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Video Game: Starblade

StarBlade (not to be confused with the Atari St / Amiga adventure game) is an early polygonal Rail Shooter developed and published by Namco in 1991. It is part of a loose series along Galaxian 3, Attack of the Zolgear and the space flight game Star Ixiom.


Plot

A mechanized alien task force spearheaded by the Death Star-like structure Red Eye has entered the Federation's space and is fast-approaching the Federation's home planet. In response the Federation scramble several fighters unit to attack Red Eye and destroy its power reactor, Octopus. The player is a gunner aboard one such fighter, GeoSword.


Mechanics

The game is a fairly simplistic Rail Shooter. The player control a crosshair overlaid on the screen and shoot enemies. There are no branching paths, no alternate weapons, Geosword's movement is completely automated and survival is limited to shooting enemies before they shoot you.
Ports
Contemporary ports were released for the Sega CD, the 3DO and the Playstation (as Starblade Alpha). The Sega CD version used coloured wireframe models due to the add-on's limitations, while the Playstation and 3DO versions more accurately replicated the original arcade graphics and included a mode with textured graphics. However, the background and larger objects were made part of a single continuous FMV instead of being rendered in real time.

The game was later featured as the loading screen minigame of Tekken 5's home port, and a full port of it can be unlocked. It was also released on the Virtual Console, though only in Japan.
Aborted Sequel

A sequel titled StarBlade: Operation Blue Planet was in development and made it to the location test phase in 2001, before being scrapped The game sported a stylized, Rez-like take of the original's untextured graphic and made us of the ORBS system, a cabinet set-up which had the player enclosed into a sphere.

Namco later released a video of a full playthrough of the location test build as part of the USFG website and a scaled-down version of the ORBS technology was used for Mobile Suit Gundam: Bonds of the Battlefield.


This game contains the following tropes.

  • Direct Continuous Levels: The game never takes control away from the player, apart from two shorts cutscenes playing when reaching Red Eye and leaving it.
  • Full Motion Video: The arcade version was rendered in realtime, but the home ports instead used FMV backgrounds with enemy models and projectiles overlaid.
  • Final Boss Preview: The enemy flagship commander appears several times during the course of the game, taking potshots at the player and fleeing before it can be destroyed. It is eventually fought as the final boss.
  • Reactor Boss: Octopus and the Collosus' reactor.
  • Tech Demo Game: Featured advanced (for the time) polygonal graphics rendered in realtime at a consistent 60 FPS.
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