Recently having been bitten by the "Retro Bug," I decided to dust off my copy of Midway Arcade Treasures: Extended Play for the PSP and give the dreaded Sinsistar a try. My experience was less than stellar. This is a difficult, brutal game that does nothing to make your time with it easier.
Originally released in the arcades in 1982, the game was notable for being the first to feature stereo sound and a 49-way optical joystick. Before playing I had heard how difficult it is, but I really wanted to try it out for myself, more for the history lesson than anything else. Good thing I went into this for the history and not enjoyment because with this game I was way out of my element. I consider myself to be pretty competent at old-school space shooters like Asteroids and Tempest, but Sinistar was so difficult right from the get go that my mind was effectively blown. The game starts off as a typical Asteroids clone then jumps into uncharted territory pretty fast.
"Beware! I Live!"
With those immortal words, Sinistar himself appeared and promptly ate my spaceship, causing the first of many lives to disappear. This guy is a real jerk and since I hadn't really read about the game beforehand, I kept trying to shoot him with my space-laser, to no avail. Turns out I need to collect the difficult to see blinking sprites to gain bombs in order to destroy him, piece by piece. The game gets so frantic that you end up losing lives just trying to find the 13 bombs required to destroy him, leading to many a frustrating death along the way. Oh and while you're trying to destroy his evil mocking face, you still have to deal with other ships that are constantly trying to kill you.
I eventually got Sinistar down to just his face, having destroyed all his shields, when a friend decided that he wanted to play Rampart. This dashed all my chances at killing Sinistar and actually beating the first level. That's right, I never made it past the first level! I'm kind of glad I didn't however, since from what I've heard, it only gets harder as the game progresses.
So essentially, If you find yourself in the mood for some light masochism, give Sinistar a try. It's a ridiculously difficult space shooter with some pretty impressive graphics and effects for it's time. Pretty much the entire game is a boss-fight, so it certainly has that going for it. Who knows...you might actually enjoy yourself, I know I did, before Sinstar ate me for the 30th time in a row.
I just wish I'd watched that strategy video before playing.
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