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Video Game / The Red Star

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The Red Star is a 3D Side View Beat 'em Up game, loosely based on a Graphic Novel by Christian Gossett, which takes place in an alternative future Soviet Union where there's magic. It was originally slated for a 2004 release on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, though following its publisher's bankruptcy it would only see release on the PS2 in 2007. In 2010, it was also ported to PlayStation Portable (lacking multiplayer in this version) and iOS.

There's three playable characters:

  1. Makita, a Nokgorkan rebel who emphasizes speed and fast melee combos.
  2. Kyuzo, bodyguard who is slow but does a lot of damage.
  3. Maya, a "warkaster" (fancy name for war sorcerer) who gets more powerful when the protocol meter is filled. Unlocked after the game has been beaten once.

The game at first appears to be a 3D Contra-ish game with Beat 'em Up elements, but then you reach the first mini-boss. The camera changes to an overhead view, and you suddenly get bullet patterns fired at you. This happens for about nine out of ten bosses in the game, with up to five bosses per stage for 19 stages.

The Red Star was the last game developed by Acclaim before its first bankruptcy. It was eventually published by XS Games, one of Zenimax Media's (Bethesda Softworks' parent company) budget game publishing labels.

This game provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Makita, who is the best character in the game when it comes to melee attacks. Maya qualifies too, though she mostly lets her magic do the talking from a distance.
  • Big Bad: Troika, who also serves as the giant Final Boss of the game.
  • Bullet Hell: Not all, but the vast majority of the boss fights become this. Complete with a perspective shift to the standard vertical shmup top-down view.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Two players can team up against everything the game throws at you. Can be slightly disadvantageous in some of the Bullet Hell fights, as the characters can block each other.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: Many bosses take this form.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Susk Marauder shows up unexpectedly and is very different from everything else you fight in the game, being a giant insect and one of the very few bosses in the game that's not mainly a Bullet Hell style boss.
  • Kill It with Fire: One of Kyuzo's weapons is a flamethrower.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Makita is the fastest character, and has no problems racking up damage. The character select screen even labels her "Speed".
  • Mission Control: Urik. Only seen in the stage intermissions.
  • Mighty Glacier: Kyuzo is slow, but makes up for it with serious firepower and the highest defense. Fittingly, he's labeled "Strength" in the character select.
  • Mooks: As expected from the type of game, you'll be taking out a whole lot of them.
  • More Dakka: Most mini-bosses and bosses. Because, duh, Bullet Hell. Kyuzo's machine gun is going for it too.
  • New Game Plus: When you beat the game and save, you get to start at Chapter 01 again with all purchased upgrades carried over. You're not going to get everything maxed in the first playthrough, so...
  • Non-Indicative Name: The Crawling Plague? It's an RPG launcher, not a bioweapon.
  • Sequential Boss: Sentry, Kontrawall II through IV, Pietrov Rotorkannon F2 through F4, Ikarius.
  • Shout-Out:
    • By the boatload. The whole game is a love letter to old arcade action. The most obvious are Kontrawall and Ikarius.
    • A surprising reference to Zoolander of all things: the third mission has a pair of tanks called "Blue Steel" and "Magnum."
  • Stationary Boss: Most just sit there and fire at you.
  • The Grim Reaper: Skeletal, ghostly enemies with capes and scythes appear in the penultimate and final stages, and Troika himself seems to be going for the look.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Troika is stated to be the chief assassin of the Dark Lord Imbohl in the manual, but said Dark Lord doesn't show up in the game.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level: Yes, actually. Chapter 08 is a sidescolling shmup battle against the Hydra SuperKrawl. It's one of the less enjoyable levels, though.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Kyuzo's protocol attack is essentially a handheld one.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: Multi-kilometer-long Magitek airships called "Sky-furnaces".