The original Sin and Punishment, a fast-paced Arcade-Style shooter-fest for the Nintendo 64, never made it stateside for some reason. The game was originally voiced in English and dubbed with Japanese sub-titles, making it essentially ready to be shipped oversees for American gamers to enjoy. In fact, it wouldn’t be until several years later that the world’s fattest nation would get the chance to experience one of Treasure’s greatest achievements through the Wii’s Virtual Console.
Luckily for us, someone decided that it would be a good idea to not let that happen again, and the events were set in motion to bring the lightning-fast twitch shooter to the hands of American Wii gamers hungry for pain, frustration and punishment.
Treasure knows how to craft a challenging, white knuckle, painfully difficult game. Gunstar Heroes, Bangai-O, Ikaruga, Astro Boy: Omega Factor and of course the original Sin and Punishment are a few of their games that shine the brightest, and with that partial roster alone it is easy to understand why Treasure is one of the most trusted names in game development when it comes to challenging and hardcore experiences. Star Successor is just another game to add to the list of winners, and it satisfies in just about every way you’d expect for a game of this genre.
We’ll start by discussing the story, which is easily the weakest aspect of the package. I tried to follow along for a while, something about some sharp-dressed robot demon monster things trying to kidnap some android girl with a hoverboard, but it wasn’t long before I just didn’t care any more. I mean, really. You are blowing up sharp-dressed robot demon monster things, and you can play as an android girl on a hoverboard. Who cares about the story? She’s on an effing hoverboard!
In today’s gaming environment, it’s usually the story that drives the player to want to keep playing. Not in Star Successor, Treasure has harkened back to the golden age of gaming and made a point system the center of the gamer’s attention. Throughout each level, your job is to blow up as much shit as possible, earning a high score along the way. You control your character with the nunchuck and control actions such as aiming and shooting with the Wiimote. If you die (you will die. A lot) you lose your entire earnings and have to continue on from a checkpoint with 0 points. This may seem antiquated, and it really is, but it works. And you want to know something else? It’s refreshing. I’ve played levels over and over and over just to be able to make it to the end without dying, trying to get the highest score possible. And with the online leaderboards, I was able to see just how much I suck, pushing me to try again and again to get a more respectable score.
The game’s visuals are a mixed bag in all honesty. During the opening cut scene, Star Successor could be confused for a first generation Gamecube game, or a high end Sega Dreamcast game. Textures are murky, character models are lame, and everything is a bit on the blocky side. However, everything changes once you get into a level and start playing. Areas are spacious, enemies look great and are varied, and bosses are some of the most stunning and just plain weird I’ve seen in quite a while. I have only noticed a few dips in frame rate, all of which have occurred during multiplayer and were rather minimal. The fact that it is able to keep the action flowing while unlimited numbers of projectiles and enemies fill the screen is really impressive.
Audio is also mixed and in the same manner as graphics. During cut scenes, cheesy voice acting takes everything back to the Dreamcast days at times, and is pretty awful for the most part. However, the bumping techno tunes that rip through your ears while you are blasting robots and ninjas and flying sperm fishes into oblivion is extremely fitting and very well done. It is easy to get past the visuals and audio being lackluster in cut scenes, because when you are in the game and the action is turned up, Sin and Punishment is a very impressive package.
I’ve had the game for about a week now, and have already sunk about 12 hours into it just trying to get better scores. I’ve beaten the game’s eight levels multiple times on Easy mode, once on Normal and the first two levels on Hard. I’ve also played each level numerous times, for the reason that the game is so fun, challenging, and thus, rewarding. Eight levels may seem like a skimpy package, but with such high replayability, the fifty dollar admission fee is definitely worth it.
Sin and Punishment: Star Successor is an awesome game. Nearly everything about it is just plain sweet. Of course, there are some things about it that could’ve used some work, like the ugly character models and cheesy voice acting, but nothing truly beats sailing through the sky with a hoverboard, shooting hundreds of flying sperm fish out of the sky. Gamers who aren’t fans of non-stop action and unforgiving difficulty will want to stay away from this, as it is one of the most punishing games I’ve played in a long time.
Score: 8.5/10 (Great)