Sunsoft left the Blaster Master franchise alone for years after the last game, hoping the bad taste Blaster Master 2 left was washed out of people’s mouths by now. The release of Blaster Master: Enemy Below was somewhat sudden and something of a surprise. At first, BM:EB appears to be a carbon copy of the original Blaster Master.
There are eight areas, and each of them look exactly the same as their respective Blaster Master counterparts. Sprites from Blaster Master are reused and even the music, although in lo-tech Game Boy form, is all taken from the original. However, underneath the surface, there are prominent differences. BM:EB is like a remixed version of the original; the area layouts are completely changed, and additions are added to make the game arguably longer and harder.
BM:EB adds a mandatory reason for you to go in dungeons other than the boss’s. Each area’s boss dungeon door is locked, and in order to gain access to them, you have to find a key (or later in the game, two keys) hidden in one of the other dungeons. Therefore, it’s not enough just to find the boss’s lair this time around. You still earn extra parts for you tank after defeating bosses, but now you can also collect optional parts for both Sophia and Jason. The extra parts are pretty helpful and make it a little easier to get through this pretty challenging game. As with Blaster Master 2, but not quite to that extent, you have to spend more time in the overworld as Jason, but you acquire an overworld gun upgrade for him later that makes him less wimpy.
There is one alteration to the controls in the dungeon sections; you can no longer move diagonally like in Blaster Master. Otherwise, the control is the same as the original. To keep the game from being too difficult, BM:EB has unlimited continues and a password feature so you can pick up where you left off at a later time. I like to think of BM:EB as the Blaster Master equivalent of the original Legend of Zelda‘s Second Quest. It looks and feels the same as the first, yet it’s still something different from what you’re used to. It’s a solid game and a good revival title for the Blaster Master series, but it doesn’t really offer anything truly “new” like an entirely fresh sequel would, especially to those who have played the first.
Metafight EX again has an entirely different story from BM:EB. While the latter deals with the continued adventures of Jason and Sophia, the former has something to do with monsters attacking again way after the first Metafight. Leonardo Gardner, the descendant of the original’s Kane Gardner, is charged with the task of taking them out. This time, Metafight EX has its own separate intro sequence to convey its story, and both games have slightly different ending sequences. As far as actually gameplay, both versions are the same thing.