Together Retro Game Club: Ristar
Presented by: Fastbilly1, Marurun, & Racketboy
New To Together Retro? Check out the introduction to the club
Welcome to the second entry in the Together Retro Game Club. After the challenge of the first two club installments of Defender and Kid Icarus, we thought we would have something a bit more lighthearted but still full of fun. And now that we are progressing to the 16-bit era, we thought that Ristar would be a worth candidate that not everyone has played.
Ristar also ended up being one of the four choices in the recent forum poll to decide this installment’s fate. The Sega favoritism showed its dominance as Ristar and Toe Jam & Earl battled it out for the top spot. After a long battle, Ristar reigned supreme. (the others may be revisited later on)
About The Game
Ristar is a bit of an anomaly of a Genesis/Mega Drive title. Released near the end of the systems life in 1995, the concept of the game was one considered for what would become Sonic the Hedgehog( see quote from Yuji Naka). Even though the concept was revisited and Ristar received his own game, this shooting star was unfortunately overshadowed by the Sega Saturn and its platformers like Clockwork Knight and Astal (granted, neither of those series went anywhere either)
Taking place in the Valdi galaxy, Ristar must stop the evil Greedy’s minons who have kidnapped the seven planets leaders, including Ristar’s father. Running with the cliché, save the galaxy plot, as opposed to the simple “save the planet” or “save the girl” storys that were cliché at the time, Ristar delivers a fun and mind melting romp through varied locales.
Unlike the eponymous plumber of platformers, Ristar does not stomp his enemies to death. Instead the shooting star reaches out with his hands and grabs a hold of his enemies, then either throws them or headbutts them to kingdom come. This mechanic leads to some very interesting stages and puzzles. Ristar can grab onto many objects and enemies throughout each stage, some more obvious than others, so there are some very cleverly hidden special areas.
As Ristar, you must use your arms as your weapons, grabbing onto whatever you can — to destroy things, to advance to new places, to get cool secrets. You can grab onto flying enemies, who will bring you to previously unreachable places. You can nimbly swing from poles and branches, among other things, without your feet ever touching the ground for moments at a time. Needless to say, Ristar will keep you fascinated for quite a while if you give it a chance.
Difficulty is roughly standard for a platformer of the time. Starting with some mind numbingly easy stages, it ramps up to some dastardly factory complexes and sound puzzles that can seem impossible at first. However with a few tries most gamers should fly through 90% of the game in a couple hours. You will notice that even though you can take up to five hits, the bosses can be troublesome (especially Greedy). All seven of them are as varied as their worlds and make for a great way to end out each set of stages.
Ristar is pretty and fun, what more could you really want?
Genesis original is obviously the choice most people will go for (the Japanese and US versions do have several differences. However there are other options on a variety of modern platforms. Ristar been released in several compilations (Sonic Mega Collection, Sega Genesis collection) and is available on the Wii Virtual Console.
Keep in mind that on the Sega Mega Collections, Ristar needs to be unlocked to be played. So the Sega Genesis Collection is ideal for PS2 owners. (This completion will come in handy for future Together Retro installments as well)
Emulation for Ristar
If you don’t have an Sega Genesis/Megadrive or the compilations Ristar is available on, emulation is are very viable option. Genesis emulators are becoming quite common for most devices made in the last five years or so. Most emulators will also let you use “save states” that will allow you to save your spot in the game. If you need assistance setting up any emulator, please post your question in the Emulation section of the forum
How To Play / Controls
Like most platformers, the controls in Ristar are quite straightforward. The only real thing that you have to get use to is the reaching/grabbing mechanic. (Check out full Ristar Manual for the PAL release)
- Directional Pad – Move (utilizes all 8 ways)
- A – Jump
- B – Reach
Together Retro Discussion
Instead of posting in the comments section of the blog, we will be using the forum for all of our discussion in order to keep things more organized. So play Ristar and talk to us about your thoughts and play experiences in the forums. We want to know your tactics, your strategies, your successes and your failures.