Although he's no threat to a particular Sega star who hogs the limelight, luscious graphics and a healthy dose of good old-fashioned hop-n-bop platform action make Ristar an up and comer in the video game heavens -- at least for beginning players.
- Slam Undertow's Hammerhead boss as he swims past When you knock all the corks loose, the water drains out, leaving Hammerhead high and dry.
- On Planet Flora, search inside little crevices for surprises -- some good, some bad.
So You Wanna Be a Star
Yet another alien being has invaded an innocent planet, and this time it's Planet Flora. You play as Ristar, a valiant, young... er... star-literally. Another cutesy little vie character, Ristar strolls across each planet, using his repertoire of special moves to free the brainwashed inhabitants.
Each of the seven planets that Ristar travels across has unique obstacles and enemies, such as Undertow, an underwater world with strong currents and deadly projectile-tossing lobsters, and Sonata, where the instrument inhabitants are less interested in making beautiful music than in drumming you into the ground.
- On Planet Scorch, you'll fight a boss that appears in a series of holes. Notice the order of his appearances and then destroy him in that order.
- On Planet Undertow, press Button C to swim rapidly to the right when you reach the area with the current. If you get caught, swim down into the gulley to avoid being washed away. When you reach the pipe, grab it to stop the current.
In a variation on the standard hop-n-bop theme, Ristar grabs and tosses enemies with his extending arms. His other gymnastics include swinging around poles, scaling ladders and walls, hanging, and swimming. When he locates special Star Handles, Ristar revs up and shoots across the screen in an invincible Meteor Strike -- often straight into special bonus rounds. The moves are simple one-button controls -- easy to manage and precise. The only complaint is that Ristar feels a little sluggish in comparison to lightning-fast characters like Sonic and his new buddy, Knuckles.
Starlight, Star Bright
Ristar's an extremely colorful game, with cartoony visuals that include clever enemies and backgrounds rich in detail.
Ristar's animations aren't as plentiful as other current platform stars, but he's a comical enough sprite. The tunes are standard video game fare -- original for each level and accompanied by cutesy sound effects, but nothing special.
Despite great looks and clever game play, Ristar's no match for experienced players. Playing at the toughest difficulty setting, veteran gamers won't even break a sweat until the last levels. Nevertheless, it's entertaining enough to be worth playing through once. Ristar won't be the supernova in this year's galaxy of games, but it's a good choice for less experienced star gazers.