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January 22 2019

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  Twinkle Star Sprites - ©SNK/ADK 1996

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Game Stats
1 or 2 player

Shoot 'em up

146 Megs
Japanese Name:

Twinkle Star Sprites

Released On:


Reviewed By:
Top Reviews By This Author:
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Review Introduction:

Now, this game really IS an oddity! Not really a puzzle game and not really a shoot 'em up exactly, but instead a combination of both. Add a combination of crazy anime characters to the mix and you have the recipe for a fun game!


Although Twinkle Star Sprites plays like a bog standard vertically scrolling shoot 'em up, the idea is not to simply progress from level to level by destroying everything in your path. You actually play head to head against another player in split screen fashion. By destroying lots of enemies in one go (chain combos) you send more bad guys over to your opponents half of the screen. Obviously the more you do this, the more chance of these enemies causing them damage as they struggle to cope.

Controls in this game are very simple. The A button is for standard fire, and the B button unleashes a bomb that destroys everything on your screen. If you hold down A for a few seconds instead of tapping it, you can charge up a more powerful attack. Simple huh? Another thing worthy of note is the combo meter. When that reaches 3, you can charge up and unleash a "boss" character which will really irritate your opponent!

There are 3 playing modes. The main mode is the one player "Story Mode", where in between fights the characters taunt each other in wonderful (sniggers) SNK-Engrish (unless of course you speak Japanese that is :)! Second is the "Character Mode" where you get to choose a character and battle against a number of enemies to complete the game. Last of all is the most fun option: play against a friend (or enemy :). Although the one player challenge is fun for a short while, nothing can compare to the fast paced action of the 2 player mode. In fact, this is where Twinkle Star Sprites really comes into its own, as is the case with most puzzle games... so if you don't have anyone to play against, the game can get boring quite quickly.

Graphics & Sound:

I was impressed with the presentation. It kicks off with a very nice anime introduction sequence, which isn't as good as the one from Money Puzzle Exchanger (one of the best) but its still very cool. There are also plenty of cut scenes in between rounds that show the story. Admittedly, the game itself looks far from amazing and there isn't a great variety of bad guys to shoot, but it is very colorful and fast. The one problem with it is that once again the Neo Geo's processor proves to be too slow to handle the amount of detail on screen at times, so it slows down. It doesn't hinder gameplay in any way though, so not to worry. The only thing that may hinder some peoples experience of this game is the "cuteness" factor which is definitely turned on to overload. If you hate that sort of thing, it may bring on severe feelings of nausea! Only a quick game of Samurai Shodown or something similar will be able to cure you ;-)

This is another one of those games where the soundtrack is quite forgettable on the whole. There's plenty of cute voices and some very cutesy music which is just what you would expect. I'm not saying that its a bad soundtrack, but when I sat down to write this review I did have to turn the game on again to remind me how it sounded. Again, people who have an allergic reaction to cuteness should avoid it!


I wish I had played this game earlier. When I first saw it I just ignored it after playing it for a few minutes, although I did have the intention of trying it out properly later on. After a couple of people recommended it to me again though, I decided that I would give it a go and was glad that I did. I'd definitely recommend it to people like me who have ignored it in the past and to anyone who appreciates the anime style madness. Its very good fun, the SNK-Glish language on the story mode will make you laugh, and the two player action will keep you playing for some time. Just be sure to have some friends around and you will have a blast!

One final note however: if you want the home cart version of this game, be prepared to lay some SERIOUS cash down. It usually goes for the ridiculous price of US $800 upwards, sometimes over US $1000!!! The arcade MVS version is a snip at only $100, so that would be your best bet if you have a way of playing arcade carts (either through a supergun or a proper cabinet)! Failing that, go grab the Dreamcast version, as it was released in Japan and would be pretty cheap these days. This is a good game, but no game is worth that much, not even something like Last Blade! :)

Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Game play: 8/10
Replay Value: 7/10

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

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