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Starblade Alpha
  opened by paleface at 22:14:01 08/31/03  
  last modified by paleface at 12:27:18 03/05/24  
  paleface [sys=PS1; cat=Shooter_3D; reg=NA]
I guess I must have got this because I was on a major shooter binge and it was cheap and looked decent and was some sort of shooter--a rail shooter to be precise, where the ship flies along for you and you just man the nose cannon, like in those old wireframe Star Wars arcade games. In fact it's pretty much just like those old Star Wars games except with flatshaded color polygons and annoying digitized voices on your "radio." This was probably cool in the Starblade arcade cabinet where your seat like shook when you were hit but my chair doesn't shake so it's just not right somehow.
'Cause in the arcade that cabinet must have been shakin' like the boat was a-rockin', if you catch my drift, since you're pretty much being hit constantly. At least with the DualShock pad, I don't care how good you are, the game throws more shots at you at once than you can possibly counter, so it's just this gradual nicking away at your life meter and the key is to shoot well enough that you have a sliver of life left by the end. Call me crazy (hey, that hurts) but I prefer something like Rez where if you're good enough you *can* avoid getting hit, in theory (I say that because I'm not that good).
Speaking of Rez, a few of the "boss" encounters here involve being in a big cave spinning around some kind of core while shooting off its defenses as it sends projectiles at you--just like in Rez! No lie. I wonder if the Rez designers were big Starblade Alpha fans. Hey, yeah they must have played it with the rumble seat in the arcade, that would explain why they came up with that whole Trance-Vibrator thing! Gad, I'm a genius.
Not that Starblade has noteworthy music or anything. You shoot your way through for about 20 minutes and get to the end if you're good enough and that's it except that I guess if you just hadn't had enough yet you could play through again in the other mode, since the game comes with both the original flatshaded arcade mode and then the graphically tweaked, textured PlayStation version that plays just the same but with spiffier graphics.
"Just the same" isn't quite accurate though, I think, because it seemed to me that the aiming control was even less responsive in the textured version, I guess that would be because the framerate is probably a smidge lower. Even in the untextured version the control is pretty dire--lack of analog aiming really hurts this baby.
It looks purty though, particularly for a game that came out in that first quick year ('94) of the PS1's life--only, if you're playing it for the graphics, don't play past the first scene because after the glory of a solar lens flare flashing behind a massive, gas-jetting star cruiser, they suddenly lose all the graphical flair and the game is pretty much just as plain looking as the original version, only with blocky textures instead of flat colors. And really you're probably best served by quitting after scene one because by quitting then you'll avoid the headache that will ensue from the constant shooting/getting hit laser sounds and flashing screen.
'How do we show the player they've been hit?'
'Make the screen flash.'
'Won't that be annoying after ten seconds?'
'Who cares? They already bought the game!'
'Oh, right! Haha!'
Okay it's not really that bad but it could have been less irritating. If you can transport yourself back to 1994 and also get this for under $5, the COOL GRAFIX will blow you away and you'll love it, otherwise you might want to pass it by.

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