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Game: Sigma Star Saga
Platform: Nintendo Game Boy Advance
Developer: WayForward
Publisher: Namco
Release Date: NA: 08/16/05
Genre: RPG/Shooter
ESRB: E10+
Players: 1

Sigma Star Saga is a hybrid game. It's a side-scrolling shooter with RPG elements like a level system, experience points, and a story thrown in.

Story: You are Ian Recker, the leader of Sigma Team, the best fighter pilots Earth has and its primary defense against the Krill forces. In your last mission, a Krill Battle Worm took out every member of the team except for you. Tierney, your commanding officer has other plans for you anyhow. You'll be playing double agent — flying missions for the Krill and secretly transmitting data about their movements and motivations back to Earth.

Overworld Gameplay: Overworld gameplay serves only one purpose in this game: to move you from one battle to the next, and that's okay, the shooter fights are what the game is really all about. Ian doesn't gain levels; the ships he flies do. There is some out-of-ship combat, but it's very light and very simple. The overworld enemies serve more to prove that the planets aren't empty than to pose any sort of threat. While running around, Ian will need to dispose of enemies, do a couple of fetch quests, and find the area where the boss fight is scripted to take place.

Shooter Gameplay: Ian has access to a fair number of ships, but which ship will be used is random except for boss fights. Ships range in size from tiny to gigantic. Smaller ships tend to be faster and more manuevarble while larger ships tend to be slower. The fastest ship, oddly, is a medium-sized ship. There is also a ship that is very large — a carrier. This ship is great despite its huge size and terribly slow speed because after sustaining one hit, your energy bar is refilled and the smallest ship available comes out of the bahemoth. Sadly, ship selection is random, and a large ship will often be selected for a level with tight spaces, but it's all part of the challenge, and that's what smart bombs are for.

Every ship that Ian pilots has a similar arsenal available. There is the ship's default weapon: usually a single shot round, but some of the larger ships fire two shots at a time to make up for being so tall. Smart bombs are also available in every ship. This is because Ian carries them. A smart bomb is activated by pressing the L button, and it kills all normal enemies on the screen and eliminates any enemy bullets. Finally, each ship's primary weapon is governed by the gun data Ian has equipped. There are three types of gun data, and one of each type is always equipped. The names are fairly self-explanatory, and the number of gun-data available creates a maximum of 15,680 different weapon configurations.

The shooter levels are fun, challenging, and varied, but sometimes the random ship selection can made a level nearly impossible (large ship in tight spaces). The boss fights are challenging, and there isn't any trick to doing well. The player's only avenue for advancement is to get better at controlling the ships and dodging the enemies.

Overall: If you like a decent and original shooter, give this game a shot. If you're looking for an RPG with a deep story, pass this game up. It's more shooter than RPG. The interesting and innovative weapon system in a lot of fun, and the inclusion of a New Game+ feature with multiple endings make this a game that can be played multiple times without getting tired.

Appendix: These are the gun data available in the game. You start with the Standard Cannon, Short Shot, and Absorb. The favorite on the GameFAQs message board seems to be Triple Node Orbit, Seeker Missile, Pass Through, and wouldn't you know it? All those gun data are found late in the game. A combination that worked for me that is available in Chapter 2 is Node Orbit, Heavy Shot, EXP Leech.

    Cannon Type (how you shoot)
  1. Standard Cannon
  2. Rapid Cannon
  3. Triple Cannon
  4. Front/Back Cannon
  5. Vertical Cannon
  6. V Cannon
  7. Scatter Cannon
  8. Sprinkler Cannon
  9. Cross Cannon
  10. Vertical Alternating Cannon
  11. Horizontal Cannon
  12. Rotating Cannon
  13. Max Spread Cannon
  14. X Cannon
  15. Angle Cannon
  16. Free Movement Cannon
  17. Locked Movement Cannon
  18. Node Control Cannon
  19. Free Aim Cannon
  20. Twin Node
  21. Node Orbit
  22. Double Node Orbit
  23. Triple Node Orbit
  24. Sweeper
  25. Double Sweeper
  26. Patrol Node
  27. Double Patrol Node
  28. Mirror Node
    Bullet Type (what you shoot)
  1. Short Shot
  2. Normal Shot
  3. Heavy Shot
  4. Charge Shot
  5. Double Shot
  6. Triple Shot
  7. Wave Shot
  8. Super Wave Shot
  9. Max Wave Shot
  10. Seeker Missiles
  11. Bomb
  12. Steer Shot
  13. Bubble Shot
  14. Mines
  15. Rocket
  16. Bounce Shot
  17. Ricochet Shot
  18. Power Shot
  19. Super Power Shot
  20. Max Power Shot
    Impact Type (how it hits the enemy)
  1. Absorb
  2. Splinter
  3. Barrier
  4. Smolder
  5. Boomerang
  6. Wave Crash
  7. Vertical Spray
  8. Pass Through
  9. Ignite
  10. Fork
  11. Bubble
  12. Totem
  13. Shield
  14. Super Shield
  15. Bullet Eater
  16. EXP Leach
  17. Bomb Steal
  18. Duo Counter
  19. Trio Counter
  20. Quad Counter
  21. Ingest
  22. Revenge
  23. Air Quake
  24. Curse
  25. Vampire
  26. Super Vampire
  27. EXP Miner
  28. Super EXP Miner

Reference: http://www.gamefaqs.com

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