The game “Blackthorne” was released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo by a little company called “Blizzard Entertainment” which you may have heard of. In my opinion, Blackthorne is one of the finer platformers for the SNES and flies under the radar for most gamers. It combines action, platforming, and amazing sound effects to create a superb game. Put on that wife beater, and load up the shotgun! We’re about to explore this Blackthorne review!
My Blackthorne review must start with the story. It’s unique, and one that stands out from other early 90s games. The premise may be familiar but the way it’s presented is different.
The planet Tuul has been ruled over by a single shaman who has controlled his people with his “knowledge”. This ruler is called Thoros who has two sons, and he is finding it difficult to choose between them for the next heir to the throne. Now, this is where it gets wacky, Thoros leads both of them into the desert and kills himself. The remains of his body turn into two stones, one light, and one dark. Each son takes a stone and starts to rule their kingdoms separately.
One son rules Androth, which is the light stone kingdom, and one son rules Ka’Dra’Suul, the dark stone kingdom. The people of Ka’Dra’Suul begin to reject their stone and are transformed into monsters by the rejection. These monsters look like goblins and ogres in my opinion. One of the monsters named Sarlac begins an uprising and turns his frustrations on the people of Androth.
The ruler of Androth, King Vlaros senses his kingdom is doomed and teleports his son Kyle with the light stone to Earth to save his life and keep him hidden.
And let me take a break here. Can you imagine being Kyle growing up on Androth? It’s his first day of school, and all the kids are meeting each other.
“Oh, what’s your name?”
“My name is SidDraSull.”
“Oh, how about you?”
“My name is KirMeinDroth, and what about you?”
“My name is Kyle.”
Instant bully target with a name like that.
Anyway… Twenty years later, Kyle has become a renowned military captain. He receives a vision telling him it’s time to return to Tuul and save his people. The game begins here with Kyle setting out to kill Sarlac and reclaim his throne.
How many games back in the early 90s had such an in-depth story like Blackthorne? Not many.
On the Super Nintendo, it doesn’t get much better than Blackthorne with the combination of graphics, sound effects, story, and controls for a platformer.
As Kyle, you must search for and free prisoners while escaping the level. Often, you have shoot-outs with the enemy. Instead of just mashing a button and shooting at the enemy while they shoot at you, you have to be strategically and patiently fight them. You can get cover against any wall so the enemy can’t hit you, although they too, can take cover. So it’s almost a cat and mouse game, and you need to be quick on the trigger because when they pop out from the wall you better blow them away with Kyle’s trusty shotgun. I love the fact that Kyle can point the gun behind him and fire it without looking, signs of a true action-hero.
Each level takes you closer and closer to reaching Sarlac and he’s the only boss in the game which I found disappointing, it would have been fun to pick off his generals on your way to kill him after each level. Now Sarlac himself I had some trouble on. You have to be real quick with the trigger and avoid his attacks. He’s not impossible by any means but it might take you a few tries to beat him. Especially because you need to dodge his magic attacks while rolling away from grenades being tossed from his panther statues above you all while avoiding his bullets.
But once you do, you have a great end-game cut scene. Sarlac’s head mounted on the wall and some hot chick laying beside you at the throne. Now that’s the ultimate power, I bet KirMeinDroth and SidDraSall wouldn’t laugh at Kyle anymore. It’s the cherry on top for points in this Blackthorne review.
Sarlac is it, but like I said he’s tough to beat the first time. Better practice your cover techniques before facing him.
I was first introduced to Blackthorne by one of my childhood friends. I used to go to his house after school for a few hours each day as his mom babysat us. He had a Super Nintendo, and Blackthorne was one of the games that he had. I was pretty young, maybe eight or nine so we weren’t very good at it and rarely got past the first two levels. But I remember it was really fun and unique. I thought the graphics were awesome, and I remember the sound effects very vividly. Whenever you threw a grenade at a door it would make an explosion sound effect that I can still hear today in my mind. Remembering all the special things from this game made me excited to start my Blackthorne review.
Blackthorne Review Score:
Blackthorne is a game that doesn’t get enough credit. It’s somewhat short, probably five hours if you know what you’re doing but the gameplay is great. I mean it when I say the sound effects were memorable, I love throwing grenades against doors and hearing them explode or listening to Kyle pump his shotgun. Collecting items from prisoners was a nice touch too. There was a small dose of puzzles as far as needing to figure out where the keys were to unlock the door. I was very young in 1994, so I don’t remember if there was any hype around this game or what the reception was when it came out, but it plays pretty well for today. If you haven’t played it, I highly recommend it. Once you beat the first level, you’ll be hooked. Don’t get discouraged with your fight with Sarlac, it takes practice. I wasn’t able to beat Blackthorne until a few years ago. I love that the hero of the game just wears a white wife beater and blue jeans. If Kyle wasn’t saving the world, he’d be driving a semi-truck somewhere with his long mullet in the wind. My final score for my Blackthorne Review?
Blackthorne scores an 8.8 out of 10.
What did you think of Blackthorne when it first came out? Was there a lot of hype around it, or did you find it later in life? Were you able to beat Sarlac on your first attempt? Let me know your thoughts on comments on Blackthorne, I’d love to hear from you if you’ve played it.
If you’d like to buy a copy of Blackthorne you can find preowned copies of it on eBay for between $20-$40.