Before I start this review, if you decide to get this game I hope that you are ready for a challenge. If not, then head on over to the Blazing Star review, which I think is the sequel to Pulstar and is not quite as hard, but is every bit as good. Right, think you are up to the challenge? Then read on to find out more about this challenging game!
With the Neo Geo being home to a fair few decent shooters, this game stands out as being one of the best. You actually need to use skill to get through each level, unlike games such as Zed Blade, where you just hold the fire button down and hope for the best. The game may be uncompromisingly tough, but if you memorise the set attack patterns (which are basically the same each time) you can progress through each level using pure skill (well, maybe a little luck sometimes :-)
The only problem really is that when you die you lose most of your weapons, but you can usually pick some more up quite quickly. Luckily it doesn't put you back too far in the level either if you bite the bullet. You may also notice the similarities between this and the R-Type games. Yes, it is true that they are similar (for instance the shield that you have on the front of the craft and some of the levels look very familiar!), but don't let that fool you into thinking that this is just a cheap rip off. Most shoot 'em ups play in a similar way to each other, so it doesn't really matter too much.
Graphics & Sound:
Graphically, Pulstar is very good. I think the only shooter that surpasses this game on the Neo Geo is the semi-sequel sequel Blazing Star. OK, admittedly there is Metal Slug, but that is a different style of game). There is a lot of great detail on the many different crafts, and the backgrounds look very good, with a lot of variation between them. There are some nice little animation details on the craft too, and the bosses are nicely animated and very well thought out. The sound is also of the same high quality, and you blast through each stage with very good music in the background (one of my favourite Neo soundtracks actually), which suits the game perfectly. The sound effects are cool too… nice explosions etc.
There's not that much else to say about this game, to be honest you should go and check it out for yourself. It is really addictive and you will always want “one last go” to try and get past the part you are stuck on, which is always the mark of a good game. As I mentioned, you need to be ready for a challenge because it is very hard, but that's one of the things that keeps you playing it. If you want a skilful Shoot 'em up then you are in for a great time playing this game. It can be hard (and expensive) to find this game for your Neo Geo, but it is definitely worth the trouble in my opinion!
Graphics: 9/10 Sound: 9/10 Game play: 8/10 Replay Value: 8.5/10
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