The Red Star

Format: PS2
2K Games

5 026555 306492
Age Restrictions: 12+
27 April 2007

Over the course of several generations, the once mighty empire known as The United Republics of The Red Star (U.R.R.S.) slaughtered millions of its own people by the order of a single man. This man was their leader, Imbohl; a mighty sorcerer whose insanity turned his people's Utopian dreams into a nightmarish scheme driven by the desire to forge his own immortality. Haunted by the ghosts of their nation's tragic past, the Heroes of the Red Star, at the battle of Kar Dathra's Gate, discover the true nature of their people's struggle, abandon their duties as soldiers of the Red Fleet, and embark upon a quest to liberate their people from Imbohl's dark legacy...

For those not in the know (me included) The Red Star is a U.S. comic created by Archangel Studios. With three main characters at its heart, The Red Star tells the tale of an alternate Russia, the URRS, where technology and futuristic weapons are wielded by its army, The Red Fleet. An additional twist is that magic exists in this world and The Red Fleet employs Sorcerers who can cast protokols (spells, to you and I).

The comic book story focuses on Maya Antares, Sorceress-General for The Red Fleet as she searches for her husband, Marcus, also a soldier in The Red Fleet who was lost in a disastrous URRS defeat battle some 10 years before. Along her journey she is accompanied by her bodyguard, Kyuzo, and Makita, a Nogorkan rebel, who delivers shocking news of Marcus's survival. Now declared rebels against their own state and having taken command of The Red Fleet's flag ship, the heroes are ready to journey into the unknown in a desperate bid to rescue Marcus and bring down the tyrannical, and near immortal, dictator of the URRS. It is here that the game opens...

The opening level of the game doesn't look very promising - and you can almost be forgiven for switching off right away - it has the appearance of an old arcade side-scrolling beat-'em-up game. But give it a chance and you'll see that this game is pretty complex.

Every once in a while during each level, the view changes so that instead of playing a side-scrolling beat-'em-up you are now engaged in a top-down shooter. Here the screen is soon filled with war machines intent on stopping your progression.

This is not one of those games that you'll be able to complete over a weekend - it's a pretty long game. And the inclusion of a two-player co-op mode helps to add that little extra.

At the end of the day this may be a little too old school for most of today's gamers, even if it's a pretty enjoyable title.

Nick Smithson

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