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Star Force (NES) artwork

Star Force (NES) review

"The following are the first three adjectives that come to my mind when I think of Star Force -- Primitive, Repetitive, Tedious. "

The following are the first three adjectives that come to my mind when I think of Star Force -- Primitive, Repetitive, Tedious.

That's right; Star Force is a terrible game. It consists of 24 dull, uninspired levels of vertical shooting that simply become more and more painful to play as you progress through the game. In the matter of fact pretty much any shooter can give you a more exciting experience than Star Force will.

Star Force starts off bad right away. The first level is titled Alpha (each level is named after a Greek letter, going all the way to Omega) and will give you a perfect sample of everything you will encounter during your boring adventure. You will face several different enemies and learn their patterns in no time. This is because the enemies’ patterns are simple and very similar to each other, which makes them dull and forgettable. Heck, the enemies even look alike; they are all the same color and roughly the same size.

About ¾ of the way through the level you will obtain your first power up; a small ship that allows your ship’s cannons to fire twice as fast. After shooting down a few more groups of enemies, it is time to fight a boss. The boss is known as the alpha target, which is nothing more than a floating cube whose only means of attacking and defense are two guns located on the left and right of the screen.

Doesn’t sound very interesting, right? Well it’s about to get worse.

Instead of giving us 24 unique, fun levels, Star Force offers 1 mediocre level and regurgitates it over and over. All this begins with level 2, Beta. The enemies are now harder, but you already encountered most of them in the first level. The backgrounds are practically the same, and you still have to shoot a floating target at the end of the level. It’s now time to move on to the next level, or not.

Now it’s time for level three; the backgrounds and enemies are the same, and…

…You get the picture.

Even if you somehow enjoyed the first few levels, it won’t be long before you’ve had enough. Star Force is a brutally hard game. Your ship, known as the "FINAL STAR" is extremely slow, which makes it very tough to dodge enemy attacks later on in the game. There are also no speed power ups (just the one that makes your ship fire faster, even that doesn’t appear very often), which means being successful relies on staying at the bottom of the screen and shooting as soon as the enemies appear. Moving around isn’t important, since it will get you killed in no time. There are also no continues, so if you lose the three lives you start with (extra lives are awarded, but rarely) you’re out of luck and are immediately sent back to the start up screen. There are checkpoints in each level, but your power ups don’t carry over, which makes things even worse. If you died the first time with a powered-up cannon, you sure as hell won’t get past that part without it.

I could go on and talk about each of Star Force’s 24 levels and horrible gameplay, but I won't accomplish anything since the first level repeats over and over again. Or at least that's how it seems. There is no variety at all in the levels, dull, uninspired enemies and environments that constantly reappear, and although the enemy patterns are simple, a lack of continues and the slow speed of your ship makes the game excruciatingly hard. The only reason one might want to play Star Force is to show off that he/she was able to complete 24 repetitive levels without continues, but any sane person would avoid it and play Contra or Gradius instead.

Three words? Bah! I can sum up Star Force in one word -- Atrocious.

Halon's avatar
Community review by Halon (March 04, 2005)

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