Blue Stinger

Moby ID: 3722
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Description official description

In the year 2000, a massive earthquake hits the Yucatan Peninsula region of Mexico, sending shockwaves throughout the area. A large, unknown island emerges from the depths of the ocean bordering this land with what appears to be a giant crater located near its center. American and Mexican government officials cordon off this new landmass and dispatch an investigative task force to the island. It is determined that the crater was created by the impact of the giant meteor that crashed into the Yucatan 65 million years before, wreaking havoc upon the Earth's ecosystem and bringing about a nuclear winter so devastating that it pushed the dinosaurs, the dominant land-dwelling lifeforms of the time, to complete extinction. Thus the island is named Dinosaur Island. Highly classified research of the island, the crater and what lies within it goes on for 17 years while a city is built to house and accommodate the researchers and workers. This research and the island's economy are dominated entirely by a large biotech corporation known as Kimra.

Eliot Ballade, an elite member of Kimra's Dinosaur Island ESER (Emergency Sea Evacuation and Rescue), is enjoying a day off aboard his friend's boat a short distance from the coast when suddenly a small meteor falls from the sky and descends toward Dinosaur Island. At the moment of impact, a mysterious dome of energy appears from the center of the island, expanding outwards at an astonishing speed towards Eliot's position. Just as the dome of energy approaches, a flock of hideous birds ram straight into the boat, causing Eliot to hurtle himself overboard just before the energy dome overtakes the boat, seemingly petrifying his friend still onboard. Hours later, Eliot awakens on the shore of Dinosaur Island and begins an investigation that will change his life forever. He begins to discover an uncontrollable madness unleashed in the meteor's wake, and as one secret uncovers another, he pieces together a horrifying revelation that could lead to the end of life on Earth.

The player controls rescue expert Eliot Ballade, or heavy weapons specialist Dogs Bower, as they wield hand-to-hand moves and 22 weapons in an adventure that will require them to swim, drive, climb, fight and blast through seven areas and 230 locations; solving puzzles, avoiding hazards and discovering and using up to 75 items, such as security cards and life ropes. The player can switch between the 2 characters at any time to utilize their different skills to their advantage: Eliot being able to handle 2 weapons at a time, swim and move quicker; Dogs being able to equip heavier weapons and last longer in a fight with his higher constitution. Along the way, the player will encounter certain situations where they will have the chance to rescue someone or perform some other task, usually receiving a new weapon or item upon completion; however, the game will go on even if the side-mission is not successful. The player will be aided by Kimra-Tech Security agent Janine King and the mysterious angel-like entity referred to as Nephilim as they battle mutated monsters and solve the mysteries of Dinosaur Island.

Blue Stinger controls much like most Survival Horrors of the time, but plays more like a straight-up Action title with Adventure elements. The player is encouraged to engage the enemies encountered, as not only do they drop coins which can be used to purchase health packs, new weapons and ammo; but they respawn upon re-entry of most locations, allowing for a technically infinite number of coins to be collected, and thus health and ammo. Even when the player does find themselves out of ammo, Eliot can equip himself from a number of unlimited-use melee weapons that are just as powerful as the ranged ones. Health packs, taking the form of food and drinks, must be used in realtime, the player having to ensure the safety of their character while the eating or drinking animation plays out. Though limited in scope, the island is fully open to explore and requires some backtracking as new items are found or developments are reached, as the player advances through a story progressed in game-engine cutscenes and radio chatter between Eliot, Dogs and Janine. Bosses are encountered regularly, some being stronger versions of more commonly-encountered enemies and playing out much like tougher battles with those; while others are unique and require the player to determine their behaviors and patterns to defeat them. Puzzles are mostly of the minor, find-the-item and use-it-in-the-right-place variety. Though environmental hazards appear in a number of locations, the game does not delve into Platformer territory as the actions required to pass these sections are either as simple as navigating around them or context-sensitive to the particular situations.

The Japanese version of the game featured a camera system that employed cinematic angles and perspectives intended to provide a more suspenseful experience. This system, however, was met with a negative critical reaction by some and was revamped by Activision into a behind-the-back third-person angle a-la Action-Adventure games for the US and European releases.

Spellings

  • BlueStinger - Alternate spelling
  • ブルー スティンガー - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Dreamcast version)

113 People (88 developers, 25 thanks) · View all

Creature Design
Storyboard
Art Director
Chief CG Designer
Story
Music Composer
Producer
Associate Producer
Technical Advisor
European Localisation Manager
Senior Vice President
Acquisitions Manager
Acquisitions Executive
Acquisitions Analyst
QA Manager, Console Division
QA Lead
QA Testers
US Manual Translation
US Manual Design
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 71% (based on 18 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.2 out of 5 (based on 21 ratings with 1 reviews)

A great game riddled with silly oversights.

The Good
Blue Stinger was one of the earliest releases for the Dreamcast. Some stores were even stocking the game before the console. Often launch titles are crude, often riddled with problems or are just low quality as the developers have not had enough time to adapt to the new hardware. Blue Stinger, along with almost every other Dreamcast launch title bucked this trend and delivered a graphically stunning, slick survival action game.

You play Eliot Ballard, an AESIR search and rescue member who is stranded at a strange facility after his helicopter goes down. He suddenly meets Dogs Bower, a local fisherman and the two venture into the facility to unravel the mystery contained therein. The story is serviceable but never really transcends that becoming unique. The exception to this is some interesting plot twists pertaining to the origins of some of the characters that are quite obvious but interesting nonetheless. In addition to that the protagonist undergoes a sort of...transformation at some point in the game that totally turns the gameplay on its head.

I'm glad the camera system in Blue Stinger was changed. In the original Japanese release the camera system was pure Survival Horror borrowing more from a game like Dino Crisis and less from Resident Evil. Luckily the camera was changed for the Western release focusing on a more over the shoulder 3D camera. This allows you to see the greatly detailed environments Eliot and Dogs wander through. Speaking in context of 1999 when this game was released Blue Stinger features some fantastic graphics. Outside areas suffer from low resolution textures however inside, especially the market area the facility has been meticulously detailed. Textures are vivid and realistic when they are not being stretched and character and monster designs have quite adequate form and detail to them.

Speaking of Eliot and Dogs the two characters work in tandem as they progress through the facility. By going into the menu and selecting a character change you can select either character and unlike other games with multiple characters there are definitive positives and negatives to both. For instance, Eliot can swim while Dogs cannot however Dogs has access to a guard move and more powerful weaponry. This was a very interesting gameplay mechanic and balancing both Eliot and Dogs is a joy. Combat feels quite unique. For instance unlike a typical Survival Horror game pressing the right trigger fires your currently equipped fire arm or attacks with a melee weapon. Dogs also has melee attacks which is interesting (while also being tactically useless.) Additional weapons and ammunition can be bought from certain vending machines scattered around the facility or can be found. The vending machines are a great concept. Using coinage dropped by fallen enemies (which comically shoots out of their bodies when they die) you can buy items, weapons and ammunition. This is a good way of pacing the game and not everything is available to you on a first play through. It teases you by being there, encouraging you to play further. Environments are large and detailed, as mentioned previously however they are broken up by the occasional swimming portion and that aforementioned transformation which turns a fairly run of the mill portion of the game into something genuinely unique.

The Bad
The story is methodical. There is a mystery you have to solve, there are mysterious characters you must find the origins of, you have to overcome the infection, find a way off the island and everyone is happy. It's happened before. It's the plot of almost every single other Survival Horror game. The acting is serviceable although at times the actors lack emotion, sounding bland and static. There was an occasion where Dogs began to spout random obscenities which was puzzling and unintentionally hilarious.

While the geometry of environments and overall texturing is above average the character models suffer from joints that don't match up, bad lip synching and lack of detail on items and weapon models. Surprisingly food looks better than the weapons when examined.

There is no quick turn in Blue Stinger and healing items must be consumed in real time. While I have no real compunctions with the engine and the game play the fact that you can be killed WHILE HEALING is a ridiculous oversight. Enemies also respawn, meaning you can keep going from room to room smacking low level enemies with a high end melee weapon, racking up tons of coinage and theoretically ending up with an unlimited supply of Hassy and Rockets.

The general sound design in Blue Stinger is typically very good. Although the music is an often absurd mix of overally enthusiastic action tunes or strange little melodies that play out in the background. A lot of the sound design doesn't even seem like it has any thought put into it at all. While I like the theme song in the market it is clearly supposed to be coming through the P.A system. Instead of running the sound through a filter to make it sound like a P.A system it is simply background music that replaces the previous track.

The Bottom Line
Blue Stinger does a lot of things right. It shows off the Dreamcast early on by displaying the vivid, life like textures, well modeled characters and detailed environments. The game play features some inspired elements like the multiple characters with noticeable strengths and weaknesses, the vending machines and the expansive environments.

Then are the silly oversights that really stop it from becoming anything more than mediocre. Character models look good but suffer from bad joints, bad lip synching and a general lack of emotion. Items don't have nearly enough detail and exterior locations are bland and feature blurry, stretched textures. The multiple characters could have been elaborated further with character specific puzzles. Items have to be consumed in real time, which while tactical is stupid when in combat with an overpowered boss. Music is uninspired and often ill fitting with little thought put into the sound design.

Don't overlook Blue Stinger. It is an under-appreciated gem on the Dreamcast that offers a real challenge and a genuinely interesting game play design to keep you immersed for a few hours. It's full of fresh ideas and while it is quite flawed it does not feature anything that could potentially break the game for you.

Dreamcast · by AkibaTechno (238) · 2010

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Macintrash.

Additional contributors: MAT, formercontrib, Patrick Bregger.

Game added April 9, 2001. Last modified March 3, 2024.