To me, Ristar is almost a platforming utopia: it features almost no frustrating bits, no sudden changes in difficulty, and no screwed up controls. There are very few games that I have played that are like this, and that is why I regard Ristar very highly. Using interesting gameplay features and colourful worlds, Ristar stands head and shoulders above most platformers of its time, and I’ll explain why.
The story of Ristar is simple. An evil ruler plans to take over a universe by controlling the minds of the various inhabitants of the planets. You play as Ristar, who is a freakish hybrid of a star and a black ball. This star freak thing has a strong sense of justice, and set out to stop the evil ruler dead in his tracks. It is not the most original storyline ever, but it is a platformer so you really don’t care.
The graphics on Ristar are really something. Each world is colourful and each have their own unique look to them. The sprites themselves are very well detailed, and throughout the game you can clearly see Ristar express a number of different facial expressions, depending on the situation. Many people may not wish to play this game because the graphics may make it look “kiddy”, so always remember that these people are morons who should be shot, preferably more than once.
The sounds and music are also perfectly matched in with the game’s style. The music fits in with the level environments very well and definitely makes the game feel more alive than it makes you reach for the mute button.
Now I have decided to leave talking about the actual gameplay ’til last; this may be because I am in a strange mood tonight, or it may be because I have just drunk two pints of absinthe—make up your own mind.
Ristar is equipped with a pair of stretchy arms that help him get through levels. He can do all kinds of things with these, from using them to reach high branches to helping him defeat enemies. He grabs onto his foes and releases the elastic energy in his arms, causing him to rocket forward and give the unlucky victim one hell of a headbutt that sends them flying ’round the screen. Each boss is interesting, with distinctive strategies to use. There are also some interesting puzzle elements, and some particularly cool parts which involve swinging ’round a pole to pick up speed, and then letting go to send you jetting off (most of the time in the wrong direction, in my case).
The game also features a lot of replayability. After getting all the chests in the game (and that is a bitch, let me tell you), you discover a password that unlocks different types of play, such as time attack mode and boss rush mode. You can also set the game onto hard mode for a real challenge, and if you do that then there are two secret game modes that are even harder, which are unlocked with the password system.
Overall, Ristar is an enormously fun platformer, with a lot of colorful characters, settings, and gameplay options. If you have a Genesis, then I highly suggest that you look for this game, and if you have a GameCube, then get Sonic Mega Collection, because this game is featured on that. If you are a PS2 or Xbox owner, then you’re going to have to wait for Sonic Mega Collection Plus to come out. Soon all the gaming world will have an opportunity to play Ristar; don’t turn it down, because I promise you that you will enjoy this rather strange adventure.