by BAM! Entertainment
The GBA is truly a marvellous machine. Not content with attempting to bring FPS games to handheld gamers and making a superb job of them, it now displays it's ability to throw polygons without even dropping any frames. Star X, graphically does for the GBA what Star Fox did for the SNES in that it proves that a 3D environment, or at least the illusion of one, is well within the capabilities of the GBA.
The story behind the game is on intergalactic trade agreements. As a pilot you have to protect the ambassadors from your home world who have travelled to a distant world to negotiate a trade agreement with a previously unknown race. The whole thing goes horribly wrong when you discover that all the unknown race wants is slaves. Before you can alert your comrades about the aliens, they are executed so you're left to escape and inform your planet of the impending doom.
The game features a variety of ground and space battles that are highly reminiscent of Star Fox on the SNES. It could even be argued that the graphics look slightly better in Star X. There are over 20 levels in the game and there are also a couple of practice levels to get you used to the controls. The ground based missions are fine, except to say that the pop-up that occasionally occurs was more noticeable in these missions, and aren't a problem for the GBA's infamous 'dark' screen. However the space missions are another matter and I found visibility poor. In fairness though this is a weakness of the GBA, not the game.
While the game looks fantastic though there are some problems that do their level best to ruin the experience. The aiming is very awkward. No matter how I tried I just couldn't get on with it and often found myself struggling because of it. The aiming reticle seems to lag behind your craft movement. A lock on can be enabled by holding the fire (a) button but this will see you destroyed in no time as it takes too long to activate. The L Button is supposed to roll your craft to the left but it does nothing, in fact I can't get the craft to roll to the left at all. A major annoyance though is the save game system that has been used. The game has no battery backup system so instead you're forced to use passwords. This wouldn't be so bad if the passwords were small words but they are a combination of 8 characters, symbols and numbers. The font used for them is also confusing when it comes to certain letters. If you are on the move how can you be expected to memorise ZAIECJIW?
Like most GBA games Star X is absolutely fine for deaf gamers there is no verbal information in the game whatsoever and all mission backgrounds and objectives are given in text. The only remark we can say about the text is about the font that has been used for the passwords. The font should have been clearer to avoid any ambiguity between the characters.
Star X is definitely a showcase for the ability of the GBA. It is a real shame that the aiming is so inaccurate as it makes what could have been a very good game into a decidedly average one. Still looking on the bright side if improvements were made in key areas then a sequel would be very promising.
Overall Game Rating: 5.6/10 Star X is graphically amazing but the hindrance of some of the basic gameplay elements such as aiming, and abstract passwords to save your game, ruin would could have been a very good game.
Deaf Gamers comment: All information is given in text so no problems exist for deaf gamers.