N64 Onslaught Part IV, Knife Edge Nose Gunner

Knife Edge Nose Gunner

This is definitely not one of those endearing childhood memory games. If anything, it’s the kind of game that you mention to a friend, then describe it for half an hour when they say they don’t remember it. And they still won’t remember it. Why? Because this is one of those games. This is… “The Game That I’m Pretty Sure Only I and Maybe Ten Other People Played.”

The premise of the game is rather interesting, I should say. Humanity settles onto Mars after constructing a terraforming building called the “Plant,” but inadvertently awakens the dormant Martian life forms that went into hibernation after the great Mars cataclysm in the 11th century. Colonies are going silent faster than the military can investigate them, so an operation is set underway to locate the source of the Martian threat and wipe it out. That’s where codename Knife Edge comes in with his experimental gunship.

Experimental in this case meaning the plane flies itself, and you just control the vulcan gun and the secondary weapon. The vulcan provides basic rapid-fire damage and can be upgraded by shooting pink weapon crystals marked with a conspicuous W. The blue crystals repair shielding, so shoot at those too.

Knife Edge Nose Gunner

Secondary weapons are a little more unique in regards to performance. Homing missiles lock onto four targets and blast them for slight damage. Laser takes a while to charge, but does high damage when fired from your crosshair. Plasma torpedo has a single lock and a long charge, but does very high damage. Flak discharge fires from the center of the screen for lesser spread damage. The Nuke has an annoyingly long charge but deals a crap-ton of damage when you fire it. Finally, the special bombs. These guys clear the screen, but they have a limited number of uses. Raise your score to get more.

Speaking of flak, Knife Edge Nose Gunner has taken a lot of that from reviews and general criticism. It’s not surprising, considering the blocky, terrible graphics and the slow, difficult gameplay. That said, I don’t think Knife Edge deserves to be called a failure. It’s was the first rail gunner game released for the N64 in North America, don’t you know. That’s not too shabby. Yeah! So what if the comm link character avatars looked blotchy and pixelated, and when they talked it looked like they were just screaming MAMAMAMA over and over again. This game was crazy fun! Fighting Martians in space with space nukes? Gotta be a weirdo not to like that.

Knife Edge Nose Gunner

In all seriousness, this game is friggin’ hard. Unless you’ve played through at least six times and memorized every boss’s attack patterns, or have a reaction time of 0.1 seconds, you’re in for a bit of a rough time. The C buttons may be used to shift the ship in a direction to avoid attack, but by the final boss, you’ll have learned that sometimes, the C buttons are there solely to make you ram your head into a wall, meteor, or suicide drone. Worst part is, there are no checkpoints. NO MERCY. You die, you start the level over. From the very beginning. You die too many times, you start the GAME over from the very beginning. That was terrible, yet at the same time, it made winning feel really good.

So that’s the speculation on Knife Edge Nose Gunner. Definitely not a high quality beloved N64 classic, as I said; probably more along the lines of a hipster game made for those who like gaming ironically or playing something that nobody else knows about. It’s not necessarily a bad game, but you’ll be able to tell right off that it isn’t really good. I personally like it because I grew up on it, but that’s just me. Might be worth it to give it a shot.

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