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Pulstar is a scrolling shooter video game developed by Aicom for the Neo Geo arcade/home game system. Depending on who you ask, it is either a quality tribute to or an outright rip-off of the R-Type series. There are rumors that the game was developed by ex-Irem staff who joined Aicom.
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Story:

In the year 2248, the first recorded sign of extraterrestrial life was discovered coming from Mars. The signal emanated from the planet and from it an object travelled through space at light speed out of the Solar System. Earth scientists read the signal, but not knowing the nature of it, warned the world's defenses in case aliens traced the signal and followed it to Earth with the intent to destroy.

Eight years later, aliens followed the signal to the Solar System and began attacking the human space craft awaiting them along Neptune’s orbit. The battle between the humans and aliens spread throughout the Solar System; within two years of combat, Neptune was disintegrated, Jupiter was turned into a star and more than half of Earth's continents sank from rising ocean levels and the planet's changing axis as a result. Kaoru Yamazaki, lone fighter pilot of the Dino246, is one of the few survivors of the Pulstar attack force founded to save the Solar System from the alien invaders; it is through her that mankind may have a chance to survive the alien menace.

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Has a Spiritual Successor, Blazing Star.


Tropes used for this game:

  • Battleship Raid: The Stage 3 boss as per R-Type tradition. The first half of Stage 4 is a scaled-down version of this.
  • Button Mashing: Your primary rapid-fire attack gets stronger if you mash the attack button really fast.
  • Camera Screw: Some of the game's visual setpieces are set in the foreground in front of the gameplay layer, which can potentially obstruct your view of your ship or enemies.
  • Charged Attack
  • Charge Meter: In addition of showing you how much you charged for the Charged Attack, it also shows you how much Button Mashing you do.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Stage 3 "Fire Prominence" note , the not-quite sun.
  • Gravity Screw: Purely cosmetical in the Stage 2 with bodies of water and waterfalls.
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  • Nintendo Hard: This game expects you to be able to memorize entire stages, which have sparse checkpoints and brutal enemy patterns. Dying to a boss in particular not only boots you back to the last checkpoint, but often that last checkpoint is about a minute or so from the boss, so you have to slog through cruel enemy patterns just to take another shot at the boss. Don't be surprised if you burn through your wallet just trying to get past the first three or even two stages.
  • Please Wake Up: The continue screen, where the main character's ship's onboard computer begs her to "wake up." Continuing magically revives her.
  • Power Pincers: The Iconic giant claws from R-Type? Present. Except they move here, and can kill you.
  • Smart Bomb: By sacrificing your Force to detonate a large explosion.
  • Space Clouds: The theme of Stage 7 "Darkness Nebula".
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: Solar Eclipse on the background in Stage 3. A little funny considering where Stage 3 is set.

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