A Hidden Gem
RISTAR was the second game I ever got on my Game Gear way back in the '90s and it was the first one I dug out of storage when I finally recapped my old Game Gear a few days ago. The game itself is a platformer that puts you in the place of the titular character Ristar, a child of the Star Goddess Oruto, who is awakened from a deep slumber to save the Valdi Star System from the space pirate Kaiser Greedy. Instead of relying on attacks like jumping on your enemy's head (like a certain mustachioed plumber) or smashing into them with a Blast Processing-enhanced Spin Dash (akin to an azure mammal), Ristar grabs hold of his enemies with his extendable arms and physically smashes into them with his body. This smash-and-go technique is central to the gameplay, as Ristar has to navigate vertical shafts, swing around poles, and flip his way across platforms. Mastering the smash-and-go is key and really was a neat mechanic back in those days. Even today, the game holds up well as a decent challenge, though it can be beaten readily enough if you've kept your retro-gaming skills honed over the years. As much as I'd like to give this game 5/5 stars, I can't. The game does get VERY repetitive VERY fast. While the levels themselves do present certain unique challenges, the enemies are all pretty straightforward and limited. This game DOES shine, however, during boss battle segments. Each boss has its own strategy and some of them can present a respectable challenge - the battle with Adahan took a couple of tries before I got the hang of it and I figured out Awaueck by accident. All in all, highly recommended gem.
Reviewed by: Jeff from A Haunted House, USA on 5/22/2018