My Impressions of Red Star

Yesterday afternoon was quite an adventure for me. I was in the middle of running errands around town (stopping at Blockbuster, sending some mail, grocery shopping) when I got a flat tire. I got the spare tire on and headed to Wal-Mart for get a new tire. (I have their protection plan so I get replacements for free).

So while I was there waiting for them to work on my car, I did my grocery shopping and then headed to the electronics department to burn some time. When I got there, there was a teenage guy playing the XBox demo machine. The game looked fairly familiar, but I asked him what he was playing. He confirmed my suspiciouns as he answered “Red Somethinorother” (aka Red Star).

I had seen previews for this game before and it caught my eye since it looked to be a modern day take at the side scrolling beatemup genre with some shooting. The early glances I had of this game previously looked interesting, but nothing that really impressed me. But of course, this was in the first half or last year.

But the game that I was witnessing seemed to have filled out a lot. The fighting wasn’t incredibly deep, but it was fresh considering the genre — beatemups can be quite repetitive. The graphics were 3D, slick, and colorful. However, the gameplay was still on a true 2D field. It was as I envisioned the games of the future as a kid in the early 90’s.

One of the biggest surprises to me was how much certain parts of the game (primarily the bosses) were just like a traditional 2D space shooter. The art of dodging bullets was given new life yet again. While the parts I played were quite simplified compared to games like Ikaruga or Mars Matrix, but its was good fun nonetheless.

I found it especially entertaining that there was a crowd of about 5 teenagers watching the demo and they were facsinated by it as if they had never played a shooter before. Not to mention I have never seen a crowd of any kind around a Wal-Mart demo machine.

While the game didn’t seem to be a challenging game for a fighter/shooter aficianado, it was well-rounded. I also assume the demo displayed the early levels of the game and would eventually become more challenging.

One final thing that caught me off-guard was the fact that I thought this game was still looking for a publisher since Acclaim went bankrupt. I thought this gem was canned unless somebody would take it off their hands. So why there is a demo for the game in stores, I’m not sure. I didn’t see it on the shelves.

I’ll continue to look into it.

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