It's been a long wait, but was it worth it?
Originally intended for development on the Xbox back in 2003, the arcade-style shoot 'em up, beat 'em up combo, The Red Star, has finally hit the shelves. The game was completed a number of years ago but publishers, Acclaim, went bankrupt and the game was pushed aside. In fact it looked as though The Red Star would never see the light of day, until XS games stepped in to resurrect the budget title and polish it up, but Acclaim’s budgetary restraints are clear to see in The Red Star, in it's graphics, level design and deluge of old ideas. If The Red Star had been released in 2003 it would still feel as though it had been released 10 years too late.
The Red Star is based on Christian Gossett's graphic novel of the same name and is set in a sci-fi fantasy universe. The game is based on an alternative Russia, where the Red fleet has unleashed a devastating attack on the republic. The tale follows Sorceress Major Maya Antares and her faithful guardian, combat and weapons expert Kyuzo, who have devoted their lives to the service and defence of the United Republics of the Red Star. Under the command of Sky Marshall Urik Antares, Maya and Kyuzo have led the crew of the Skyfurnace Konstantinov through countless battles. But now, while entrenched in the war to control the rogue Republic of Nokgorka, Maya and Kyuzo meet a Resistance Fighter named Makita. This ferocious young warrior holds the key to a dark conspiracy that reveals the entire U.R.R.S. to be under the control of the Dark Lord Imbohl and his chief assassin, Troika, the Harvester of Souls.
The Red Star's comic book heritage isn't enough to save what is quite frankly a dull, uninspiring, button bashing, repetitive side scrolling shoot 'em up, where practically every idea has been borrowed from a dozen games of the same ilk. If The Red Star was being released as an Xbox live arcade game, at a price it is actually worthy of - around £5 at my estimation - then perhaps I'd talk about the game slightly differently, but the fact that it's hitting retail with an ambitious £20 price tag is quite frankly ludicrous.