Genesis Review – Ristar

ristarOnce again, I am writing about a game that I had no idea existed when I was growing up but discovered by accident during my rediscovery of retro video games. This one has a bit of history as apparently it was going to be the mascot to take over for Sonic the Hedgehog, but it didn’t sell as much as they hoped! This game certainly isn’t a Sonic game, but it does have some unique quirkiness going for it!

In terms of story, the game takes place in the Valdi star system. Kaiser Greedy, an awful space pirate, has used a mind-control machine to make the planet’s leaders bend to him his will! In addition, the legendary star hero has been kidnapped! So it is up to Ristar – the son of the legendary hero – to not defeat the evil Kaiser Greedy but also save his father! The game uses many slides in the intro (seen below) to tell this story, which I thought was great because it was a bit complicated for a platforming game.

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In terms of gameplay, this is a platforming game. You take control of Ristar and run, jump, and swim though large levels to get him to the exit. To combat enemies and overcome environmental obstacles Ristar has the unique ability to grab onto just about anything in a full eight directions! This ability allows him to grab enemies and smash his head into them, to grab items for consumption or to throw, and to interact with the environment like smashing to trees or grabbing a flying seeds to gain access to hidden areas! One of my favourites is using the ability to grab onto horizontal bars and swinging on them to get some massive jumps! The ability feels really good to use and allows for some fun and engaging puzzles throughout the game!

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There are 14 levels total split between 7 planets, and each one is quite large and incorporates unique way to employ Ristar’s grab abilities. For instance, the first planet is focused on climbing through trees and knocking them down, the second is almost completely underwater with quick currents, and the third takes place on a fire planet where you need to carry items to unlock gates! The game also has some special stages where your goal is to reach treasure as quickly as possible, often through some fun mini-games likes swinging on bars!

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Each planet also has a boss (seen below). These bosses were not overly difficult but add a nice degree of variety to the gameplay. Their designs were much more enjoyable and creative than the battles themselves.

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In terms of graphics, this game looks fantastic for a Genesis game, and still looks good by today’s standards. The game employs tons of colours to bring each of it’s levels to life. I found the levels the real showpiece of the game! The sprites still looked fine but were a little bit  generic apart from some of the bosses. In terms of music and sound effects, they were fine but were not exceptional. The music in Sonic the Hedgehog was much more memorable.

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In summary, this is 2D platforming game that employs unique mechanics and awesome graphics to bring the gameplay and game-world to life. Few games look this good on the Genesis!  If you have a Genesis and like 2D platforming games, I would highly recommend you check this one out! Overall, I give this game a final score of 8/10!

Final Score: 8/10

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