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E3 Impression

Sigma Star Saga

05.19.2004

DEREK CAVIN
POINTS OF VIEW CURATOR
PHILIP BLOOM
E3 CORRESPONDANT

SCREENSHOT
Jumping around

So, unexpectedly, I found myself at the Namco booth today. Shouldn't have been over there, but hey, Klaxor wanted to go and they wanted to talk to us. We got there early though, so we stopped and checked out a few of their RPGs before chatting with the fine folks there. Off to the side in the GBA section, both Klaxor and I spent a bit of time with Sigma Star Saga, the latest GBA RPG from Namco.

To be clear to those who were curious, and why not for I was among those who questioned early on if this was in truth an RPG, there can be no doubt on playing it that it is in fact one. Nothing else quite has that much text in it and that sort of feel. To those who are old enough to remember Guardian Legends, this feels like a spiritual successor to it in gameplay, complete with the nifty spaceship battles and exciting ground combat. Or would if it truly had those.

SCREENSHOT
He can melt anything!

I'd like to give a better note to such a concept than I can and I know had I experienced it sitting down in a comfortable area, I would've been much more willing to put up with what this game had to offer. As it was, all it had to offer me was boredom. I started off from the start in an introductory space battle system that some, rightfully, would compare to gradius, only it's not as fun. Likely due to being an intro level, I was flying a ship that was slow, fired a shot at a time, and generally just navigated around equally slow enemies moving in pretty uninteresting patterns. It simply didn't seize with it's intro stage at all, not being particularly engaging or flashy. Moving into the plot, we find our hero, the pilot of the ship from early on, traveling around a military base, talking to his friends, and eventually getting assigned a high priority important mission from the commander, all played out in standard RPG style. >From here, the hero is assigned to infiltrate the enemy, an alien race that goes by the name of the Krill.

The hero is then captured by the krill who, thinking him a criminal, offer him the chance at revenge against the humans who have spurned him. Attaching a parasite to him, he's given a chance to prove himself in combat against a slow moving test enemy who is the current champion of combat. Despite this being an intro fight, it revealed a few problems with the system, most critically the inability to move or fire diagonally, making lining up shots a bit of a pain. Generally not a good showing on this end.

Talking with the folks, it's evident that later on, there's some more fun stuff coming down the game with the ship getting gradius option style power ups and highly customizable weapons systems alongside an experience system coming into play and random battle 'space combat' scenes, but from what I saw, the game was a slow placed blend of weak elements from a few genres blended together without the energy to really bring it out as a top game. Possibly something to rent and check out, but look out for a little while of boring stuff before you get any real freedom to cut loose with the system.

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Console:
· Game Boy Advance

Release:
· June 30, 2005

Publisher:
· Namco Hometek

Developer:
· WayForward


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