Sinistar Unleashed

During the Golden Age of Coin Op, Sinistar hit the scene with a vengeance. This top-down, multidirectional shooter had it all: great gameplay, great 2D graphics (for its time) and most of all, great sound effects. Who could forget the thunderous bellow of each newly-awakened Sinistar, "Run, coward, run!" could be heard in arcades everywhere.

During the Golden Age of Coin Op, Sinistar hit the scene with a vengeance. This top-down, multidirectional shooter had it all: great gameplay, great 2D graphics (for its time) and most of all, great sound effects. Who could forget the thunderous bellow of each newly-awakened Sinistar, "Run, coward, run!" could be heard in arcades everywhere.

Fifteen years later, GameFX Technologies and THQ have released a modern 3D version called Sinistar Unleashed. While it sports some of the best graphics ever seen in a space shooter, it lacks some of the soul the original Sinistar had.

You goal is to stop the alien Sporgs from completing work on the jumpgate that will unleash the giant bio-mechanical evil that is Sinistar. But there are too many Sporg and it's impossible to stop them. They quickly complete their work and Sinistar enters our dimension hell-bent on destroying you.

To fight Sinistar, you'll need to power up one of six different spaceships by mining power crystals on asteroids and collect floating power-ups (including Jet Boosters, Shields, and Cloaking Devices) and special weapons (like Lightning Guns, Short & Long Range Missiles and the Charging Photon Device). The most vital weapons are the Sinibombs--the only ones that can hurt Sinistar.

While the original was remarkable for its time, Sinistar Unleashed doesn't add anything to the spaceflight/action genre--save for its amazing graphics: Planets, nebulae, moons, and space debris; they're all rendered perfectly. But at times, I felt I was just going through the routine motions rather than actually playing a game. Sure, some surprises crop up deeper in the game, like bigger and harder-to-beat enemy ships, nifty super weapons like Mind Control, and progressively nastier Sinistars.

But this remake of a legendary game fails to keep me coming back for more. For all the gorgeous graphics, it's just average fun.