I first became interested in The Red Star back when it was due on the original Xbox. Then it wasn’t released – though it was finished! – and it was finally put out for the PS2 in 2007. I forgot about it but came across it on a “fifty PS2 games you should get” list some weeks ago. It cost all of 5â‚¬ at Play.
What a refreshing game. The presentation is rather low-key, but the rich source material, with its alternate universe take on the USSR of the 80s, makes up for it. The gameplay is simple, but compensates with depth. Basically you pick a character and start going through one-way scrolling levels, beating up enemies in melee and mixing it up with gunplay. It’s very Streets Of Rage, but it really works. The enemies require different tactics to overcome. A couple of times per level, you meet a mechanized boss which requires bullet hell tactics to overcome.
It’s hard, but not excessively so. (I was killed in the tutorial stage!) You can also play with a friend in co-op. Recommended, if you’re into scrolling beat em ups and/or shmups.