Blinx: The Time Sweeper
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|Blinx: The Time Sweeper|
|Publisher(s)||Microsoft Game Studios|
Blinx: The Time Sweeper is a platform game developed by Artoon and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released for the Xbox on October 7, 2002. A sequel, Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space, was released for the Xbox in 2004.
Advertised as "The World's First 4D Action Game", Blinx: The Time Sweeper is a third-person platform game, in which the player controls the titular character Blinx, an anthropomorphic cat, who is on a mission to prevent the end of Dimension B1Q64 and rescue its princess from the evil Tom-Tom Gang. Blinx is outfitted with the TS-1000 Vacuum Cleaner, with which he can exert control over time itself through five unique "Time Controls": slowing down time, speeding it up, recording himself, reversing time, and stopping it entirely via pausing.
The player takes on the role of Blinx, an anthropomorphic cat who works as a Time Sweeper at the Time Factory, a facility located outside of Time itself that is dedicated to the creation, distribution and maintenance of the flow of time throughout countless dimensions and the universe as a whole. Whenever Time Glitches are found in any part of a dimension, Time Sweepers like Blinx are dispatched to whatever dimension the Glitches are in to locate and correct them before they solidify into Time Crystals. If left unchecked, the Crystals will manifest themselves into Time Monsters, and said Monsters will roam freely among whatever dimension they're in, disrupting time and distorting whatever they come into contact with. However, when the Tom-Tom Gang, a malevolent army of pigs, begin to steal and destroy countless Time Crystals in a dimension known by the codename "B1Q64", it becomes unstable to the extent that the Time Sweepers decide, for the safety of all other dimensions, to halt the supply of time to it, suspending it and its inhabitants indefinitely. But when Blinx spots Princess Lena, the monarch of Dimension B1Q64, being held hostage by the Tom-Tom Gang, he enters the dimension via the Time Sweepers' Time Portal moments before it closes to rescue her.
Blinx's TS-1000 Vacuum Cleaner allows him to control time itself through six different "Time Controls": Rewind, Fast Forward, Pause, Record, Slow, and Retry.
To gain Time Controls, Blinx must first collect Time Crystals. Time Crystals appear as shining, floating, spinning crystals in the game world. Blinx can collect the Time Crystals in any order, but when he holds three of a particular Crystal, he gains one use of whatever Time Control it is, and if he holds four of a particular Crystal, he gains two uses of that Time Control. Said Time Controls are stored in the TS-1000, up to the maximum number of Time Holders Blinx possesses.
Blinx can trigger any of these first five Time Controls at any time:
- REW - Two purple chevrons pointing to the left. Time Crystal - Purple 'plus'. This causes time to run backwards for everything in the world except Blinx himself. Bridges and other elements previously destroyed can be restored with this Time Control no matter how long ago they were destroyed. Useful when there is a stream with a one-way current or you need to go up a waterfall.
- FF - Two orange chevrons pointing to the right. Time Crystal - Orange pyramid. This causes time to run rapidly forwards for everything in the world including Blinx. During FF, Blinx is invulnerable to damage from time monsters or environmental hazards: any contact will cause FF to be cancelled, and Blinx will be unharmed.
- PAUSE - Two light blue rectangles. Time Crystal - Blue crescent moon. This causes time to stop for everything in the world except Blinx. Scenery elements are frozen during PAUSE, and can be jumped on to reach hidden areas. Also, he cannot use switches and jump pads.
- REC - Green circle. Time Crystal - Green diamond. The first phase of REC is 10 seconds of 'recording' time, where Blinx is invulnerable to all damage, and can move as normal. When 10 seconds has elapsed (or Blinx has been lost to an unrecoverable environmental hazard), the world and Blinx will be rewound backwards for 10 seconds, and the same period of time will be played. During this 'playback', the actions taken by Blinx during the 'recording' will be shown as a green ghost, allowing for enhanced combat tactics to be used, or puzzles that would require two players to be solved(such as a seesaw).
- SLOW - Yellow triangle pointing to the right. Time Crystal - Yellow star. This causes time to run slowly for everything in the world except Blinx. Scenery elements are slowed during SLOW, and can be jumped on to reach hidden areas.
There is a sixth Time Control, called RETRY. This Time Control cannot be triggered manually, it is triggered automatically when Blinx is knocked out by an enemy or lost to an infinite chasm. If Blinx holds no RETRYs when he is knocked out, the game is over.
- RETRY - Red heart. Time Crystal - Red heart. RETRY causes everything in the world, including Blinx, to rewind to a point before Blinx lost a life.
Blinx can hold any combination of REW, FF, PAUSE, REC or SLOW up to the number of Time Holders he possesses. He begins with three Time Holders, but you can gain up to 10 as the game progresses. The Time Control RETRY requires a special type of Time Holder, called a Retry Holder. Blinx begins the game with three Retry Holders, but can hold up to nine (an allusion to the lore that cats have nine lives).
In each stage, Blinx must travel from the Start Gate to the Ending Gate, eliminating all Time Monsters that exist on the stage. Each level has a time limit of 10 minutes.
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There are bosses Blinx has to fight at the end of all 9 rounds (Excluding Momentpolis, as the Boss stage is the only stage in this world). The bosses are stronger forms of certain enemies that Blinx sees in the same rounds that the bosses are in. Every time a time monster is defeated, it drops gold that will disappear after a period of time.
- Dust Keeper- Appears in Time Square. The Dust Keeper is a yellow blob monster with no legs but a big round blobby texture with numbers all over its body and has a normal sized body with arms. Its head has a short green beard with its fangs sticking out and horns on top. The Dust keeper carries a staff that creates trash to throw at Blinx. Its attacks involve shooting trash, launching a 16-ton weight and other trash or jumping on Blinx. The best way to defeat it is to shoot where it is going to land or waiting until it weakens itself by casting a 16-ton weight at Blinx.
- Kerogon I- Appears in Deja Vu Canals. The Kerogon I is a giant frog like monster with fangs, a lizard tail followed by spikes, and a pointy arrow shaped thing on the top of its head. The Kerogon I's attacks involve shooting trash from its mouth, and jumping up in the air to land on Blinx. The Kerogon I cannot be hit in the face by trash because it eats whatever Blinx shoots at it and gets bigger and slower. The only way to defeat the Kerogon I is to attack from behind, or to shoot trash into its mouth to make it bigger, and slower. The best way to defeat it is to use either pause or slow to get behind it and shoot.
- Molesaur- Appears in Hourglass Caves. The Molesaur is a fish monster that has three mouths. The Molesaur hides underneath the consistently rising hourglass sand and attacks Blinx from below. It can be hit easily when it eats one of the 5 small platforms placed around the arena in a pentagon shape. It is also known as Sandworm. The best way to defeat it is to stand in the sand or on one of the platforms until it gets near you, then move out of the way when it rises to eat you and shoot it.
- Dust King- Appears in Forgotten City. Looks just like the Dust Keeper, but is red and has 2 staffs. The Dust King was seen in the introduction scene of the game. The arena is in midair made up of hexagon shaped tubes. An important note to make is that the Dust King can re-shape the terrain after he has been hit by one of Blinx's trash projectiles, this means that the arena will be constantly changing. The Dust Herder can do the same attacks as the Dust keeper but it has more attacks. It can shoot trash rapidly towards Blinx, thus weakening itself and making for an easy shot. When half of its life is gone, one of his staffs breaks leaving him with only one staff, after this point instead of rapidly shooting trash the Dust King will rapidly bounce towards Blinx one hexagon tile at a time, this will tire it out and make him vulnerable.
- Juggernaut I- Appears in Temple of Lost Time. The Juggernaut is a robot made of slime using junk as its parts. The slime robot's face is a pig nose shape with two arrows pointing downward on each side. The arena is a stone square platform surrounded by a spiked floor. The Juggernaut I can transform into a ball and roll at Blinx. In ball form, the robot is invincible. When it rolls into the spikes, the robot will teleport back to his starting position and will be open for a shot. When the robot gets hit, some of its parts disappear and 3 robotic slime balls appear from the robot. In the level, the robot can make a total of 12 slime balls. When the robot transforms back into a ball, any remaining slime balls revolve around it. The Juggernaut I is defeated when all of its parts are gone and all what is left is the face that slowly fades away.
- Kerogon II- Appears in Mine of Precious Moments. The Kerogon II is orange. This boss, has the same attacks as its previous version such as spitting trash at the player. However if the Kerogon II eats up to its maximum of 3 pieces of trash, it will spit out the same amount of trash it was fed. One difference from its predecessor that Kerogon II starts spitting barrels that roll out at Blinx before it becomes vulnerable. At some points in the battle, Kerogon II will jump into the middle of the stage and start bashing its tail into the ground of the floating arena, this will dislodge some of the outer pieces of the arena, causing them and any time crystals on these platforms to fall into the abyss. After a certain amount of hits Kerogon II will start to charge at Blinx instead of rolling barrels out at him. When the Kerogon II has a red aura around it for more than 5 seconds, it will charge at Blinx and follow him. This attack is extremely unavoidable unless Blinx shoots trash into the Kerogon II's mouth to make it big and slow (which is not recommended as this makes him a larger monster to dodge), or use the slow time crystal. Shooting the Kerogon II from behind is the key strategy to defeating this boss.
- Hydrosaur- Appears in Everwinter. This giant blue fish creature is very cowardly and hides a lot. The Hydrosaur's battle field is a big icey and snowy arena. The Hydrosaur can jump out of the water and create a shockwave to blow Blinx out of the arena and into the freezing water. But if Blinx does not fall in, he can use a pause and then hit him. The only other time the Hydrosaur is vulnerable is when it is eating the snow clumps. Every hit after the second the Hydrosaur takes, it destroys one platform of the arena which Blinx stands on so Blinx better choose wisely! It is also known as the Ice King.
- Juggernaut II- Appears in Forge of Hours. This robot has red slime now. As Blinx enters the arena, the metal pig nosed face appears, it forms a humanoid slime body, then takes every piece of junk off the arena, forming the robot. The arena is a circular machinery platform that moves and changes in different ways. Juggernaut II in ball form is twice as big as the last one, and might roll towards Blinx more than once. Unlike Juggernaut I, Juggernaut II is not vulnerable until all three slime balls it creates are destroyed. After the first hit, it starts controlling the arena and making it move. Juggernaut II starts losing its color once half of its life is gone. Just like the Juggernaut I, its face is all what is left then fades away when it is defeated.
- Mystery Boss- Appears in Momentopolis. This ghost-like monster is almost impossible to defeat. When Blinx catches up with the TomToms on massive chains they suddenly stop and turn around. Blinx carries on going towards the arena; all he sees is a couple of stones. The stones then start to float and form a ghostly body with the little arm detached from the body is floating and the big arm attached it has a clock for an eye slowly changing all the colours then it takes all of the player's current crystals and controls then sends the player back using REW to fight the bossses from stage 4,6,7 and 8. After the player defeats them the player will be in the shop. If the player has collected all the Cat Medals, he/she can buy the Ultimate Sweeper lvl 4 to suck up sand, 16 ton weights and water. If the player can't afford it or haven't got the medals, he/she should buy the Flame Sweeper instead, because it can set the boss on fire and do increased damage. The boss can re-steal your crystals and use them against you as well. The clock on it will stay a time crystal's color for a period of time (1 to 2 minutes) before using it. It can also spawn bombs that are about to explode. Quickly use pause to suck up 1 bomb before it absorbs the crystals power then find its weak spot and shoot it after defeating this boss it will glow white and light will shoot out from it then it will explode revealing the princess in a transparent blue bubble then the credits roll after Blinx goes back to the time factory where he gets a big welcome home party!
Blinx the Mascot
GameSpy suggests that Blinx was proposed as a possible mascot for the Xbox system, rivaling Nintendo's Mario, Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog, Sony's Crash Bandicoot, Namco's Pac-Man, and Capcom's Mega Man since the main character of Halo: Combat Evolved (Master Chief) was considered too violent (and also lacking in identity behind a visor). Due to the game's unpopularity, it never achieved the suggested goal and Master Chief is unofficially seen as the mascot, though Blinx was in fact proposed as the mascot for the Xbox in Japan for a while.
Blinx was met with average reception upon release, as GameRankings gave it a score of 73.09%, while Metacritic gave it 71 out of 100. GameSpy included the game in its "Most Overrated Games Ever" feature. Although the graphics were generally praised, the game's execution, notably the control method, was considered to have resulted in the game being too difficult. Saleswise, by 2003, 156,000 copies were sold. In 2003, Blinx also entered the Platinum Hits range (as part of the all-age Platinum Family Hits).
GameSpot editor Greg Kasavin gave it a score of 6.3 out of 10, noting that players get a sense of relief from completing a level, rather than enjoyment or satisfaction. Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it 7.5/5.5/8: the second reviewer found the game to be tedious and repetitive, but the third believed that "issues aside, the unique style and play mechanics make [it] stand out". In Japan, Famitsu gave it a score of 31 out of 40.
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