Blazing Star is a side-scrolling shoot ’em up (shmup for short) that follows great games like R-Type in it’s gameplay. It has 8 levels of intense and fun shooting action, replete with big bosses, fodder to blast and great backgrounds. The story line itself doesn’t translate very well from Japanese but those never really matter in such a game. The only point of a storyline in a shmup is to give you a good excuse to blow up everything that dares to show it’s face in your path. Even if that means blasting evil bionic fetuses (?). Yes that is right, but it is only the final boss though. The rest of the enemies as well as the other bosses you will confront and destroy are relatively normal for the sometimes wacky universe that is based on anime.
Blazing Star offers several different ships to choose from, each with different weapon capabilities. You have two weapons: Your normal blaster which can be upgraded by collecting powerups and a super blaster which needs to power-up with time but it delivers mass damage on a large scale which is great for both bosses and large numbers of enemies on the screen. The game will typically warn you when a tough enemy craft is approaching and from what direction, so you don’t get caught off guard. Like many Japanese shmups, the game will grade your performance with different letter grades (S being the highest and so far I have not received a grade lower than D) and you can collect high bonuses by collecting the letters L-U-C-K-Y. As stated earlier the only point to the game is to blast everything that moves and earn as many points as you can. Blazing Star is a perfect game for fans of Engrish, because this game is loaded with it! The one that is the most entertaining (and makes the least sense) is ‘ARE YOU HUMAN?’, which appears when you die. Experts have been constantly baffled as to what in the heck they were trying to relay to the player, perhaps they wanted to discourage aliens from playing the game. Either way, this game holds up well amongst shmups for providing lots of finger-blistering action, combined with enough variety such as different ships and weapons as well as interesting enemies. You also have a few lives to waste per turn, but you can only take one hit so be wary of your surroundings.
The graphics look great featuring high color, lots of sprites with little slowdown as well as flicker and overall it should please 2D game fans. Most of the sprites are pre-rendered CGI and most objects will use many frames of animation to create a fluid 2D environment. The levels are detailed and varied, featuring awesome environments with plenty of parallax scrolling to boot.
The music featured is a mediocre techno track that fits well enough with the game overall, but nothing really stands out enough to stick in anyone’s head. No complaints about the controls.
Overall this is a fun shmup that is worth spending some tokens on at the arcade and it ranks high on the list of great horizontal shmups. It’s even better with two player co-op, so grab a friend and find Blazing Star!