Star Parodius

PC-Engine Duo

Review by Matt Paprocki

Hudson Soft


Graphics: 9

Sound: 10

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9


Setting a new standard for video game soundtracks, the music accompanying the harmless, adorable action of Star Parodius is some of the best you'll hear. It's worth playing through just to listen to each new track, but it doesn't take long to figure out this plays great too. It's all about style in Star Parodius, and the little nods to fans are wonderful.

starparodiousduo.bmp (589878 bytes)There's nothing special about the actual gameplay. It's barely discernable from hundreds of other shooters. Powering up by collecting various moving icons is standard fare. This is remarkable for its unmistakable style and charm, totally Japanese yet perfectly accessible to the non-import mad collector.

Filled with life, the backdrops Star Parodius takes gamers over are fantastic. Varied in their appearance with a massive catalog of enemies to destroy, this is a relaxing shooter. It's not something you'll usually associate with a quality shooter. It's pacing is slow, enemy patterns common, and it's not very difficult until the final few stages. That's what makes this title special.

The light fun makes just sitting back and plowing through the levels enjoyable. It's hard to complain that there's little to actually challenge the player for the first stages. It never registers as a problem and feels normal. The simple mechanics, auto fire, and the occasional bomb blast, are all you'll be concerned with.

Three selectable ships are crucial to how the game will pan out, one of them being an actual PC-Engine equipped with a Super Star Soldier Hu-Card. Everyone will have a favorite, while the huge Bomberman will not rank high on a fans list. His powers are difficult to adjust to and unorthodox for a shooter. Star Parodius also (sadly) lacks multi-player.

If the visuals and in-jokes are not enough to hold your attention, the soundtrack will. If there's ever been a better example of a soundtrack flawlessly suited to the game it's part of, it has yet to be created. These are infectious and unforgettable tracks, each one bringing some special hook that makes it an instant classic. It's a shame the game stayed in Japan and it won't receive the exposure it deserves.

With only a few minor mistakes, this version of Parodius is one of the best on any NEC console. It's just shy of perfection, a nice diversion from the glut of serious shooters of the era. It wouldn't be the same without the soundtrack, but there would still be enough to recommend it. The music is just the topper.


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Last updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2005 07:01 PM