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Ristar the Shooting Star

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Released: 1995

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: Game Gear

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sonic Team

Submitted by: Ryan Davies

Now before you all start with the "This one's been done!"-isms, this is the GAME GEAR version. You know, that handheld thing. And as is often the case with 16-bit to 8-bit conversions, there are several differences here.

Firstly, there's the name itself. This isn't Ristar, this is Ristar the Shooting Star. For an 8-bit title, it's very nice-looking (considering Ristar is one of the nicest looking games on the Mega Drive). The storyline and title sequence thing, they're intact, and Ristar's animation still looks nice-ish. He has a permanently bemused look on his face in this version, rather than the "angry star" look of the Mega Drive one.

Grafficks and muzak and all that aside, there's more differences here to get your nasty little teeth around. There's stars everywhere! All over the levels! Get a hundred of these, and it's an extra life. Smart. The levels are slightly different too. Obviously they're structured differently, but some of them are COMPLETELY different.

The water level from the Mega Drive one? That's now a pirate ship sort of thing, which features some bizarre Birdo-esque thing as a boss (pictured!). And that snow level? That's now a clock level, of course. And instead of a snow monster for the boss, there's a robot cat. He's funny looking.

No more hidden bonus rounds in this one. No, they just pop up every couple of levels, so the search-around aspect is gone. And the challenge of getting a good height bonus at the end of each level, that's gone too. Not completely, you can still get a height bonus, it's just not that hard to get the maximum score. You know how in the Mega Drive one, he bounces off the top of the screen when he gets so high? Just aim straight up from the Star Handles in this game, and he shoots off the top of the screen. 10,000 points on a plate for you there, people!

All in all, it's a nice alternative. It could be considered a sequel, as it's certainly different enough to the original to be called its own game. And I've just realised I've been writing this assuming that everyone is familiar with the intricasies of the Mega Drive game. Silly me.