The Red Star (PS2)
If ever a game deserved a bigger audience, it's this one. Having survived the sort of development hell that would usually see a game brutally killed off after most of the hard work had been done, The Red Star battled its way into the shops to glowing reviews and, seemingly, not much else. Well, have YOU played it? Not many have, which is a real shame.
I've bought this twice... the first copy, I traded in (sealed) at Gamestation and was gutted to see they'd given me a quid for it. What a waste. I did, though, manage to pick it up again at Game for £2.98, which is excellent value and I'm not getting rid of it this time.
Here's what I originally thought of The Red Star...
I'll draw his fire, and you blast him. Oh, wait...
Based on a graphic novel (no, I haven't read it), it's a really imaginitive shoot 'em up, with elements of Alien Syndrome, Smash TV, Contra, bullet hell shooters and a few other games thrown in for good measure. It takes those games, ramps them all up to eleven, throws in some thrilling setpieces and surprises, and really makes you want to keep playing, not just to see what it'll throw at you next, but also because you're enjoying it so much.
This just reminds me of how much Ikaruga kicks my arse.
Playing it again has given me an even greater appreciation of the game. And there's some possible good news... it's been released on the PSP, and it seems that an iPhone/iPod Touch version is in the works with a release imminent. I hope they do a good job, because the game deserves more exposure, and more love. Oh, and there are three instalments of the graphic novel on the App Store right now... for free. Just search for The Red Star.
I'm really glad I spent that three quid at Game to get The Red Star for a second time... it's a fantastic shoot 'em up that's more than just that, and gives a guaranteed great time. I would still highly recommend you get this, if you have a machine that will play it. It's hugely deserving of its number nine spot on my list.