Blue’s Journey began to look rather ordinary. To be fair, everything did next to the masterful level design of Super Mario World and the blistering speed of Sonic The Hedgehog, but it wasn’t the most desirable thing to see from your super-console – especially given the three-figure sum you’d just forked out for the cartridge. Still, it’s not a bad addition to your library these days, as one of the cheaper games on the console.