Somewhat dull interface
The path of Trail Blazer was a rocky one. Initially developed to be a commercial release, it never struck a publishing deal that the makers would be happy with. After a few years of trying to find a decent publisher, Johan Burgler, the main programmer, decided to release it as freeware and hence it ended up on our reviewing desk.
I wasn't sure what to expect as the information about the game was practically non-existent, but what followed was a pleasant surprise. Trail Blazer can best be described as Tron on steroids. For any of you that haven't played it, here is the lowdown. You are the driver of a bike in a futuristic arena. As you drive, your bike leaves a trail behind it, and if enemy bikes crash into it, they die. To win the game you must drive around the arena and try to capture your opponents.
The first distinction Trail Blazer makes is the way you control your vehicle. You are no longer constrained to rectangular shapes and 90 degree turns which means you can glide around the arena in smooth curves. Also, everything happens in 3D which makes the gameplay a lot more challenging. Doesn't sound like much but makes the entire experience a lot more enjoyable. A bit like Pizza Worm revolutionized Snake. Secondly, Trail Blazer has an adventure aspect to it as well. You are a pilot whose ship crashed and you need to earn money by winning the tournaments. The game gives you the possibility to buy and upgrade vehicles, but best of all, once you have maxed out your vehicle in one galaxy, you can save up and travel to another one where a whole fleet of brand new ships await.
In terms of graphics, you can tell that Trail Blazer has started to age a little, but that won't ruin your playing experience. A pleasant surprise was to see a whole range of resolutions offered, so I was able to play it in crisp-clear resolution that suits my widescreen laptop. I'm sure a lot of laptop users will appreciate this fact. The vehicle models were decent and there is a range of different arenas available in different galaxies. Sound is pretty sparse, probably due to the fact that it was added last, when the project was dangerously close to its funding limit. If you find the lack of music annoying, you can always play your favorite playlist in the background using winamp.
I must admit that I was pretty hooked to the game when I got it. Most of all I enjoyed its simplicity and fun factor. It is well worth a try!
Review by: Kosta
Safe for all ages
600MHz or 200MHz + 3d card
Windows 98SE/Me/2000/XP and up