What do you get when you have the Colony Wars series, take out the backbreaking mission requirements, and throw in a lot more arcade-style blasting action? You get Blast Radius, that's what. Assuming the role of Kayne, you are the last remaining member of the recently eliminated Wolf Squadron. Conveniently for your employment situation, the Vorn, a gentle race currently under siege by the horrible advances of the nasty Kotan-Kai, implore you to aid them in their time of need. In return, you get to fly the Vorn's most advanced craft and weapons (why they couldn't do it themselves is beyond me) as you hurl yourself into battle against these worthy opponents.
In Blast Radius, you can choose from nine different assault vehicles of varying appearances, abilities, and weapons. Your streamlined HUD displays the various attributes your craft is currently equipped with: primary weapon, radar, ammo, turbo, lock-on laser info, and fuel. There is a lock-on cursor and targeting arrow that point you to your nearest enemy. Other optional weapons include torpedoes, rockets, seeker missiles, locking lasers, and fusion nukes for eye-shattering explosions and high-powered attacks.
It will be apparent to veterans of the Colony Wars series that Blast Radius seems just like Colony Wars. While that's not a bad thing - and the action definitely seems to be the drawing point here - it just seems more like an expansion pack than anything else. You fly through the semi-uncharted reaches of space while attempting to down as many hostile craft as you can. If you haven't already gotten Colony Wars: Vengeance yet, and you are thinking about buying it, Blast Radius is an alternative you might want to consider because of its easier learning curve. That's not to say that the enemy ships are a cakewalk; it's just that the mission requirements rely less on nearly impossible tasks than on straightforward dogfights.
The game uses the Colony Wars engine, ensuring that the action moves at a smooth pace and that the control is dead-on. The ship and battle-cruiser models seem to be more brightly colored than the ships in Colony Wars, making it easier for you to spot your enemy far off on the horizon. Weapons and weapon effects are predictably spectacular, being trademark psygnosis. The only downside is the ship design, which looks mostly ham-fisted and awkward. You'd imagine the most advanced ships of the future (or distant galaxies) to be the sexiest, most streamlined fighters you've ever seen. Instead - and this goes for Colony Wars' ships too - the designs are clumsy and often seem forced. It's not too exciting to fly something that looks like a big horseshoe or stapler while fighting the scourge of the universe. In its defense, the sound is super, with ship buzzing all around you, and lasers and explosions causing considerable neighbor-waking noise. Adding to the carnage is the link-cable option. If you have a friend with his own PlayStation, his own copy of Blast Radius, and a link cable, you can hook up for cooperative play or face off against each other in deathmatch mode. This should provide many high-speed intergalactic battles, should you meet the requirements.
So, while Blast Radius tends to feel a bit like a throwaway or, rather, it feels as though the company is simple cashing-in on its own success, it is nevertheless a worthwhile way to kill some time. If you liked Colony Wars and are looking for more of the same high-quality space-shooting action, Blast Radius is going to be your best option. Whether it's worth a purchase largely depends on how much you really need it. A rental might be your first move.