Blues Brothers 2000 Review

The 3D-action category is a competitive one on the Nintendo 64, and Blues Brothers lacks any special features that would make it noteworthy.

The 3D action game genre is now a well-established one. If you're a Nintendo 64 owner, chances are you already possess a few 3D platformers. Titus' Blues Brothers 2000 joins the pack and doesn't deviate that much from the expected formula. Although Blues Brothers' conformity alone doesn't present a problem, its dearth of interesting levels and its loose play control leave you without a compelling reason to play the game.

The Blues Brothers want to enter a contest and show off their talent. Unfortunately, none of the four musicians knows the location of the rest of the group. You, as Elwood, must put the band back together by rescuing the other three members. The quest takes Elwood through four worlds, each with multiple sections. You escape from jail in the first world and subsequently save the group's members in the remaining three. You'll encounter mostly standard action-game elements throughout the journey, including pits and water traps to jump over, bosses to defeat, and hidden items to uncover. In addition to the generic obstacles, you also complete some challenges that play similarly to PaRappa the Rapper or Bust A Groove on the PlayStation. Here, you need to master a dance by pressing a specified sequence of directions and buttons with the proper rhythm. The dances increase in complexity as Elwood travels further into the stages.

Platform games demand responsive, precise controls. Blues Brothers, unfortunately, feels sloppy. The jump button seems to mysteriously die at the most inconvenient places. Even when you hit the button, Elwood doesn't react and consequently dies by running off the edge of a building or into an enemy. The only long-distance attack that Elwood can perform for most of the game is throwing his hat. This move inflicts little damage on enemies, and you'll find it incredibly difficult to aim at even a stationary target. The inflexible camera doesn't help either. Blues Brothers' camera seems to get stuck against walls far more frequently than cameras in other similar games. Since a great amount of the game takes place in small areas or on ledges against a structure, you'll end up attempting quite a few blind jumps.

Most of Blues Brothers 2000's challenge results from landing jumps and solving puzzles rather than dealing with difficult enemies. As previously mentioned, the inaccurate controls make leaping around more frustrating than it should be. Some of the puzzles you need to complete do require thought and exploration. The game lets you save at any time, and you should definitely take advantage of this feature. You'll probably want to save the game whenever you find an important item, like a key or musical note. Frequent recording of your progress not only saves you from tackling the same scavenger hunts repeatedly, but it also protects you from potential bugs. In particular, some plants--which look like large Venus's-flytraps--attack Elwood by swallowing him for a bit and then spitting him out. Sometimes the plants will get stuck in an infinite loop, where they repeatedly perform the spit animation but never actually release Elwood. Thus, you have no choice but to reset the game, which means you'll lose all your unsaved belongings.

The graphics don't look quite as good as those in most current Nintendo 64 games. Dull colors and blurry textures give the game a somewhat washed-out appearance. You won't notice any particularly interesting special effects or small details. Thanks to the small worlds and their restricted horizons, pop-up doesn't present too much of a problem, although you'll still see it in a few areas. A small amount of fog lurks in the background as well. Blues Brothers displays some static cinema scenes in between levels, which, like the rest of the presentation, don't come across as particularly impressive.

Logically enough, simple blues music often plays in the background. However, the music loops quite frequently--plus, the same songs play in different worlds. You'll tune out the repetitive soundtrack after playing for a little while. Sound effects are generally sparse, although horns continually beep as they do in noisy Chicago traffic. The main characters never speak, and the enemies usually remain quiet as well.

The 3D-action category is a competitive one on the Nintendo 64, and Blues Brothers lacks any special features that would make it noteworthy. Its average gameplay and uninteresting levels create a game that doesn't warrant attention. Blues Brothers 2000 isn't a horrible game overall, but there are plenty of other great 3D platformers out there for the N64.

The Good

  • N/A

The Bad

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