Star Parodier - Hudson


It's an unwritten law in Japan that every shooter series has to have it's own 'parody' title...

Reviewed by Malc

... and the 'Star Soldiers' are no exception. Raiding their intellectual property coffers, Hudson has created its very own Parodius-a-like with Star Parodier.

Coming on PC-Engine CDROM, apart from the CD music, you'd be hard pushed to spot any effects and graphics that benefit the game from the move to CD. But that's not what we're here for: we're talking about an old-school classic blastemup that revels in variety-rich gameplay and lots of amusing 'in-jokes'.

Star Parodier's basic engine seems to be nicked directly from the other PC-Engine games in the series (Super Star Soldier, Final Soldier, and Soldier Blade) and as a result plays very similarly: even the weapon structure hasn't changed much (more about that below). Now there are three 'ships' to choose from, each with their own powerups, and there's even the traditional 2 and 5 minute Battle Modes which offer a diverting quick blast for hi-scores.

The big difference though, if you've been weaned on stolid spacey style shooters, is that everything has gone extremely cute: Two-fingers-down-the-throat-cute. Everything is sickeningly jolly and undeniably japanese: there's absolutely no way a western house could ever replicate this style! Personally, I love it, but I can't take too much of it! The music is deliciously upbeat, and has that elusive annoy-everyone-else-who's-not-playing-it quality.

Because this is a parody game, there's millions of references to the previous games, and even other titles: Bomberman paraphernalia appears regularly, and one of the characters is actually a gigantic white core PC-Engine (can you imagine it as a huge TG16? ...nope!) The gameplay itself benefits from this in the unusual bosses and environments - at one point you're even playing a game of Bomberman (almost!)

To conclude, I had an enormous amount of fun playing this game. It's one of those rare 'feel-good' games you smile at while playing, and with enough difficulty and variety to keep even the most dedicated serious-shootemup-fan engrossed.

click for intro!

Intro Sequence

Strangely, the intro is very much a standard affair, with the three ships launching an attack and that's it! There's a manic Japanese commentary warbling in the background, which probably means its not as normal as it looks.

Click on the 5 plotting bombermen to view it!

I hesitate to call these 'ships'. Bomberman is actually a 200 metre high craft, with appropriate weaponry.

The Paro-ceaser is the most normal of the trio, if you're a bit overwhelmed by the cute-ness of it all, choose this.

PC-Engine man is probably the most bonkers of the lot. However, the machine is a charismatic little chunk of plastic anyway, and Hudson had probably run out of mascots by now. PC-Kid (Bonk) should have at least got an appearance.


[]- pcengine

There's three main weapons each ship gets, picking up a coloured icon will change the weapon. Pickup several of the same colour in a row and your power gets upgraded.

Each ship has different graphics for powerups, Bomberman gets smily fireys, and the PC-Engine gets mini Hucards!

Small multiple ships can be collect too, a la Gradius.

Also, there's different shields and missile/bomb weapons to catch, allowing for homing and straight missile bombs, plus round coloured blobs, the purpose of which eludes me completely.

For sticky moments (like getting attacked by giant iced buns) each character has a plentiful supply of smart bombs.

All in all it's a simple, but nicely featured powerup system.

Bomberman's Smart Bomb in action! Note the tiny BM multiple.

Standard shot, powers up to provide spread around the ship Powerful laser, with a limited back-shot capability. Smily fluffy cotton wool. Uhm, yep, that's what they look like.
Standard Shot, shoots at 90 degree angles CD spit out, hues a whirling. Looks lovely, but deadly. Small missiles are the main shot here, with the joypad shown being a side-bomb shot.
Bomberman's main shot is very much like the rest. Predictably, there's a bomb powerup. Or less predictably, a bunch of red balloons

It's hard to define what style it's all supposed to be in, but imagine a mix of 80's dance, Prince, kid's TV programs and a circus... As a wee bonus, here's a couple of the tracks from the cd to listen to in MP3 format. Click on the tracks to download.

(Get WINAMP to play the files if you don't have it already!)

The Levels!
This is the bit you've been waiting for. Have a peek at the pastel-hued mayhem within...

Level 1

Level 2
Level 3

Level 4
Level 5

Level 6
Level 7

Level 8

Battle Stage

click for intro!

End Sequence

For the purposes of the review, I played it on easy, so maybe this rather basic ending is only the tip of a huge ending iceberg, with great anime style animations if you play it on hard... or maybe not...?

Click on the image to view it!

cover imageStar Parodier is pretty old now, and like a lot of sought-after Japanese PC-Engine titles can be frustratingly hard to get hold of.

However, if you do manage to track it down, you'll be more than pleasantly enamoured with it, and as a bonus, it plays perfectly with David Michel's Magic Engine


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie