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 Post subject: Fission Superstar X (XBOX One - PC)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:50 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 331
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base

Well, now that i've put a warning because of the content this game will have, now i'll review Fission Superstar X.
This game has its good and bad aspects, so let's start with the good ones.

Mr. DNA 101: "The basic three enhancements of a pilot".

Before starting the game you're given the option to create a clone for pilot your bomber ship. At first you don't have DNA points to do that, but the "Skill" is at half of its full capacity, so you can re-distribute the points to Aim and Armor. After creating your clone, you're given the option of assign a team member to one of the turrets of the ship or go with only the pilot but with a powerful Blaster. The best strategy is to have a cannon on the bottom of the ship, which is the Scientist (tagged as "SCIENCE") because he also generates a shield. On your first gameplay you're not given that option until you're defeated and start again, then you will be allowed to assign a partner in different parts of the ship:
ENGINEER: He or she takes control of the rear turret and he's in charge of repairing the ship at the end of the stage.
MEDIC: Takes control of the frontal turret can heal your crew if they're hit.

This game has two life bars: The damage gauge for each section of the ship, and the crew life bar for each member of the ship. Replenishing your health can be done by using the Medic's skill after completing a level (How much depends on the skill level of the Medic), finding a medkit item after destroying an enemy or refilling it in the Recruit screen. Ship repairing can be done by picking a green "Wrench" container that drops randomly after destroying an enemy, using the Engineer's skill or repair your ship at the Shipyard. Losing a crew member is dangerous because it will take down the turret, but if its the Pilot who dies, your ship will be extremely hard to control, rendering it almost unplayable.

The Solar Tour from Planet X is here, Featuring Eclipse, Pantera, Ozzy Osbourne and 10 Metal bands!

This is your game, an horizontal scrolling shooter where the main objective is to reach Earth in this wild Solar Tour. With a ship equipped with 4 turrets you'll be ready to deliver a 360° volley of pain in the form of Blasters, Wave shots that passes through shields, Particle Cannons or cutting them apart with a Chainsaw. The majority of the missions are short since they're around 1 or 2 minutes long. The longest stage will take three minutes. So, your goal is to surive and destroy all the enemies you can shoot down within the time limit so you can scavenge their ammo, money and sometimes medkits, ship repairs and energy for your weapons.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. It's hard to make a choice about where to go.

After completing a level, you're given the choice of selecting where do you want to go. Selecting a level will add progress to the Planet distance indicator on the upper part of the screen, so you can go 2 points forward or 1 backwards pretty much like a board game. Also, you'll be given the option or not of going to the Recruitment, Shipyard or Weapon Shop.

Meeting new homies on "Da Party".

Recruitment is where you can assign a crew member for your ship, or replace the ones you have for better ones. You're also given the chance of heal the ones you already have if you don't want to replace them. Also, this is where you are allowed to save your game if you need to take a break.

Jovian Tires™: Your friends on the galactic road. (An Auto-Zone® company.)

Shipyard is where you can buy upgrades for the ship, repair any damages and save your game.
ENGINE: Makes the ship more manueverable.
ARMOR: Increases its HP making it more durable.
REACTOR: Increases the Weapons energy gauge.
SHIELD: Improves the effectiveness of the Shield sub-weapon used by the Scientist.

Need to send your enemies to "Hellen Waite" with a bang?
In Ammo Boy®, we have a wide selection of beams and rifles to get rid of them.

Weapon Shop is like its name says, where you can buy weapons for your ship, buy extra ammunition and select where to install that brand new weapon you've bought.
Like in the other stations, you are allowed to save your game.

Its like the Scratchy lady-bomb gag from The Itchy and Scratchy Show.

Sometimes you'll unlock special shops. One of them is the Bomb Outfits where you can change the appearance of Celine Fission and grant you bonus effects like bonus money after triggering explosions or reshuffle the inventory of a shop. There's also special variations of the Shipyard, Weapon Shop and Recruitment where you can find supercharged weapons, cool upgrades and even max out a crew member's skill. Just remember to keep "training" their skill by selecting the training option at the end of each level.

Space Police: Stop this instant, Hound 1. You are committing a major violation of official regulations.
You: Natsuki?!
Rest of your crew: ¿¡WHAT!?...¿"Not Skiing" he said?

Sometimes you'll be facing the police during your missions, You can destroy them if they don't disengage first after taking too much damage. I'm sure you can destroy them because it will bring an achievement for doing it.

No cartoon is complete without the lights out gag.

Whatever you do, don't select "Space Darkness" because it will make the game a lot harder by blocking your visibility. This game features stage hazards like the lights out, Aurora where blinding lights will be passing across the screen, Singularities where small black holes will slow your ship's movement in contact, or Asteroid belts which will bring you more problems than help.

Not every stage has to be a hazard. Thank the Space Samaritan for the help.

There's an area called "Drone Carrier" where you can pick drones launched by a Space Samaritan. These drones will repair the section of the ship that touches it, so it requires some fast manuevering to recover the rear and bottom parts of the ship. Keep in mind, the drones can also repair the enemy ships.

Shoot the bastard on the stroller!

After advancing several points in the Planetary Distance indicator, you'll be on the planet surface where the boss battle will take place. It is recommended to have a good weapon like the Particle Cannon on the front and back of the ship if you want to have a chance against a boss.

So, you've made it. You can decide if you continue to the next planet or destroy the one you're in.

After defeating a boss, Celine Fission will land on the planet surface. This is where you can decide if you want to proceed to the next planet, or detonate Celine and destroy the planet. Choosing the detonation will end your run, but it will unlock a spaceship. Each planet has an unlockable ship, so you have to detonate one by one and remember which planets you've blew up so you don't end up making the mistake of blowing up Neptune twice. So, the best idea would be starting the Solar System Blow Up by destroying the last planet in the list which is Earth, but there's a series of inconvenients which I'll mention right now.

Brace yourself 'cos here goes the bad aspects of this game: The first problem that you're gonna encounter is the controls. Although this is a Twin Stick shooter, the aiming system is the worst of all, because the sight is self-centered so the sight will automatically disappear and you have to aim constantly to target something. Also, you can only shoot within a turret range, leaving you with blind spots until you recruit a crew member for an additional turret. Think about this as an "Even worse" version of The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human, as we need more than 1 turret to have a full range shooting angle. ¿Does having a Metal Slug-like rotating cannon was too much for this game?.

Ship size is another problem with this game, since we have a vessel that almost occupies 1/4 of the screen. If there's shmuppers that still dislike Thunder Force VI because Phoenix Brigandine is not playable, then Fission Superstar X will give you a satisfactory explanation since your ship is an easy target for all enemies regardless of their size. I've calculated the RVR-00's equipment as twice as large than the RVR-02B Brigandine, and in Thunder Force V, the Brigandine was already a huge target, and that was a ship that occupied 1/6 of the screen's width, then the RVR-00's Brigandine would be 1/4 wide. Now imagine you're playing with a spaceship that is 1/3 wide and 1/4 tall dodging bullets, chainsaw-equipped enemies and small asteroids.

¿Sounds like trouble, right?. Well, if you're still in doubt, you'll be able to experience this situation in this game, along with slow speed and low fire rate, combined with energy and ammo runouts. This is one of the most annoying problems this game has to offer. Your weapons like the Blaster, Wave and Particle Cannon uses Energy like in the Megaman games, but the energy depletes fast, not to mention if you're deploying your shield your bullets will be destroyed by the barrier depriving you from any advantage against the enemy. Fortunately, the Energy gauge reloads with time and the Energy gauge duration can be increased buying the Reactor upgrade in the Shipyard. Other weapons like the Machine Gun, Rifle and even a melee weapon like the Chainsaw uses Ammo like an average gun game. So if you've ran out of ammo you can't reload until you pick bullets from destroyed enemies or buy them in the Weapon Shop. Picking items from destroyed enemies is a hassle too since once an enemy is destroyed it goes to the left like if it deaccelerates and goes off-screen. The worst part is that the bullets, money, energy and items like Repair and Medkits do the same rather than bounce around the screen or are automatically added to your ship like in any other shooter like U.N. Squadron, making something essential like buying ship upgrades a problem since the money goes off-screen. Thus, playing Fission Superstar X is a problematic experience.

You'll be seeing this very often.

If that wasn't enough, things are about to get even worse. Bad difficulty is a common problem on videogames nowadays, and Fission Superstar X is a big example of every bad difficulty examples in one hell of a package. If the energy and ammo limitations, ship size and controls are already a problem, the nails that seals the coffin are not one, but two: First, the infamous "Turridamage" problem of getting your life drained without a pause to recover from one hit like in Turrican is present in this game. But the worst of all problems is that if you die once you'll have to start all over from the beginning. Even removing the "Saved" game if you die, effectively forcing you to start all the way back from the beginning. Also, your DNA points spent on the pilot are not coming back despite picking "New Game".

Simply, the absurd difficulty of Fission Superstar X makes any R-Type game (mostly R-Type Final), Pulstar and Super Hydorah look like a balanced, fair and pleasant videogame experience. Yeah, just like sunbathing with Triggerheart Crueltear and Natsuki Sugiura on the beach and you are the lucky boy putting sun lotion on their backs. Under that principle, playing Fission Superstar X will be a bad twist on that scenario: Crueltear and Natsuki were still sunbathing on the beach, but the ones putting the sun lotion on their backs are Perry Ellis model Aaron Diaz and NASCAR driver Kyle Busch while you are tied on a cactus with the needles stabbing your back deep enough to make you bleed and with a burger, fries and a soft drink out of your god-damned reach. All of these while you're 200 metres away from them and your cactus-tied body is buried deep enough to have your head out of the sand as you sunburn to death. It really, really, REALLY sucks to be you in this scenario, but THAT'S HOW FUN THIS GAME IS. I know I'm trying to be funny with the comment, but the cold fact is that the game is unfun and virtually unplayable. Hell, now I know why most of YouTube's gameplay videos can't go beyond Pluto. Reaching Earth in this game is impossible.

UPDATE 19-04-2020: Apparently someone with Godlike patience made it to the end of the Solar Tour, and the ending is as craptastic as you can imagine: You blew Earth to bits, Ship unlocked. Solar Tour Over. Nothing short of poetry and unrewarding after all the troubles you've passed to get there. Back to the "Crueltear and Natsuki sunbathing on the beach scenario" that I've mentioned before, the ending of Fission Superstar X is like if after they get suntanned by Aaron and Busch, both girls suddenly get up and walk to you (still tied on a cactus) to take you out of the sand just to shout "PERVERT!", punching you right in the eyes and stabbing the cactus needles even deeper with the shock of both fists. NOW IT WILL TRULY SUCK TO BE YOU in that scenario.

If idiocy hadn't broke the limit, this game has one more surprise, after some progress you'll unlock the "Rogulator" which toggles some game settings on or off, toggling all five of them will put the game in "Normal" difficulty, while switching them off will make it extremely difficult. Unless you have a strong wish for punishment, then this will be your request realized, but i'm sure no one is crazy enough to play the game in the worst setting, despite unlocking an achievement for clearing the game on its maximum difficulty, is just not worthy.

An interactive cartoon, one of the positive aspects of this game.
ALTERNATE COMMENT: When the Rebel Alliance is away, Darth Vader goes to dance club parties.

The graphics of this game, although they're pixel-based, they're very well detailed. Rather than basing the game on the oh-so-common NES-styled nostalgia, they've decided to bring some great arcade quality like design and coloring using smooth pixel art with solid detailing on the ship and the scenery, as if we're watching a perfect "drawing to pixel" adaptation of an animated cartoon (like Capcom said on the Strider flyer "the graphics are so sharp and colorful, you'll think you're watching an animated cartoon!", combined with fluid animation feeling like an interactive cartoon rather than a game in the purest style of MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity.

One of the things that this game relies the most is the use of crude humor. For instance, your bomb, Celine Fission is a missile with breasts. This game basically uses puns and gags reminiscent of those of Adult Swim's shows like Robot Chicken and Aqua Teen Hunger Force along with some of the style of MAD Magazine artists like Sergio Aragones, along with gestures not appropiated for all audiences. So, this is a game not suitable for anyone.

The music is another good point in the game, as the soundtrack feels like a classic European game in the style of Turrican as the music has the Amiga-style trumpets of Turrican II: The Final Fight and some of the battery rhythm on it. There's also a Gradius-esque song in the game as if Gradius III was rendered on the Amiga soundboard but still keeping the characteristic Konami style that made Gradius music known among fans, and not to mention the nice to hear disco-styled beat of the Recruitment screen. Looks like the game has the Silver Surfrer Syndrome as we have bad gameplay with good music.

- The name Celine Fission is a pun on Celine Dion.
- A parody of Darth Vader can be seen in the Recruit "Disco" background.
- He-Dude is a pun on He-Man from Filmation's 1983 cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
- Skulletor is a parody of Skeletor, He-Man's nemesis.
- Another MOTU reference is Urgho which is a pun on Orko.
- She Argh is a parody of She-Ra from She-Ra: Princess of Power.
- Joggo, Jugerne Supreme and Judgenstein are a parody of Juggernaut from X-Men.
- Arnold Powers is a parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Mr. Stuck puns Leonard Nimoy's Spock from Star Trek.
- The name Captain Seehund puns "Sea Hound".
- Albear Anstein is a nod on Albert Einstein.
- The random character Bob Feta is a reference to Boba Fett from Star Wars.
- Justin Beaver puns Justin Bieber
- T-43-50-54, T-53-43-49 and T-4d-45-44 are parodies of the T-800 from the Terminator franchise.
- Doctor El Casco means "Doctor The Helmet" in spanish.
- Capitaine Le Casque means "Captain The Helmet" in french.
- Radical is a parody of Sonic The Hedgehog.
- The achievement name "Gotta unlock'em all" is a reference to Pokemon's tagline "Gotta Catch'em all!"
- "You're Winner" is a reference to the game Big Rigs Over The Road Racing.

"Adult Swim with Spaceships" is the best way to visually describe Fission Superstar X. A shmup that combines adult humour with MAD, Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Robot Chicken elements that many Adult Swim fans will surely love. Unfortunately, the many issues with this game ruin the potential of this Adult Swim-esque game, as the gameplay is almost unplayable due to its "way too big ship", "Turridamage", quite expensive upgrades and "die once and its all over" flaws, which is no laughing matter. In short words, it gets an A+ in Graphics and Sound, but gets an F- in Gameplay.
I feel sorry if you've spent 15 bucks on this game, really, paying that for an absurdely hard shmup like this is no fun, dude. So, stay as far away as possible from this game. This is another game that doesn't know the difference between hard and being helplessly stupid for the sake of being helplessly stupid.

Now excuse me, I need to wash my eyes 'cos I've gotta get those weirdoes out of my head. Once an anime fan, always an anime-style fan, you know.
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki

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