On today’s long-delayed 100 Days Of MEGASHOCK! we’ll be looking at another ADK platformer, Blue’s Journey (or Raguy as it was called in Japan). Blue’s Journey is a cutsey colorful platformer that’s more in the vein of Alex Kidd or the early Wonder Boy games than a Super Mario Bros. You play as Blue, a tiny insect-man superhero (kind of like Kamen Rider). Blue must save the land of Raguy from an evil emperor who wants destroy it via pollution (this environmentally-conscious plot is a lot like Sonic, though this predates the first Sonic by a few months). Blue’s friend, Green (naturally), can join in the adventure if you play in 2-player co-op mode, which is not a common feature in platformers.
In Blue’s Journey, you attack using the A button. Your default weapon is a leaf which stuns enemies, allowing you to then pick them up and throw them at other enemies ala-Super Mario Bros 2. But more so, you can actually stun multiple enemies, run at them to stack them all up, and throw a huge wall made of poor creatures at your foes (which is pretty cool).
More importantly, the main gimmick of Blue’s Journey is that you can shrink at will using the C button to access small hidden areas. Not only that, shrinking makes Blue run faster, making him jump further, and also allows Blue to jump onto and ride enemies without stunning them (since jumping on enemies when normal sized would stun them). So for example you could shrink, jump onto a flying enemy, ride them a bit and then jump to a high hidden area that would be normally inaccessible. The catch is that while shrunken down, you cannot attack, so you become much more vulnerable. Thus, it’s imperative for the player to learns when it’s best to shrink down and when to return to their normal size to fight off threats.
But there’s more than jumping around and smacking enemies in Blue’s Journey. Every now and then, a house will appear. Inside, you can talk to residents about different subjects (in goofy broken English): They may offer you items to buy. They may ask you some really weird questions, or even offer you to warp ahead a few levels into the game for a few flowers (which are the in-game currency you collect). You may even get a few sidequests. One example is a guy who has lost his axe and needs it to cut down a tree, which opens up a secret area with some items (turns out the axe is just one screen over to the left). Another quest is there’s a princess who is frozen solid, and you need to have gotten the torch beforehand in order to thaw the ice to save her. And I believe she should give you some power-up but I’m not sure what exactly.
You can also find shops that sell you stuff like speed-boosts and whatnot, nothing too useful as the leaf weapon you start with is pretty handy as is. Or you can pick up other weapons like bombs (quite handy against bosses), or boomerangs (which are near useless). You can also upgrade the weapon if you pick it up again, even the default leaf as the fully upgraded leaf is mighty strong.
A playthrough will take you across a total of 4 worlds, each with 3 levels and a 4th mini-level with a boss. After beating the first world, a map screen comes up and you can choose one of 2 worlds to go to next. And that happens again once you beat the next world, so there’s really a total of 6 worlds in the game, and you need at least 2 playthroughs to see them all.
And the levels are your usual set found in other platformer. There’s a green forest levels, volcano levels, ice levels, toy levels, industrial machinery levels etc. They all do a good job of showing that Blue and his gang are all miniscule sized, as you see him run next to giant flowers or climb large lego blocks, or run on top of huge computer chips and such.
Overall, I enjoyed Blue’s Journey. It’s a much more polished effort than Magician Lord, one that tried to be a little bit more inventive. It was also much easier than Magician Lord (no annoying frogs that take 8-hits). Plus I think not a lot of games do the whole shrinking mechanism, and this is somewhat thematically consistent in how tiny Blue and his friends seem to be in their world. Blue’s Journey also has some decent replay value, with all the optional worlds and the hidden areas that one may miss the first time, in addition to the odd things you’ll see if you answer the villager questions differently. It’s safe to say you won’t be seeing everything in Blue’s Journey on your first playthrough, or possibly second. Plus there’s a genuinely great sense of humor about the whole game, especially with the various dialogues you read. Also a really nice soundtrack too.
And yet, I still slightly prefer Magician Lord over it. I think it’s because of the wilder soundtrack, tougher difficulty, the and the darker artstyle (and of course GAL AGIESE). Still, this is a great effort by ADK, certainly much better than Ninja Combat at least.