Some things just seem to work from the first moment, other things need to grow on you and finally, some things won’t ever work. Back in the early 90’s when the Amiga was owning the gaming scene with really good games and the developers took risks in doing games that “THEY” wanted and not just gamers out there. Lucky for us they did as that brought us many classics and one of them was Stardust, a shoot em up that came out of nowhere by a new team called “Bloodhouse”. The game was basically a souped-up Asteroids clone with uber good graphics for its time, raytraced and properly animated gfx and just to make it even harder to dislike, a kick-ass Tunnel shooter as well as an excellent soundtrack.
Stardust had its flaws but the fanbase and sales was huge so a sequel came 16 months later and it was named “Super StarDust” and the publisher was Team17 instead of Daze which was the former one and being published by T17 was never a bad idea back in the 90’s as those guys had a strong games catalog with very few mediocre to bad games. Super Stardust was a success, it sold bucketloads and eventually it was ported to PC but then all went very quiet. It took years for the masses got to see a new game from Bloodhouse and by the time they did release a game, they changed their name to Housemarque. Housemarque was founded after Bloodhouse and Terramaque merged together, both great teams although the only title “we” knew up till the merger was Elfmania (Terramaque” and Stardust/SSD).
Super Stardust was reborn in 2007 for the PS3 and since then it has been released on the PSP, VITA and now the PS4, all excellent games and very similar to each other. The Amiga version of the past is hidden in there but only by design as more or less the whole concept was changed in 2007. The Tunnel sequences were never included in these new “reboots” sadly, i don’t understand why not really but i guess it’s because they couldn’t do it in a way that would fit the rest of the game and its design. I also have to say that the PS3 version was the main reason i bought the PS3 for, i had 2 games from day 1 for the next 5 months! and that was SSD and Motorstorm!.
Housemarque has always been ahead of its time in terms of getting the most out of the current hardware, they do games early in the console cycle that has up to now impressed many and even made it hard for others to beat. Resogun on the PS4 for instance, max resolution, max fps, smooth and tidy and it was a release title. My point is that buying a game from these guys will never prove wrong, at least not until now. Housemarque is not exclusive to SONY / PS as they did release a golf game and a platformer on the Xbox360. Not sure how the sales went but i guess the games still ruled!.
At first glance, this new PS4 version is identical to the PS3 version and while i am not 100% sure i still think it is very close except for a new feature or two (Twitch co-op mode for instance .. yes Twitch.tv .. sorry no idea what it is yet..) I tried it with 3D glasses and it was silky smooth and the 3D was very effective too (PS3 version wasn’t as good as this!). The gameplay for those of you who haven’t tried it yet, it’s a dual/twin stick shooter where you guide your ship around a planet in a rotoscopic view/feel. A lot of people say it is similar to Geometry wars and i always believed that but now that i got to try that on the PS4 i must say that it is not the same.
Easy peasy controls. Will take you max 20 minutes before you master them and after that, it will take you 20 years for you to master the actual game which by the way ain’t all that hard as it’s just damned fun so you keep pressing retry!, RETRY!!!, RETRY!!!!!!!!. One more go! just one more go!.
Gotta love how these guys can piss you off, i mean i know how to get a killer score in the game and i do get them but i just need more! MORE!!!! MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
It’s like a virus!.
Loads of game modes are in the game and i have said this for years and i will keep on saying it – The various modes kick ass! very enjoyable, variable too and most of them are very well thought out too.
Survival mode (see picture) can be a real headache as you will never get rid of all the enemies as you can only move them a bit with shooting or using bombs at them.
Endless mode is maybe the most entertaining one in the long run as it just keeps on pouring enemies at you and every now and then a major atomic bomb type of thing appears that you can shoot to wipe everything on the screen into dust which will give you at least a 3 seconds pause before it all is chaotic again!.
On the PS4 version i managed to rank fast but that will change soon as it is bound to sell a lot in the future and with so many fans of the series it will be hard to stay in the top 20’s like now.
A lot of these SSD type of clones and whatnot have done a lot of mistakes when they tried to copy Super StarDust and that was that they didn’t do a continuous mode that you can play from easy to hard by starting at the lowest and then looping the game up to the top to get insane scores, really nice that this still is in SSD!.
If you don’t buy this game then you suck, it is worth your time and heck! my girlfriend and me have played it for years and she even kicked ass in it too and was ranked higher than me quite a few times.