Review by supered

Reviewed: 09/28/03

A camera to die for

The Story
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The game is about a Space Circus and the star of that circus, Starshot.
Starshot was originally a military weapon. Yet something went wrong with Starshot, he contracted a virus that made him useless to the military.He developed a conscience. He joined the Space Circus run by Starcash, but the Space Circus has a rival, Wolfgang Von Ravel and his Virtua Circus. Von Ravel has been stealing landmarks of the universe, such as; The Milky Way and The Rings of Saturn, and he is charging admission to see them in his circus. When Starcash tells Starshot the circus will go broke if Von Ravel carries on with his plan Starshot agrees to embark on a mission to destroy the Virtua Circus and stop Wolfgang's plan to steal the main attractions in the galaxy.

Gameplay
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This is standard platforming and most of the levels are basically about mazes(intertwined pathways) and jumping platforms which can get somewhat tedious as you seem to be slogging away for ages, doubling back and trying every available route to find the right one. So no marks for originality in that department. There is also the question of the camera, this is a different barrel of fish heads and will be dealt with separately. The game is not complicated and there are no puzzles to solve, though you might be scratching your head trying to figure out some of the problems you encounter. There is an issue with slowdown which is strange with the basic graphics in the game. The jumping controls can be annoying at times, you mostly have to start jumping and then push the joystick forward otherwise disaster ensues, but the controls overall are simple to use. It's average in the gameplay department, better has undoubtedly been seen but so has a lot worse.

Graphics and Sound
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The game is bright and colourful but the graphics overall are somewhat poor, especially up close. The enemies are pretty basic and not particularly detailed. The sound is ok but as it doesn't change much during a level the volume is best kept low.

Camera
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I realise that the camera does not usually merit a category of it's own, but l think, in this case, an exception should be made. The designer of the camera system in Starshot, if not already in prison, must be living under an assumed name with some solitary cave dwellers to avoid capture. If a game was ever ruined by a duff camera this is that game. The camera will dramatically change it's angle when you are jumping platforms and you will find yourself falling off ledges aplenty. You can set the camera behind Starshot but it will abandon this setting without warning and you will plummet to your doom. Sometimes you cannot even see Starshot due to the camera going completely haywire and refusing to follow him around a building and you then lose track completely of where you are. The camera also has to be constantly moved to see what you are doing, which is a nightmare if you are fighting or negotiating a tricky set of platforms. Starshot would be an average scoring game, but it loses a full two points due to the camera.

Replay?
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The only reason to replay the game would be to collect all of the fuel cells, most of these are easy to find and it's unlikely many people would go through the game again to find them all.

Final Thoughts
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Starshot, like a lot of games, is not a bad game in itself, but unfortunately, like a lot of games, the controls and particularly the camera in this instance, let the side down. Duff cameras and dodgy controls seem to be a fact of life in games. I wonder if it will always be so.

Rating 5/10

Rating:   2.5 - Playable

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