Didn’t expect this didn’t you, but here’s a tidbit of Sonic’s history. Yuji Naka explains how one of Sonic’s earliest designs was a Rabbit with stretchable ears that could pick up objects, but then the Rabbit design was changed to a Hedgehog. However, the Rabbit design and concept wasn’t completely abandoned as they made a prototype called Feel, but eventually, the stretchable ears would become stretchable arms, the character had some alterations and would eventually become the character we know today.
Ristar, known in Japan as Ristar the Shooting Star (リスター・ザ・シューティングスター Risutā za Shūtingu Sutā), developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega, it was released in 1995 worldwide. And oh boy, was it poor timing as 1995 was the release of the Sega Saturn, so most people gravitated to that console…or the PlayStation, but either way, Ristar was abandoned by many until years later thanks to the re-release of the game in various compilations.
Just like Gunstar Heroes and Knuckles’ Chaotix, the game has separate stories, a Japanese plot and an English plot. Both stories are set in the Valdi Solar System and the main villain, Kaiser Greedy, who wants to brainwash the rulers of different planets.
In the Japanese version, the main villain Greedy, is going to mind-control the elder of Planet Neer, Rhio. The people pray for help and it gets the attention of the Star Goddess, Oruto, who awakens her son, Ristar, to get off his ass and defeat Greedy.
But the English version completely removes Oruto and is replaced with Ristar’s father “figure”, the Legendary Hero, who gets kidnapped by Greedy, and Ristar is off to save him.
I prefer the Japanese plot, having a goddess adds a lot of mystique to it…BUT NAH, TOO COMPLEX FOR THE IDIOTIC WEST!
The game is a platformer where the most unique aspect of the game is that Ristar can stretch his arms in eight directions. He can grab most enemies and headbutt them, and can also grab and throw objects as well. These elements will be used throughout the game. You can find these handles that will let you spin around and around until you launch all over the place at the speed of sound, and you’re invincible for a short period of time.
On the short, the game is good…but not great. The game looks absolutely fantastic, probably the best looking game for the Sega Mega Drive, nothing compares, the gameplay is quite fun too…but a lot of the aspects I consider to be OK at best, I got bored with the game near the end, it’s not the difficulty that hampers my experience, I liked the challenge, but something about it doesn’t hype me up for it like other people, maybe it’s the fact that the extendable arms mechanic becomes repetitive overtime. I know what you’re saying, “you do realise it’s not supposed to be Sonic”, I know it’s not supposed to be Sonic, in fact I’m judging it on it’s own merits. And I did say the game was good, but I feel it’s overrated.
What I can say is that again, the game looks great, the bosses are probably the highlight of the entire game and the music is great too.
Ristar is one of those games where the game is known for being the lost character that got overshadowed in the worst time and is held up high in regards to what a good game should be, but I consider it OK, a good Sega game, but not what I consider utterly fantastic, but that’s my take on it.
You can get it on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis and Sega Game Gear.