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Vehicle Mode is the primary mode of travel in the Blaster Master series. In this mode, Sophia (or a variation thereof) is controlled directly, usually in a side-view area, with access to all of the tank's obtained abilities. The pilot can exit the tank at any time, but is typically at a disadvantage until they enter a dungeon and trigger a switch to Character Mode.

Blaster Master Boy is devoid of a Vehicle Mode as Sophia does not appear at all.

Appearances[]

MetaFight / Blaster Master[]

In MetaFight / Blaster Master, Kane Gardner / Jason pilots MA-01 Metal Attacker / Sophia the 3rd while traversing the planet Sophia the 3rd / the underground regions of planet Earth. The battle tank's primary weapon is a large-bore cannon which fires projectiles with enough power to destroy most enemies in one shot. In addition to the main cannon, the vehicle is equipped with three terrain-piercing sub-weapons, Multi Warhead Missile (fires a spread of three missiles), Homing Missile (fires a missile at all enemies on-screen), and Thunder Break (discharges a lightning bolt downward along a random trajectory); all three sub-weapons must be manually restocked, up to a maximum capacity of 99 salvos per sub-weapon, by collecting their respective Capsules. By default, Metal Attacker / Sophia can move quickly along the ground; aim its cannon forward, diagonally, or straight upward; and propel itself up to 4 blocks off the ground by jumping.

Vehicle Mode gameplay within areas typically consists of navigating treacherous side-view rooms in search of dungeons holding key items, usually tank upgrades, which grant access to the next area. Once a dungeon entrance has been located, Kane/Jason must leave the tank and make his way to the entrance on foot while wielding a short-range Blaster Rifle as his sole means of self-defense. In this mode, the pilot moves slower than the tank and only has a 2-block jump height, but can swim freely in water, crawl through half-block passages and climb ladders (sometimes into otherwise-inaccessible locations). Care must be taken while traversing uneven terrain as falling more than 3 blocks (including the 2-block jump height where applicable) will instantly kill the pilot unless he lands in water or manages to grab a ladder before touching the ground.

Metal Attacker / Sophia's default firepower can be upgraded via collection of Hyper (adds armor-piercing properties to tank attacks) and Crusher (adds terrain-destroying power to main cannon shots); the tank itself can become more maneuverable via collection of Hover (enables limited flight at the cost of Hover energy), Dive (allows the tank to move freely in water), Wall 1 (adds wall-climbing capability) and Wall 2 (allows the tank to stick to ceilings). Kane/Jason can only enhance their Vehicle Mode utility by collecting Key, allowing the pilot (or the tank, while it is being actively piloted) to open Area 4's shutter doors.

Blaster Master: Enemy Below[]

Vehicle Mode in Blaster Master: Enemy Below, though it is generally similar to that of Blaster Master, alters the gameplay loop by adding locks to the entrances of catacombs holding the area's boss --- these locks must be opened by collecting a key elsewhere in the same area. In addition, Hyper has been removed and Crusher now only increases main cannon damage; terrain-destroying power is instead granted to Jason's Blaster Rifle upon acquisition of the Gun 1 upgrade. The mobility upgrades from the original game are now supplemented by Hi-Jump (increases jump height) and Engine Boost (allows Sophia 3rd to make headway against headwinds and conveyor belts), and a new defensive upgrade, Hybrid Armor, has been introduced which increases the battle tank's maximum health by 2 pips.

Blaster Master: Blasting Again[]

In Blaster Master: Blasting Again, Roddy pilots Sophia J-7 while traversing the underground regions of planet Earth, and the camera is always positioned behind Sophia while it is being piloted. The battle tank's primary weapon is a rapid-fire pulse cannon which shoots forward by default but will auto-aim slightly while battling Lightning Beings. The main cannon is initially supplemented only by the Blaster sub-weapon, a powerful forward-firing armament which draws from a low-capacity SP gauge and must be recharged with certain types of Prisms. By default, Sophia can move forward or backward, turn left or right (even while moving or in mid-air), jump 1 "block" high, and hop to the side via Side Jump (even while in mid-air).

Vehicle Mode gameplay within areas (other than the Ground hub area) typically consists of navigating treacherous three-dimensional rooms in search of objectives which open the path to the area's boss room. As these objectives are often located within Gates, Roddy must periodically leave the tank and make his way to the Gate entrance on foot, having access to his full Character Mode arsenal but taking greatly increased damage from Lightning Beings (relative to Sophia) until he enters the Gate. Care should be taken while traversing uneven terrain, despite the pilot's immunity to fall damage, as he lacks access to the tank's mobility upgrades and cannot traverse steps larger than 1 "block".

Sophia J-7 gains access to three alternate sub-weapons, Homing (hold to target, release to fire missiles), Thunder (continually discharges several short-range lightning bolts forward) and Field Guard (deploys an orbiting shield that absorbs projectile attacks), after defeating the Cave area's first boss; all four sub-weapons can optionally be upgraded up to 7 times each, becoming more potent and gaining increased SP capacity, by collecting their respective Power Memory Prisms. As Roddy defeats bosses after the first, Sophia also gains four alternate movement functions, some of which draw power from the tank's battery (this battery recharges over time and upon collecting Critical Charger Prisms): Climb (allows the tank to wedge itself between two walls and climb upward or over certain gaps), Submarine (increases movement speed in water and can be used to rise to the surface), Boost (depletes energy to move faster along the ground and increase jump distance) and Hover (depletes energy to ascend).

Blaster Master: Overdrive[]

In Blaster Master: Overdrive, Alex pilots S.O.P.H.I.A. while traversing the underground regions of planet Earth. The research vehicle is initially armed only with a cannon that draws a small amount of energy from an onboard energy supply to shoot. The vehicle's energy supply, indicated in-game by the "EN" gauge, regenerates quickly while stationary but pauses this regeneration while moving. By default, S.O.P.H.I.A. can move slowly along the ground; aim its cannon forward, diagonally, or straight upward; and propel itself 2 blocks upward by jumping.

Vehicle Mode gameplay within areas typically consists of navigating cramped side-view rooms in search of chambers holding upgrade kits which allow S.O.P.H.I.A. to access the next area. Once a chamber entrance has been located, Alex must leave the research vehicle and quickly make his way to the entrance on foot in order to minimize the time spent taking environmental damage. The pilot can swim freely (but will drown if he stays underwater for too long), jump 1 block upward and climb ladders.

Over the course of Blaster Master: Overdrive, S.O.P.H.I.A. gains access to two alternate armaments, Anchor Kit (launches an anchor line that pulls the vehicle toward the impact point) and Drill Kit (charges forward, breaking blocks and destroying most mutants in one hit), with the former having its range extended by Anchor Kit 2. The research vehicle is also upgraded with three alternate movement functions, Hover Kit (greatly reduces falling speed in the air while active), Dive Kit (allows the vehicle to move freely in water while active), and Wall Kit (allows the vehicle to climb up a wall while active), all of which continually drain energy while in operation. In addition to active upgrades, passive upgrades for S.O.P.H.I.A. can be collected, including Super Tire Kit (grants traction on ice and nullifies ground spikes) and a number of Reinforced Armor Kits (increases the vehicle's maximum health) and Energy Generators (increases the capacity of the vehicle's energy supply).

Blaster Master Zero[]

Vehicle Mode, which is renamed to Side View in Blaster Master Zero, modernizes the core mechanics of Blaster Master's Vehicle Mode. All areas have now been populated with Retry Points, which can be used to save progress and summon the current battle tank (SOPHIA III or SOPHIA Zero). In addition, several areas have had their key items moved to all-new side view boss fights, and later areas now have red crystals which must either be avoided or destroyed/bypassed using optional armaments.

SOPHIA III[]

In addition to the main cannon, SOPHIA III now starts with only one sub-weapon, Warhead Missiles (fires a spread of three missiles), which draws from the Metal Attacker's SP gauge rather than having its own supply of ammunition. SP regenerates over time while the MA is being controlled, at a rate of 1 SP per 5 seconds, but can also be instantly replenished by collecting SP Capsules (1/4 SP from small/large SP capsules), up to a maximum capacity of 8 SP. Default battle tank mobility functions, as well as the armaments and mobility of its pilot Jason Frudnick outside of dungeons, are carried over from Blaster Master without any changes.

Compared to the original installment, SOPHIA III's Vehicle Mode capabilities can be augmented to a greater extent in Blaster Master Zero via the installation of upgrade chips:

  • Main: The Hyper Shot and Crusher Shot upgrades for SOPHIA III's main cannon retain their original effects and are still mandatory for game progression; however, Jason may now choose to augment the cannon further by acquiring up to four charged shot modes: Laser Shot (fires a piercing laser), Maximum Shot (fires a wide shot with increased damage), Cannon Shot (fires a shell that explodes for greatly increased damage), and Acceleration Blast (transforms the battle tank into a cannon and unleashes a devastating energy beam). While a charged shot mode is active, SOPHIA gains the ability to charge and fire enhanced projectiles with unique properties, usually at the cost of SP. Once more than one optional cannon upgrade has been acquired, Jason may switch charged shot modes at any time via the Weapon Select Screen (a.k.a. sub-screen) or the Switch Weapons interface.
  • Sub: The default Warhead Missiles sub-weapon can now be replaced by any of four alternate sub-weapons, should Jason choose to go out of his way to acquire them: Thunder Breaker (fires a lightning bolt straight down which forks upon hitting water), Homing Missile (targets the closest enemy with a single missile), Spark Tackle (charges forward while wreathed in electricity), and Shield Mine (deploys a barrier that blocks enemies and their projectiles).
  • Maneuver: Hover Pack is now fueled by SP instead of dedicated Hover energy; in addition, Jason may now decide to discard Hover Pack's hold-to-ascend functionality in favor of mid-air jumps by acquiring and activating the optional upgrade Jump Booster. Wall 1 and Wall 2 have been combined into the omnibus upgrade Wall Climb while Dive Gear retains its original functionality.
  • Passive/Keys: SOPHIA III's P gauge (as well as that of the pilot) can now be extended from 8 to 16 pips (outside of Destroyer Mode), doubling its durability, by collecting eight Life Up upgrades, one in each area. Blaster Master's Area 4 Key has been renamed to Key 1 and is now accompanied by a second key, Key 2, which opens a new shutter door in Area 8.

SOPHIA Zero[]

SOPHIA Zero, which controls similarly to full-power SOPHIA III, starts with a 16-pip P gauge (8 pips in Destroyer Mode), is inherently immune to knockback and slowing effects, and comes equipped with empowered versions of all upgrades. With most of Area 9 already accessible, Vehicle Mode gameplay with SOPHIA Zero (outside of Unlimited Mode) consists of navigating rooms in search of entrances to the three dungeons holding Keys 3-5, then taking all three keys to a set of three shutter doors and proceeding onward to the true final boss encounter.

Blaster Master Zero 2[]

Vehicle Mode in Blaster Master Zero 2 is once again referred to as Side View, but now applies not only to Planets (this game's equivalent of prior games' areas), but also to a number of Planetoids; as these locales are not physically adjacent to each other, Landing Points and the Space Map are used to move between them as needed. Planetoids in particular must first be unlocked, via acquisition of Planetoid Maps (which are sometimes hidden inside blocks in side view areas), before they can be visited.

Relative to Blaster Master Zero, side view areas in this game tend to force the pilot to leave the battle tank more frequently and for a longer duration; in exchange, the pilot can now warp back to their battle tank via the sub-screen, provided both are in the same room and the pilot is not too far away. Boss fights in side view are both more frequent and more mechanically complex than before, and enemy rush rooms, which were once exclusive to top-down view dungeons, can now trigger on planets and Vehicle Mode planetoids as well.

Gaia-SOPHIA[]

Gaia-SOPHIA starts with the G-Crusher Shot main cannon and the Warhead Missiles sub-weapon, which now draws from a fluid SP gauge to fire 3 missiles in a wave pattern. SP does not regenerate on its own while piloting this Metal Attacker --- instead, SP is primarily recharged by collecting SP capsules (10%/40% SP for small/large SP capsules by default) and converting high-energy impacts, such as long falls onto a planetary surface, to SP via the battle tank's built-in Gaia System. Apart from Dive Gear now being a starting Maneuver, G-SOPHIA inherits SOPHIA III's starting mobility functions.

Over the course of Blaster Master Zero 2, Gaia-SOPHIA's Vehicle Mode capabilities can be augmented considerably via the installation of parts that add new functions:

  • Main: Two SP-consuming alternate main cannons can be acquired from optional planetoids: Auto-Cluster (rapidly fires terrain-piercing lasers and cluster bombs) and Revol-Buster (fires high-speed shots with increased firepower, but must reload from SP after 6 shots).
  • Sub: Four alternate sub-weapons, all acquired on planets, are mandatory for game progression: Burn Spark (continuously charges forward while wreathed in flames), Drill Smasher (manifests a drill and plummets toward the ground, excavating deadly projectiles upon impact), Repulsion Upper (deploys a trap that launches its victims upward), and Full Accel Burst (drains SP over time to prepare and launch a devastating sphere of light). Jason can also choose to obtain two optional sub-weapons from planetoids: Hexa Missiles (fires up to six missiles in single-lock or multi-lock targeting modes) and Impact Wave (deploys ultrasonic waves around G-SOPHIA, dealing damage and nullifying most projectile attacks).
  • Maneuver: Gaia-SOPHIA regains the Hover ability, which now enables space travel in addition to its usual benefits, prior to leaving the first planet. A second mandatory Maneuver, Recoil Jump, grants the battle tank the ability to jump off walls, providing a more efficient alternative to Hover for traversing vertical passages.
  • Passive: Gaia-SOPHIA (and the pilot) starts with an 8-pip P gauge and 100% SP capacity, but can double both maximum life and maximum SP via the acquisition of 8 Life Up upgrades (+1 maximum life per upgrade) and 5 SP Up upgrades (+20% maximum SP per upgrade).

Note: Gaia-SOPHIA's default capabilities, as well as its upgrades, are instead applicable to Giant Lola / Dragon Attacker while playing an EX Character Mode game.

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This article contains spoilers for the endgame of Blaster Master Zero 2.

Andreia[]

For almost the entirety of Area Ω, the player controls Eve instead of Jason. Like Jason, Eve can walk slowly, jump 2 blocks upward, crawl through half-block passages and climb ladders in Vehicle Mode, but will die instantly if she falls more than 3 blocks without grabbing a ladder or landing in water; unlike Jason, Eve only takes standard damage from side view mutants (rather than double damage), and she does not benefit from Life Up upgrades. The support droid is incapable of defeating mutants directly and must either avoid them (using Unchained DDF to slow their movements and make them easier to dodge) or drop crates on them from above with her I-HIX.

Once Eve reaches the far-right side of this area, she becomes the new pilot of NORA MA-02 "ANDREIA", informally known as Andreia. Andreia starts with an 8-pip P gauge which can be doubled via acquisition of 4 Life Up upgrades within Area Ω (+2 maximum life per upgrade); its 8-pip SP gauge passively regenerates SP, at a rate of 8 SP per 15 seconds, while the Metal Attacker is being actively piloted, but regains SP much faster via the Aqua System while the battle tank is submerged in clean water. Andreia is armed with a single main cannon mode, Crusher Shot, and three sub-weapons, Warhead Missiles (fires a spread of three missiles), Spark Tackle (charges forward while wreathed in electricity, but can only be used a single time in the air), and Water Bind (converts an enemy into a platform for a short time). In addition to possessing SOPHIA III's default mobility functions, this MA can jump a single time in mid-air using the Splash Booster Maneuver.

While piloting Andreia, Vehicle Mode gameplay consists of navigating rooms in search of Fred, Jason and Gaia-SOPHIA. As the battle tank's vertical mobility is limited, Water Bind must be used frequently to create platforms for use in surmounting high walls or climbing up vertical rooms, with Spark Tackle used occasionally to push these platforms into more favorable positions or dash over hazardous terrain. Pools of water can be utilized for quick SP recharges; however, polluted pools will not grant SP until Eve leaves the MA and purifies the polluting mutant with her I-HIX.

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