Blast Corps Soundtrack, Graeme Norgate, 1997
Developer Rare arguably rose to fame and world-wide success with its Donkey Kong Country trilogy. However, it’s usually the Nintendo 64 era that is considered Rare’s golden age – no surprise, as the company seemed incapable of not churning out classic after classic for a while. That winning streak began with Blast Corps, released just in time for the console’s launch in Europe. The title was based on an idea by Rare founder Chris Stamper, who for years had wanted to make a game about destroying building – simple as that. Beginning production in 1996, a team of just four developers (sometimes expanded to seven) fitted a gameplay concept around this idea: a nuclear missile carrier was out of control and steamrolling ahead on autopilot. The player controls an array of sometimes bizarre vehicles (including a giant one-armed robot with a rolling attack) to clear the way.
The result was met with almost universal acclaim. Blast Corps was a beautifully idiosyncratic game, combining puzzle, racing and all-out-action elements into a wholly original package. Sales – around one million copies – ended up lower than the development team had expected. However, Blast Corps remains one of the most fondly remembered N64 games, thanks to its flawless level design and tough-as-nails yet always fair difficulty curve.