MvG viewer and JTV caster Chatia is doing reviews for each game she completes on her cast. This review is for the Sega Genesis title Ristar, which was previously reviewed by our own 13th_arcana! Enjoy the review, and be sure to watch Chatia’s casts Tuesdays & Thursdays at 7 PM EDT!
First things first, huge props to 13th_arcana for posting his article about Ristar on the MvG website. If not for that article, I never would have discovered such an awesome game. Everyone should read that article! (Yeah, go read that article for another review! http://bit.ly/f26r0x)
Ristar – The Best Game You’ve Never Played
Played On: Steam Emulator
Defeated: February 2011
Ristar was created by the same team that made the Sonic games, and you will notice right away that the look is very similar to Sonic. This is where the differences end however. Instead of using speed as a weapon, Ristar has his own bare hands! By grabbing and headbonking everything in sight, you will make your way from planet to planet. This mechanic of grabbing also provides unique platforming opportunities, as Ristar is capable of swinging around poles, trees, or even wall climbing.
Visually, Ristar is stunning! It is colorful and vibrant, and even though this game is quite old, its visuals hold up incredibly well. Each planet has a theme, and the creators did an excellent job giving each planet a distinct look, feel, and play mechanic. For instance, you do a lot of tree climbing in the forest stage, swimming in the water stage, and a snowball fight in the ice stage! The enemies are creative and fit into the worlds they live in perfectly. The developers also did an excellent job on all the little touches in this game. Ristar has a different “waiting” animation on every planet, which reflects the nature of that planet. For instance, he’ll wipe the sweat from his brow on the fire planet and build snowmen on the ice planet.
To make a long story short, the music is great in this game. In fact, one planet is wholly devoted to music! One of my favorite levels is the music planet, where you must give birds metronomes in order to pass, which causes them to sing. The boss fight involves knocking an off tune bird off the stage so the on tune bird can sing!
I played this game through on normal. The game comes with a hard mode, and if you get all the treasures, you unlock another mode harder than that! Keep in mind, as I am not a super duper gamer, I would put my skills below average on most platformers. On normal, the game was not too bad. There is a huge difficulty jump between the third and fourth planets that can be discouraging, but once you get past that, it’s not bad. I was able to beat most levels in what I consider a reasonable amount of time. The end boss of this game however.. well.. pardon my language but he’s a bitch. It took me an hour of struggle to get through him, and I really did feel like there was a huge difficulty jump between the last level and him.
This is where Ristar truly shines! The mechanic of using his arms to maneuver through his world is a very fun mechanic. The worlds are large and there are tons of ways to explore, including lots of different paths through each world. There are also multiple treasure boxes to find, and each level has a hidden bonus level, which must be beaten if you want to unlock the hardest stage of play. The boss fights are difficult until you figure out the mechanic and master it, but after that they are not too hard. The game is also very good at “teaching” you moves throughout the levels that you will need at the boss fights, which help with the difficulty curve. One of my favorite moments is one of the boss fights in the ice world. You have a snowball fight with a monster! This was truly innovative.
CNN Cast Highlight: Ristar’s Final Boss
Overall Rating – 5/5
Overall, this is an amazing game which has aged incredibly well. The best news? Buy it on steam for only $3, and it comes with an excellent emulator!
You can watch Chatia’s Nostalgia Network each Tuesday & Thursday at 7 PM EDT / 4 PM PDT, plus on select weekend days. Watch JTV’s own “CNN” at www.justin.tv/chatia12, and be sure to follow Chatia on twitter at twitter.com/chatia12.