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 Post subject: Project Starship X (XB1 - Series X|S - PS4 - Switch - PC)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 10:08 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 376
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
┬┐Does Selma work in a "Trash game" developer?, then you don't know what cruelty really is.

During Selma's ending in Sisters Royale, Lale says Selma has the upper hand when it comes to cruelty. I guess Lale and the others doesn't know what cruelty really means. Just take a look at Panda Indie Studio's Null Drifter, the god damned thing is pure eye-torture disguised as a minimalist videogame, that's more than enough reasons to charge both Panda Indie Studio and EastAsiaSoft with "Crimes against mankind".

The SciFi-Lovecraftian mash up is back.

The Project Starship series are back, this time is the oh-so anticipated sequel Project Starship X.

The "I want to be the new Alex Heatburn".

GARRET ZEPPOLA: The all rounder character with balanced speed-power status, but with a full frontal rapid fire, making him the ideal choice for first time players.

The lovely redhead

GWEN ROSSI: The rapid type ship that utilizes a wide spread shot capable of taking several ships down within its range. However, her firepower is the weakest.

Panda Indie Studio, give me the power, the muscle, the menace of JOHNSON!!

JOHN JOHNSON: The Power-type ship and an unlockable character. His ship fires a low-rate firing, yet strong spray of bullets. If you want some extra difficulty from this game, he's the ideal choice.

The new lady of the group.

SOPHIE JEFFERSON: Second unlockable character. Her ship is from a very unusual type, as it features random status borrowed from the other ships, so you don't know how the ship will behave on each play, making it the game a pure luck based matter.

Tha Gangsta-rapping Lovecraftian ya "Luv-2-H8".

SWAGTHULU: The hidden (and last unlockable) character of the game, He utilizes a rapid spread shot like Gwen and is stronger than John. His only drawback is his very low shield capacity of 1 point.

It's the Neon-lighted shoot out in the 80's themed void.

The main gameplay of Project Starship X took a few twists from its traditional bullet hell, as it now features a new core element: The X-Maneuver. This is a Dash-kill move that can be used with the enemy on specific conditions, and that's when they're blinking after taking a lot of damage, and to use it when you need to pass through an apparently unavoidable obstacle, as if it was the Zero Teleport from Alien Soldier. Along with the addition of the X-Maneuver, the game gives you extra weapons like the Mega Laser which is a thin, but powerful laser shot and the shotgun that grants you a wider spread fire, to the Mecha Turrets that provide you with additional bullet, missile or even laser fire, the third one is the most helpful of all. The game also adds an improved Shield mechanic, while the Shield items are used to recover a hit point, you can also pick them to fill a bar when your shields are maxed up, once it's full and you pick another one, it will increase your life points by 1, acting like the Shield Upgrade (Heart icon), so you have two items that increase your life. Like in Project Starship, the 1up Mushroom is back but you have to find them in secret caverns and fight the green mushroom boss. In order to allow you a much easier maneuvering through heavy bullet patterns, the ship slows down when you're firing.

Looks like a crappy version of OutZone.

In some stages and the Secret Zones, you'll be on a ground vehicle called "Crawler" which is basically the same as the regular ship, but the main differences are the main weapon, which is changed by fireballs and the X-Maneuver was replaced by jumping since the terrain has spiked sections that require jumping to avoid them.

Fourfold your firepower with the Tank Module!

Like the S-Unit in Kuhga: Operation Code "Vapor Trail", you can unlock the Tank Module which has a more powerful spread fire, but its slower than your ship and what's worse; it goes down with one hit. Also, they don't count the ship as a bonus if you make it to the end of the level with the Tank Module intact.

If you need supplies, I recommend you to visit McThulu's Storehouse at the end of the second stage.

After a couple of stages, you'll enter on a shop where you can buy upgrades or shields. Also, you can shoot the vendor, but you'll get a warning (and a few coins), get three warnings and you'll fight him as a boss. If you can defeat it, you'll unlock Swagthulu.

Fail and your death will be monumental.
Win and you might become the greatest pilot in the universe.

Boss battles can vary on its difficulty depending on which character and weapon you've got equipped, from being quick killed by your weapons, from long battles that last 3 or more minutes due to slow fire rate and weak firepower.

No sense of mercy. Typical of a trash shooter developer who thinks "Difficulty means fun".

I know difficulty is what makes a game what it is, but in Project Starship X's case, is sometimes unnecesarily hard and absurd. Some of the stages will feature a "Gravity Down" that pulls your ship in a certain direction and you have to dash consantly in order to avoid a collision. Also, the Mad Events are back and worse than ever as they range from the classical 1/3 screen pelted with bullets to reverse the controls (Up is down, right is left, etc.), this one is the worst of all when your shields are "Null" and you might end up crashing and losing the game because of this cruel prank pulled on you.
There's instances where you can't use your recently acquired upgrades like the Tank Module 'cos you have to eject constantly since there's enemies that fire lateral bullet streams and you have to Dash-kill in order to avoid them and to keep the Tank Module safe until they're gone. Another negative is how you have to pick the items, you have to Dash-kill them, which makes no sense and goes against the basic concept of item picking in any game.
Losing the game is frustrating as well, since the game pulls the usual "No lives and No continues" trash. Picking "Restart" sends you all the way back to stage 1 with the character you've picked up, so it's basically the same as if you select "Main Menu", and all because the game randomizes the stages. Randomization and Procedural Generation shouldn't be excuses to pull tough difficulty settings. To make things even more difficult, there is extra lives, but they're hidden in secret caves, and you have to find the one with the green mushroom boss fight so you can obtain it and there's also the possibility that the green mushroom doesn't appear at all.

After completing the game you'll get a message saying the game is not over yet and it will unlock a second run, finish it again, and you'll face the third run. This starts to feel like a sick joke rather than a game.

These two are the Stage 5 in a nutshell.

After reaching the 5th stage on the "The End?" run, you'll be pitted against two tough bosses which will require to use the X-Maneuver with more frequency than any other boss in the game as they will fire complex bullet patterns.

You're right with that.
I miss Warashi and Tecno Soft, they made better shmups than THIS GARBAGE!

Right after that, you'll be on a dark screen with a chibi Cthulu dancing and throwing Shield items, this is good for a quick recovery, until you shoot him.
Once he takes the hit, he will transform and you'll be facing this...

This is as far as any regular shmupper will reach.

Cthulu itself, while the first form manages to be troublesome, his second form is basically impossible. Not to mention it has way too much health and that will result in a sure death for the player, and with the "die-and-start over" stupidity, its more than enough reasons to pull the plug on finishing this game. How this ends? I don't care, but I'll tell you one thing: Finishing Natsuki Chronicles in Extreme difficulty with the XBOX One controller broken or covered in Super Glue might be easier than the red Cthulu boss.

Having a Two Player mode could be a good idea if you have someone who's dumb (or masochist) enough. In case you've got one, the Co-Op mode has a nice feature: Resurrecting the defeated player as long as the other player survives for a specific amount of time, this is kinda like the "Rewind" revival in Double Dragon Neon, like said game, constant reviving has its cost: The waiting time will increase until the point the surviving player would not stand for too long.

Once again, getting all the game's achievements is waaaaay to easy. Perform X-Maneuver 100 times, kill 200 enemies, Dash-kill a considerable amount of enemies, and get 200 coins. Even ACA Neogeo Blazing Star was more challenging in that aspect, and I mean it as someone who played that game since the arcade days back in 1998. Like I said in Project Starship's review, unlocking achievements should be a challenging yet, fun experience, but in this game (and the rest of the series) is "Oh, an achievement?, Nice", "Another one, shyeah right", until you get all the game's achievements, resulting in a waste of time.

Gwen strikes a pose in Overload Mode.

The graphics are vastly improved compared with the retro art from the previous games, starting off with a more inbetween DOS and 16-bit like environment which is quite well made, as the ships and enemies are more, much more detailed than before and they're recognizeable rather than the amorphic random shapes from before. The game adds an U.N. Squadron-like image of your pilot that changes his/her expression when you take a hit, the HP bar and weapon status are indicated on TV screens on the sides like in the SNES port of Strike Gunner S.T.G.
I've got to admit there is well made stuff in the game, like the 80's stage and the majority of the bosses which are very well made and they almost feel like an animated cartoon due to the sharp animation they have. I have to say they've learned something after all the mistakes they've made.

Like the previous games, it once again relies on the mix of Sci-fi Cthulu/Lovecraftian mythology but this time it blends Hitler-themed humor a la South Park and Robot Chicken. There's some Non-kid friendly instances and that's one of the weapon's names "S@#$%ty Weapon" and Sophie making obscene gestures with her hands everytime you make a dash-kill.
The character design is a mixed bag, while it moves away from the anime style of the first game, shifting to a more Newgrounds flash cartoon like style, they're fully animated and look better than the atrocious portraits of the first Project Starship, is like an improvement at expense of sacrifying something, in this case the anime style. It is good to mention that Genzoman, the artist of Double Dragon Neon, Ghost Blade HD and the previous Project Starship games, made the promotional artwork for this game, which is the most positive aspect of the game's graphics.

UPDATE - 02-12-2021: There's an instance of censorship on the PlayStation 4 port and that's the Zombie Hitler boss, who was redesigned and renamed as "Zombie Bad Guy", also, the description of the Trimorph boss changes the word "Nazis" with "Bad Guys".

Thank you Gwen.
But the princess is in another castle.

In this game there's room for old school references, this game nods Mario A LOT. One of the Crawler based levels is basically a homage to Super Mario Bros. as it features kickable shells, the multi-shell kill that grants you an Extra shield when you take a lot of enemies with it and even the Bowser-like boss fight which requires to take down the bridge with a switch. Just hope Nintendo doesn't throw a lawsuit against Panda Indie Studio for this.

That's a better Gradius-reference than the one from Contra Rogue Corps.

There's also shmup references and that's the unlockable second level "The Sun", which makes a nostalgic nod to the fire level of Gradius III as it features the same fire dragons, which were also seen in the 5th stage of Axelay.

As for the sound, it still keeps the 8-bit chiptune upbeat style as its predecessor, and the soundtrack sometimes is really impressive as some levels have styles that reminds me of Megaman (the Western desert and 80's stages) with the very catchy rhythm that evokes Megaman II. There's also voice samples sound worse than before as we have muffled voice samples. Like Thunder Force II in the X68000, the game swears when you get Game Over. There's some sound effects borrowed from Super Mario World, like the jumping sound and the fireball shooting. One thing that deserves to be admired is the music of the Sun stage which has a Gradius reminiscence, just like the stage itself nods Konami's shmups.

- Final entry in the Project Starship series (Thank Lord!).
- The random quote "In space no one can't hear you scream" is a tagline from the film Alien.
- The 80's boss "One of those ghosts" is a reference to Pac-Man's ghosts. Its quote "Please don't sue me" refers any legal lawsuit from Bandai-Namco Games.

While the game improves the overall gameplay in several aspects, features sometimes impressive graphics and great music, everything goes down 'cos Panda Indie Studio still keeps making the same screw ups from the past and makes new and even worse ones on the final chapter of the Project Starship series which put this game in the same league as its predecessors: A Gamerscore/Trophy Milker 'cos this is one of those games made by people who thinks they're highly professional and they're an unsurmountable trash.

If you are looking for great vertical shmups, stick with Triggerheart Exelica and Ginga Force. I mean, if there was a "Crap" section in the videogame store, Project Starship X should be out in the dumpster, even if there's cool stuff in the dumpster (like broken Transformers and laptops which can be fixed, I guess). Once again, if you're extremely desperate for 1000 Gamerscore points, 19 Xbox achievements or 20 PlayStation Trophies, then pick it. But don't be surprised if your brain goes away and is found sipping an umbrella drink on the beach while you are playing this disgrace.

GREAT!, You've made Lea cry.
┬┐EastAsiaSoft and Panda Indie Studio, are you proud of yourselves?
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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