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A platform game for the Sega Mega Drive. (There's certainly no shortage of them, is there?) Ristar, the game's protagonist, is a yellow star with arms and legs. His main method of attack is grabbing enemies with his stretchy arms and pulling them towards his forehead - much in the manner of a football hooligan. He can also swing from bars and pull of lots of trapeze-like stunts.

The game is extremely inventive considering it treads such a well-worn path. Each level is a differently themed world, but here the themes not only dictate the form of the enemies and style of the graphics, but each theme also has a unique effect on the game mechanics. The underwater level for instance, introduces a whole new interaction method for swimming (somewhat similar to Ecco The Dolphin). The music level (Planet Sonata) requires you to carry metronomes to birds waiting at distant points in the level (each time you deliver one, a new section is added to the background music).

Every graphical and sonic trick available on the Mega Drive is used somewhere in this game. Most areas use many layers of parallax scrolling. Some (notably the underwater level) use hold and modify to expand the palette and produce rippling effects. There's also composite sprites, earthquake effects, 'fake' (tile-based) rotation (e.g. for knocking down trees), particle effects (like the starfield between each world), and some imaginative use of perspective.

The game obviously draws comparisons to the Sonic series (and was overlooked by most magazines as being 'just another Sonic clone'), but in my opinion is a good game in its own right. The style of play is rather different, with trickier controls, but the game's presentation and variety are several steps ahead of any of the Sonic titles. As the cliche goes, if you're a fan of the genre, check it out.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the music, which is exceptionally good. The imitation of various instruments is better than anything I've heard on the Mega Drive, and the tunes are great too. The soca/ska-style music on the opening level is fantastic. The trumpet solo and the wierd voices on the music level are great too. Most of the rest of the music sounds quite Sonic-esque, but much, much better.

The game is included (along with Flicky) as a hidden extra in Sonic Mega Collection for the Nintendo Gamecube.


In the language of the Clans, "ristar" is a contraction formed from "rising star". The word is used to describe a member of Warrior caste who is advancing in the social hierarchy fast. (In the Clan society, only members of the Warrior caste have chance to make all the important political decisions.)

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