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The VB's Starfox
Author: MegaSilverX1 | Date: 2013/01/06 | Rating: 7/10


This was the second game of the three that came with my Virtual Boy and I wasn't expecting anything good from this game after watching AVGNís review and looking at the games rating on some video game websites. However after playing it I was surprised that I enjoyed it. Letís dive into Red Alarm, the Virtual Boyís 3D shooter.

Story

To sum it up, people created a program to stop a World War that has been going on for 70 years named KAOS. After the war was over thanks to KAOS they ordered it to be shut down, but it found humanity to be a threat so it created massive weapons and creatures to put an end to the human race.

Other Information

Each stage has a hidden object. For example I found a Virtual Boy system in stage 1 while playing the game for this review.

Gameplay

Red Alarm is one of the only games on the Virtual Boy to use both D-Pads, in fact this game uses every button on the Virtual Boyís controller. It may make the control scheme sound complex, but theyíre easy to use and if not, you can always change the control set up under the options menu. You also have the option to change the camera by pressing SELECT during gameplay to one of four different spots: normal, tight, cockpit, and ĺ top. The game has a total of six stages with a boss at the end of each and I would compare the games style to Starfox and Starfox 64.

Before you start the game you can choose what difficulty you want to play the game as in the options menu and when you start you will notice that all your stats are displayed on the dashboard around the action. Your score, fuel gauge, amount of homing missiles, boost upgrades, shield (life), and speed are shown on the dashboard. Unlike the Starfox games you have complete freedom to move around in the stages, you can go left, right, or even back the way you came; just be cautious of your fuel since it has to last all the way until you defeat the boss of that stage. Your health isnít a bar in this game, but rather a number. Having 10 shields is the max and the game is even nice enough to count 00 as still alive. You wonít lose any health from running into walls, just be coming in contact with enemy fire or the enemy itself and if that happens you will only lose 1 shield. Getting a Game Over will result in you having to use one of your three continues and having to start all the back at the start of the stage you died at. You have 5 speed settings:

[B] Backward
[0] Stop
[1] Slow
[2] Fast
[T] Turbo
Turbo is an upgrade ans you only get them if an enemy ship you destroy drops it and if you get hit just once while having the turbo upgrade you lose it. Destroyed enemies may also drop homing missiles, shields to increse your health, and bounus point stars which give you 3000 points.

The game has a variety enemies which range from your basic walking mech to floating hands with eyes that shoot a beam of rings at you. Needless to say with the wire frame graphics the game has you'll be running into some weird enemies. Also your ship will automatically lock onto enemies if they're close enough.

Difficulty

It varies a bit depending on difficulty level you choose. Playing on easy, I noticed the game picking up the difficulty around stage 4. The bosses besides stage 5 arenít very difficult but I have trouble dodging stage 2ís boss when he charges into you. The boss of stage 5 is the most difficulty mainly because of his army of mini mechs that surround him. Level design wise, all the stages besides the end of stage 5 are fairly linear. Like I mentioned above, if you die you have to start all the way back at the start of the stage, even if you die during the boss fight.

Graphics

Everything is wire frames so there isnít any detail. There are only two colors, red and black, no shading. The reason why the game is like this is that T&E Soft, the games developer wanted to give the player the best 3D effects and to make sure the ship didnít blend in with the stages. Speaking of 3D, the effect is fairly good, especially when you use the cockpit viewing mode. Compared to Starfox on the SNES, Red Alarm has more polygons and can do more with them, but Starfox has more detail with the use of colors and rendered objects. The game has a short draw distance, but you see the enemies first so you wonít be hit by random enemy fire.
I like the artwork in the games manual. T&E Soft had a great artist for this game but itís too bad the bosses barley resemble their original designs in the game.

Music

Each stage and boss fight has its own theme and while not much of the music from the game gets stuck in my head after playing it doesnít sound terrible.

Replayvalue

Having my VB for a few weeks now Iím not sure how much Iíll be playing this game in the future, but with the 5 games I own so far I play this one the most besides Virtual Boy Wario Land. If you like Starfox or any other 3D space shooter you may like this game; just keep in mind that everything is a wire frame.

Overall

Red Alarm is an enjoyable game if youíre into smups or Starfox. The controls, even though a bit complex, wonít take long to get used to and the 3D effect is nice. If you can get passed the graphics, you have a short but fun space shooter game with a large amount of music.

Red Alarm scores a 7/10 (Good). It was one of the launch title games, so itís easy to find and shouldnít cost a lot of money.