Graphics: Clean. Very clean. That's the most appropriate way to describe the visuals in Blue Stinger. The high-resolution texture maps and relatively high-polygon models are what you'd expect from a next-generation console, and the developers made sure to add liberal amounts of lighting, particle and translucency effects. Boss encounters are another notable, as they really show off the abilities of Sega's machine. The only area in which Blue Stinger does not stack up is a big one: animation. No motion-capture here. The characters animate quite stiffly, creating a rather slow and goofy-looking gait, and while this is not totally damning, it takes a while to get used to.
Sound: Well, this is a CD-based machine, so the music is high quality. Some of it seems a bit out of place for a survival horror game, but it's not bad. This actually works in some places, such as the town/market area, where the Christmas atmosphere and music creates an atmosphere eerily reminiscent of the original Gremlins film. Voice acting is another thing entirely. While I don't think it is quite as bad as most of the professional magazines have made it out to be, it's definitely of the B-movie variety, perhaps a bit better than the original Resident Evil's. Maybe.
Control: This is Blue Stinger's weakest point. Analog control is too loose for precision movement, while digital simply isn't responsive enough. The result is a game that's difficult to play at times when precision movement is critical (such as swimming). Luckily, this isn't a platformer, so these are few and far between. What really makes the control so lacking is the camera, which while far improved over the "cinematic" one found in the Japanese version (thanks to some noticeable tweaking by Activision), still manages to get itself in, shall we say, less than advantageous positions (usually they're experienced while in water or in tight corridors). While these are minimal, there are more than enough of them to annoy all but the most hardcore gamers.
Gameplay/Theme: Yes, Blue Stinger has it's problems, but it is fun. As with any game of this nature, part of the fun comes with blasting enemies with high-powered weapons. In this area, BS delivers. Ranging from the usual shotguns and rocket launchers, to more exotic weapons such as ray swords (a lightsaber rip-off) and railguns. Each character has their own unique arsenal of weapons, which are either found or bought from numerous vending machines located throughout Dinosaur Island. Needless exploration and a few vague puzzles can dampen the fun for you (remember the passcode 1224, you'll need it), if you stick with it, the experience can be rewarding.
Overall: Like many launch titles, Blue Stinger is a flawed first effort, perhaps moreso than many of the others. That said, it does have its good points, which are far more numerous than the gaming press is willing to let on, and while not for every gamer, if you like blasting baddies, adventuring and a decent story, and are willing to work past the flaws, Blue Stinger might just be worth a few of your hard-earned dollars.
Final Grade: 71%