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Hey, You’re Not Sailor Moon

  • Addit
  • 12/12/2015 07:37 AM
  • 3746 views


A Game Made By: James "The Legendary" Radluck
Created Using: RPG Maker 2003
It's A: VISUAL NOVEL RPG Game
That Roughly Takes Around: 2 Hours To Complete
And It's A... CANCELLED GAME!!!


With one of the legends of the old RPG Maker 2000 and 2003 days returning to the scene thanks in large part to the official English release versions of both respected and highly praised engines for the time, it’s quite a surreal feeling to see a lot of the old members of the past return from the scattered ashes of time to show their faces once more in hopes of re-releasing their timely classics back onto the world to see for a new generation of gaming infusionists who are curious to play some of the classic games that defined the RPG Making genre at the time.

While some of these games have held up – and still kind of hold up – incredibly well by today’s standards, which is an incredible feat in itself, especially with what we have with today, some, unfortunately, have not stood the test of time…and this is, sadly, one of those games that was probably better left in the past.

“Starlancer Six,” A.K.A Pretty Solider Sailor Moon Clone, was created by James “The Legendary” Radluck back during the heydays of REFMap graphics and Mack & Blue tilesets that were seemingly used throughout many peoples projects and were considered quite the norm. While not commonly used as much as they were back then, you’ll still see the occasion game made with them here once and a while, but not nearly as much as before, to the point where a lot of users wouldn’t even go near a game that had anything to do with that type of graphical style. Shallow thinking, I know – but those were the days, I’m afraid.

This game basically came off from the heels of one of the most successful and most universally beloved RPG Maker 2003 games in Ara Fell: The Legend Of Dirisetsu Hollow, so it definitely had a respectable level of expectations for it when it was first announced and released back then, mainly because of the creator’s namesake and his past work endeavourers. While the game only released with one total chapter to it out of a planned out thirteen episode series that was gradually going to be released over time, Badluck soon lost total interest in the project right after completing episode one (lol) and just flat out cancelled it soon afterwards, which I remember a few people getting a bit upset over the decision to do it.

The project then slowly faded away into obscurity and only really remembered by the very few who had the opportunity to play it back then, such as myself, before eventually, right seemingly out of the blue, just weeks after Badluck’s super comeback special managing to arise from the ashes again and get re-release on RMN using the newly minted English version for the entire world to experience again. Hallelujah! Praise Jebus.

- But it’s been a long while since I’ve last played this game, almost seven years exactly to this date. I remember the first time playing this game enjoying it quite a bit, and was pretty overall impressed with it years ago that it’s kind of stuck with me a little after all this time. But seven years is an awfully long time, though…so maybe my overall opinion about it might have changed a little after replaying it again…


The Story


See? Even her little sister knew at the time that this project was destined to ultimately fail after the taping of the first episode.


Kita Hoshiko is an ordinary girl living in her own ordinary world as this clumsy, but yet incredibly carefree teenager who loves to stargaze, sleep in for hours on end, and loves hanging out with her most trusted of pals at the Pilla Café after the schoolday has ended…well, that is, whenever her teacher decides to let her go because of another one of her countless detentions that she always seemingly manages to get for coming into class late or not even bother to show up at all. (Ah, rebellious youth…)

However, one incredibly starry night, though, strange lights begin to light up the sky all over the city as a strange comet then falls down to Earth by the beach and everyone is talking about what it could possibly be. Very little information is given about the strange occurrence at the time - but if you’ve seen this type of shit before in other variations of media and film, then you know that shit’s about to go down, and shit goes down indeed, as Queen Auvrie and the Fuzen Empire (*cough* *cough* Queen Beryl and the Negaverse) have conquered one world and are hoping to do same thing with Earth eventually by draining all the life energy from all the creatures of the planet, starting first with one of Kita’s homeroom teachers in Mr. Motoshi. (Those b*stards!)

Luckily for him, a young fairy like creature by the name of Anara who’s been going around town posing as a cat in the meantime has just happened to run into Kita while walking around at night in the park. And after a quick discussion of things, she then transforms our heroine into Sailor Moon!





…er, I-I mean Starlancer Leo, one of the members of the Starlancer team.

Yeahhhh…

The rest of the story after this point basically revolves around Kita rescuing some of the members of Anara’s resistance force while trying to find and locate her teacher, Mr. Motoshi, and then get them away safely from danger and away from the clutches of evil. Afterwards chapter one then ends and a slight preview of mentioning the next chapter’s title which revolves around the next member of the Starlancer team, Aquarius, joins the fight. (Although, if you happen to dive into the game’s picture contents, you can basically find out who the next two members of the Starlancer team would have been if this game happened to have continued.)

Overall, if you’ve watched Sailor Moon or have dived into any magical girl type of anime show, game or whatever the case may be, you pretty much know what to expect here, especially if you’re a fan of the latter. This game’s plot draws so many similarities with Sailor Moon that it’s basically like watching a different variation of the characters in like future events, or something. Not to say that borrowing exact elements from a popular anime series and using it in your game isn’t a bad thing if it’s played out well or provides a different take on the existing formula or something, but Starlancer Six just doesn’t seem to do anything remotely new or fresh with it at all. I guess Kita as a character is a bit more strong minded than Serena or Usagi was when she first started out and first become a Sailor Senshi / Scout in the earlier episodes, but they pretty much act like the same sort of characters other than that one direct trait. Hell, there’s even a freakin’ Tuxedo Mask sort of clone character in the second half of the dungeon who says something inspiring to help Kita out in the heat of the moment and calm herself down.



However, at least to the game’s overall credit, Kita is at least a worthwhile, likeable character who has some funny exchanges with some of the other characters in the game that gave me a quick chuckle or two from some of her lines. Even the rest of her family, like her bratty sounding sister, strict, disciplined mother and laidback sort of father was also pretty cool to see (although it’s so similar to Serena’s / Usagi’s foster family, so, meh).


The Gameplay


Ow…!!! I said that you could have a cookie just don’t take my freakin’ fingers off in the process, pal!


Starlancer Six is a hybrid between part visual novel and part role playing game…well, that’s what it says in the game’s description box, that is... Truth be told, at least in this stage of the game’s short lived developmental cycle, the visual novel aspects are severely lacking or not even fully present at all, because there’s no alternate dialogue choices to effect character’s relationship levels with you or not or even any cute guys to go pick up with at all – and that’s BS, because every single visual novel game that I know of and have played has you picking up something (and I’m not talking about weed).

Nah, it’s pretty much a short interactive role playing game that mainly just has you interact with various people and objects, collect a couple of items earlier on that’s represented by a visual checklist of stuff, and battle various enemies in the game’s very minimal amount of encounters. The game doesn’t even have a traditional sort of levelling up system or even any equipment or items to find or buy as your stats in-game stay consistent throughout and after every single battle encounter that you manage to emerge victorious your character will automatically heal themselves to full health. In some ways, battling just seems kind of redundant, as it only slows the pace of the game’s overall flow down - but, hey, at least it’s something else to do, I guess.

In battle, though, Kita has access to a various amount of Starlancer-like abilities, such as various fire elemental spells that hit one or multiple different targets, stat boosting abilities that increase your overall attacking power and speed for a couple of turns in exchange for some lost health, and a healing based ability that removes all bad status conditions and puts you back into tip-top fighting shape. She’s also has a double type of attack when using the regular attack option, but the problem is that sometimes when she’s about to hit for the second strike the game interrupts the action and the enemies just cancels out her remaining move and leave her stuck there without completing the second attack. It’s a bit annoying, but it might be something to do with the engine’s overall handling of this, so I can’t complain too much about it. Still, if I had to design this, I’d rather just have opted out to have either a regular attack that just hits once or just make the double attack as part of her overall special moves instead.

Speaking of specials, I never really used any of them expect for her healing spell, “Fire Healing,” and the “Strength Of Flame” spell, as everything else is just pure weak compared to her overall regular attacks. Kita also has a super special charge up move that fills up over time that can be used whenever you wish as a devastating type of attack that pretty much nukes all minor enemies in one fall shot, so that’s pretty cool and super spiffy to use. There’s also an ability setting that allows you to toggle how much damage you can do in exchange for little MP regeneration and your super special charge up ability. I never really used this type of ability either, but it’s of some practical use if you’re finding yourself a bit low on MP’s to perform your healing ability. There’s also an analyzation ability that detects how much health an enemy has left - and a suicide button…which I really wouldn’t recommend going near of, especially if you haven’t saved your progress in a while.

The battles themselves aren’t too bad, but they’re lacking a little in terms of overall customization and battle tactics. Since there’s no levelling up, new equipment, items or new spells to learn or find throughout the course, it’s pretty much what you’re given is what you ultimately get, and that’s a bit of a disappointment to me. Still, it’s hard to fault it that much considering it is the first chapter and the first dungeon in this supposive series of games, so I’m guessing that Badluck still had some more tweaks that he was going to add-in over time as he finished more chapters off. I think what would have really been cool is if Kita’s transformation ability was part of the charge meter that once it reaches maximum that she can transform into her Starlancer form while having access to all her magic and more enhanced physical abilities. In her Starlancer form, though, her MP’s would slowly drop down to nothing and once her MP’s dropped to 0, or at a certain point, she’d go back to being a regular human again, and the whole process would then starts all over again, kind of similar to The Legend Of Dragoon’s handling of transformations. Something like that would have been neat, because you’d still need to purchase items and various gear to keep the character’s regular human forms alive and have a fighting chance against some of the enemies and provide some level of strategy and depth to the battles. Perhaps transforming at certain intervals is a bad thing against certain enemies or if you use it at a certain point with somebody there that could affect their overall relationship with you - I dunno; I’m just throwing some random ideas out there, but something like that would have been really interesting.

The only shining grace that I found that stood out to me the most was the only dungeon that you explored in the game. In this dungeon you had to raise and lower the water levels to get to certain parts that you couldn’t previously reach before, find keys to unlock doors, and push and pull various switches and things to get to the next room. Yeah, it’s ripping off a little of the Water Temple in The Legend Of Zelda a bit in its design - but it still was pretty fun to explore and traverse through it. I guess the only thing that kinda was a bit of a drag is that some of the switches that you would activate wouldn’t necessarily show you or give you a hint about what they would exactly do, so you’d have to guess a lot of the time, although some of them showed you what they exactly triggered - so why not have all the rest of them do that?


The Soundtrack


…How do you know it’s going to be famous when no one’s seen it yet?


Starlancer Six’s music is pretty much a sign of the times when a lot of developers would opt to use both MP3’s and MIDI’s to do all their musical scores in-game. While most developers today generally try to stick to using the same format throughout now, like all MP3’s or all OGG files for their stuff, this game primarily uses MIDI’s with the odd slice of the odd MP3 thrown in there for good measure. Now there’s nothing remotely wrong with that as long as it’s used well throughout the game - but the overall musical selection for this? It’s all over the place.

For starters, the main title theme, “MasradgeDrag,” is the main title theme directly taken off from Stargate: The Motion Picture released back in the mid-nineties before the eventual T.V. adventation. (Oh, I get it, Starlancer, Stargate…makes sense, I guess?) You also have something from Hillary Duff out of all people (is she still relevant anymore? I haven’t heard that name in years). And you also have an ending track from a band named “hellogoodbye,” which I don’t I think I’ve heard of these guys before hearing about them in this game. These songs aren’t practically bad choices, especially for the times, but it does kind of feel like they don’t really fit and mesh that well together, especially the vocal themes. I mean, the game takes place in modern Japan with Japanese inspired characters using the similar, yet familiar art style - shouldn’t the vocal themes be more JPop more than anything else? It just makes so much sense to include JPop tracks here instead of using western vocals like this for this game. Either way, it’s okay, I guess, but it definitely comes off a bit out of character... At least the sped up Titanic song isn’t a particular bad town theme.

The rest of the themes, mainly the MIDI’s, are, again, all over the place and are taken from several different games, like Star Fox, Seiken Densetsu 3, Tales Of Phantasia and the works. Just like with all the MP3’s, they really don’t mesh that well together. But, hey, it was almost ten years ago and everyone else was doing this type of stuff before. And it’s not like Badluck’s other games, like Ara Fell, didn’t have ripped music in it either, so I guess I can understand a little.

Sound effects are directly taken off from the RTP, but at least there are a couple of custom sound effects taken from somewhere else in there, so that I can appreciate. And I really do like the atmospheric sounds of the busting townspeople in the background, nature sounds and even the sounds of running water in the sewer dungeon. It creates a nice sense of ambience and it generally feels like I’m exploring these places in real life. Similar to how Badluck used these types of sound effects in his other games, it works quite well here.


The Aesthetics


You’re awfully young to be working here, little boy.


Hey, if there’s anybody that can use Mac & Blue tilesets and REFmap graphics and turn them into a work of stunning art, Badluck’s your man. There’s a reason why his games are universally praised for their great mapping and stunning visual work with the effective useage of lightning overlays as the man knows how to make a great presentation with his work, and Starlancer Six, at least for the time, still maintains those lofty standards, as everything looks great and it’s not entirely cluttered enough to know where I can go and where the boundaries are at.

However, if there’s one glaring issue that you probably have noticed from looking at the screenshot above, most of the graphical assets in here are in the wrong place or have been switched around or they’re not even REFmap graphics, as you have little children playing the role of city officials, angels playing the role as the outside paper boy (what the f**k?), young girls being replaced by creepy, middle aged men (lol), and perhaps one of the best eastereggs of all when I played this game originally with Lita Lecotta making a surprise appearance in one of the houses in town being replaced by some generic broad! I mean – what? That was one of the best highlights of the game with her showing up all random like that. It’s almost like she’s too good now to appear in some half-assed, secondary tier shit and she decided to hold out for more money to be in this so they ended up getting some random girl off the street to do her part. (Brilliant...)

I’m not sure what the hell happened here, but this is something that I cannot stress enough with those who test their own games. Stuff like this where you have the odd misplaced sprite or graphic here or there in a twenty hour plus RPG is totally understandable, especially if you’re testing it by yourself, as large games like that are pretty hard to nail down every single minor bug or issue, but a two hour, mostly linear game that’s a demo like this? That’s totally inexcusable! You have to make sure, before you release anything, that you test it to hell to make sure that everything is all in order and all the files that are supposed to be there are all present. To be fair, though, this game ended up getting ultimately canned in the end and Badluck just simply released it just to get some sweet, sweet makerscore out of it and just put out there, so I don’t really think he cared too much if this game had one, two…uh, ten different mistakes in it? So I guess I can understand.

There’s also some misspelled words, sentences that are abruptly cut off, error messages of missing files that pop up and teleports in the dungeon that take you back to the city even though that you’ve been “supposedly” teleported to a whole different side of the galaxy. It’s not just one thing but many things, and it definitely starts to get a little irritating after a while seeing all these different types of problems pop up, as it really hurts the whole pristine mapping quality seeing silly little errors like this alongside it.

However, one of the coolest visual aspects of the game that I definitely enjoyed seeing again was the transformation sequence that happens when Kita first becomes a Starlancer. It was an awesome effect for its time and it still holds up pretty good. It just kind of sucks that you only get to see the whole transformation sequence once in this game and never see it again.


The End Result


I don’t know what’s worse: walking around in this dank, soaked hellhole or wearing this ridiculous getup?


Years ago, especially after playing and experiencing one of the best RPG Maker 2003 games in coming off of Ara Fell: The Legend Of Dirisetsu Hollow, I used to think that Starlancer Six was a pretty decent game overall that I hopefully thought one day would be fully completed and I could get to experience a lot more of this in the future. Sadly, though, like a lot of things from the past when you revisit them years and years later, that once shimmering glow about it has sort of faded away and has now been mentally replaced with one of those old embarrassing photos of yourself dressed up in something that looks pretty revolting by today’s standards. It’s a shame, really, considering the author’s massively successive credentials, but I have remember that this was made in a much more simpler time and was really just an experiment to see if something like this could work as a fully fledge game. I think if Starlancer Six was ever to come back into the fold, it would definitely have to change quite a bit in terms of its gameplay mechanics and establish its own separate identity to it so it’s not constantly compared to something like Sailor Moon.

- Speaking of that, I’m going to go watch some old episodes of Sailor Moon now to get that awful memory out of my head.




OVERALL GRADE:
2 / 5 - D+ ~ Has Some Potential To Succeed, But Fails In A Lot Of Areas.

Posts

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Well, with all due respect, I didn't release this to get "makerscore". I released it by request. The project was incomplete, and was just an exercise in trying to make something simpler (as Ara Fell and Tarion Star were prohibitively complex) and I ultimately found myself bored of the project, despite it being instructive (and a big part of the reason Rise of the Third Power turned out as well as it did).

Starlancer Six was a cute project I made for fun as more of an exercise than anything, and any of you who decided to give it a try should keep that in mind. It's not a good game, but it's charming and simple, and it's an excellent segue between Ara Fell's first release and Rise of the Third Power.

I had a lot of fun making this game about a decade ago, and even though it has its problems, I think it was a worthwhile project.
Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18722
I'm partial to the German opening for Sailor Moon personally.

Well, do you have any future plans to maybe bring this game back into the fold again once Ara Fell gets fully completed or sometime in the future? I wouldn’t mind seeing this game make a comeback again. I mean, yeah, sure, this particular build wasn’t as good as I remembered it being years ago, but with the right sort of touch-up’s and changes this game could be pretty good if it was brought back in a more updated setting.

Either way, it was pretty fun to give ol’ Starlancer Six another kick at the can again, so thank you for bring it back. ^^
To be fair, making a magical girl show as good as Sailor moon is a very tall order. It's not only well animated and has deep characters, it's probably the only anime I know that handles romance in a sensible, mature way (although it's a dreamy fairy tale kind of romance for the most part). And despite the short sailor fukus and the fact that it's anime, panty shots are incredibly rare (and interestingly exclusive to Sailor Mars).
@Addit

Eh, I don't see myself returning to this. It really was fun to make, and I remember very fondly feeling wonderful after having completed Ara Fell and struggled through about 6 abandoned projects before I finally got my groove back with S6. I agree, it's not fundamentally flawed, and I think if I returned to it, I could at least make it a respectable game...

But as Brickroad once said in his review of this game, "Why is BadLuck making Starlancer Six when he could be making Ara Fell?" I remember the moment I read that, feeling like the wind was taken out of my sails. He was right.

edit: Oh, regardless, I do appreciate you taking the time to review it!
JosephSeraph
奇跡なゲイパワー♡
7283
You also have something from Hillary Duff out of all people (is she still relevant anymore? I haven’t heard that name in years)




nope, not relevant et al.

Also, I've always wanted to make a mahou shoujo game! In fact my first 12 page comic as well as Project ROSE are mahou shoujos xD
Now i'm really excited to play this!
Also, come to think of it... Addit, I made this game 10 years ago, I am sorry of the music is out of date!
Ah…so she is still around… The only reason why I said that in my review is that I never hear anybody talk about her anymore, either at work or on the radio or at home. Then again it’s sort of my fault hanging around a bunch of other thirty year olds who the last thing that they would ever listen to is something from Hillary Duff, lol.

@ Badluck – Nah, I understand; you had to do what you had to do back then in regards to the musical selection at the time, so that’s fine. At least it’s not totally ear-grading or totally doesn’t fit with the situation given, so that's a plus.
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