Super Stardust HD review
Imagine Asteroids with superpowers
For quite some time, the PS3 didn't exactly live up to the expectations set by the fans, nor did it live up to the PS2's quality. Sure, there were a few games here and there like Uncharted and Resistance: Fall Of Man, but not enough to justify that huge price tag. That, and a lot of people had a 360, and saw no point in a second console. Amongst the few top notch games of the first couple of years is this - Super Stardust HD, which is Housemarque's and Sony's answer to Bizarre Creations's and Microsoft's Geometry Wars. The mission was the same, but it's achieved in somewhat different ways, and that, plus the more realistic visuals, manages to seperate Super Stardust HD from Geometry Wars. That, and Super Stardust HD is available only on a Sony console, and not on Nintendo's nor Microsoft's consoles, unlike Geometry Wars.
Blow shit up!
There isn't much of a story. Something about scientists and revenge, and really, who gives a shit? The game doesn't really put any emphasis on it - only the gameplay, which is awesome.
If you've played the arcade classic, Asteroids, you'll know exactly how this will play out - you control a spaceship, and you shoot down asteroids, mines and some aliens. Pretty simple, don't you think? It's the definition of an arcade title – give out a simple gameplay mechanic, and give the player something to do with it – let the rest roll into place from there. You mostly shoot down asteroids to rack up a heap of points, as well as to extract uranium that have upgrades to the three sorts of guns you'll use, which are best suited for different things. As you collect more and more upgrades, your weapons will get stronger, fire in multiple directions, and eventually go into overdrive, destroying a lot of crap with no mercy.
As well as the three different weapons, you'll also have a set of bombs and a booster. Bombs blow up everything within a certain radius, while your boosters can thrust you out of tight and sticky situations. You can resupply on bombs when you destroy ships, while you have to wait for the boosters to recharge. Basically, these are more strategical and to be used when your weapons won't be enough. Yeah, this game really forces you to think on your feet as you play through it. Especially as you get further, don't expect the aliens and asteroids to pull any punches, because you'll be in for a world of hurt if you don't know when to use what feature at given times.
The purpose rears its head.
On the five different planets you'll be able to go through, you'll have to go through five phases, and meet the boss at the fifth phase. Each boss sends out waves of attacks that you must dodge, and you have to time your attacks so that you cn hit the boss without getting yourself hit. Sometimes, you'll have to face multiple bosses. Things can get pretty frantic, but like with the stages, thinking on your feet should be what you do best! You were doing it for four phases; why not keep it up for the fifth?
Within the uranium, you can not only collect upgrades of each of the guns, but you can also collect extra points and point multipliers. Ultimately, the goal is to get as many points as possible while taking down five lots of enemies and meteors in each of the five planets. When you beat the game, you'll just rotate through the planets again, but on a higher difficulty, so in a way, the game is endless, which is funny, because the add-on content has an endless mode... but whatever, in the end, it becomes an endurance round as you try to get an even bigger score, and also try to get the rest of the trophies. Even if you beat the main campaign, there are still some things you can do to keep this game alive. Hell, some of these trophies are tough to get, like staying alive for seven minutes in endless mode (and by alive, I mean you can't lose a SINGLE LIFE). It still remains fun for quite some time after going through the five planets the first time, as you destroy more and more asteroids and kick some more ass. Seriously, unless you have a lot of stuff to do outside of the gaming world, there's no way you'll be putting this down anytime soon!
Ooh look at the pretty colors!!
This game looks *bleep*ing sweet, there's no two ways about it. Everything on screen, from the planets to the smallest remnants of the asteroids, has been excellently designed with some detailed textures and top notch lighting. Even when there's a lot of stuff going on, the framerate manages to keep up, never missing a beat, so your fun won't be hampered by slowdown thankfully.
In space, nobody can hear you scream.
As far as the audio is concerned, there isn't much. Well, yeah, there are the sound effects constantly shouting, though they're not annoying. The soundtrack is barely existent – you have to listen to it on Youtube or something, and even then, although it feels like it could provide the correct ambiance, it's nothing that'll stick. Because it barely exists in the game, it can't really pump you up and get you into destroying shit – you have to do it yourself!
Stardust or just dust?
Super Stardust HD is a damn fine Asteroids-inspired game.. though in saying that, it's one that you'll be playing for quite a while, considering that it has stages to go through – or you could do it in bursts, it's your choice! Its 'addicting as tobacco' gameplay is what makes this game work as well as it does. Add on some kickass graphics, and you got yourself a deal!
Simple, yet sweet. A decent arsenal of weapons on top of gameplay that's pure adrenaline. If you liked Asteroids and Geometry Wars, you'll like this, too.
Much like the gameplay, they're simple yet responsive. You won't be buggering up any commands here!
Some nice colors for the planets and looks mighty impressive on a big screen. I'm surprised at the lack of slowdown!
Soundtrack is all good, but nothing overly memorable.
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