Thursday, February 12, 2015

Nerdicus NES Review #171: Destination Earthstar

Title : Destination Earthstar

Publisher : Acclaim

Developer : Imagineering

Genre : Shooter

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1990

Estimate Value (as of today's date) : $2 - $4

DESTINATION EARTHSTAR sounds a lot like some sort of show you'd find on the SyFy channel. Is it still SyFy? Or is it SciFi? Meh, whatever. Even the cover art looks a bit like BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, or some of those other shows like the short lived EARTH 2. Man, there were a lot of crappy sci-fi shows on TV weren't there? Yet networks decide to cancel greats like FIREFLY. UGH, don't get me started. That show needs to get back on. What the hell is going on!?

Oh yeah, video games. And speaking of crappy sci-fi TV shows, how about crappy sci-fi video games? Seems like there is a never ending supply of those, and DESTINATION EARTHSTAR is right on the top of the list. This is one of those games where the box art unfortunately is a whole lot better than the actual game.

You can only do so much when you're trying to create a space simulator for the NES. Especially when most of what you're doing on it makes no sense. Okay, maybe the game was just a tad bit confusing for me, or maybe I just didn't have the patience to get a grip on the disgusting HUD display. Who knows. Let's just jump into this so I can vent my frustration and get back to setting up my twitch streaming and web cam so I can perfect my upcoming live streams. WOOT WOOT!!

The first thing you'll notice when you start up the game is that outer space is incredibly bleak. Maybe they were going for realism here, but I do not want to play a space shooter where half my time is staring at black trying to find an enemy ship designated by numbers and letters on a confusing map display. And let's talk about the display, shall we?

The game is seen mostly through the view of the cockpit, where you'll find all the information you would expect to find in an advanced spaceship. A grid map that shows you where enemies are located, your fuel reserves, your energy meter, your speed, what weapons equipped, and your position on the map. Of course there is a score count too, because what game is complete without a meaningless score.

You spend all your time tracking down enemies in various quadrants, until you destroy them all (which can take a whole lot of time if you don't understand the damn grid system). Have fun trying to lock those enemies in your sights. I thought that sublight speed was supposed to be fast? I felt like I was on a commuter train playing this game.

Plasma cannons and torpedoes are your two major weapons, but it's not like that'll help you at all. Either one you use will just end up missing their target anyway. Once you manage to somehow destroy the enemies in the grid, you'll be able to access the enemies base on the planet. The screen then changes to a side-scrolling shooter perspective much like gradius or r-type. I honestly would have much rather had the game just be like this the entire time, rather than split down the middle between the cockpit view and this one. At least this is somewhat fun, even though its designed like a low-grade scrolling shooter.

Defeat the enemies again in the HQ, blow it up, and you're back to the cockpit. You do this over and over again until you beat the game, or until you get bored.

Me? I got bored in about 10 minutes. So I didn't give this game a chance in hell.

It's hard to say a good thing about this game, besides the fact that it was really trying for something new, and failing miserably at it. A slight round of applause for the effort, but it didn't work. Sorry, Acclaim. Visually, it's dull. Outer space has never been more boring than it has been in this game. And it's quiet. Too quiet. I know there is no sound in space, but come on at least give me some damn music. Any music that is in this game is too short lived to boost my desire to play.

There's a reason why DESTINATION EARTHSTAR is so cheap. It's one of those games that were pumped out in massive numbers and seemingly every one had a copy. No joke, I think the last four or five bundles of NES games that I've bought from people, this game was always in it. I have so many copies lying around, maybe I'll end up giving one away on my first live stream. How about it? WHO WANTS IT!?

Ah well.....going to lightspeed back to my desk and get back to work.

Final Score (out of 5)

Until Next Time, Keep On Gaming!



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