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Japanese arcade flyer of Astra Superstars.
|Developer(s)||Sunsoft (programming) |
SANTACLAUS (illustration, design)
|Platform(s)||Arcade, Sega Saturn|
|Release||Arcade June 6, 1998 |
Saturn August 6, 1998
|Arcade system||Sega Titan Video hardware (STV)|
|Display||Raster, 704 x 513 pixels, 6144 colors|
Astra Superstars (アストラスーパースターズ) is a 1998 2D versus fighting arcade game illustrated and designed by SANTACLAUS, developed and published by Sunsoft, and distributed by Tecmo in Japan on June 6, 1998. It is Sunsoft's fourth fighting game after the 1994 Super Famicom Hebereke franchise spin-off Sugoi Hebereke, the 1995 Galaxy Fight: Universal Warriors and the 1996 Waku Waku 7. It is powered by the Sega Saturn-based arcade system known as the ST-V (Sega Titan Video). Unlike most typical fighting games, Astra Superstars is an airborne-based fighting game.
The object of the airborne-based fighting game is to constantly attack the opponent until he/she/it is knocked out (KO'd) in two out of three rounds (except the one round-only final boss fight), which this rule is commonly found in most fighting games. There are two modes in the original arcade version: "Story Mode" (1P-only) or "1P VS. 2P" (same as nearly every multiplayer mode of other fighting games). In "Story Mode", the player must select a character to play through the game with. At the beginning of each battle, the player must converse with his or her opponent by selecting 1 of 3 sentences. Depending on which sentence is selected, the CPU-controlled opponent will either "Heat Up" (become hard), "Cool Down" (become easy) or stay neutral before fighting (no difficulty change). This is only used in all playable characters and the mini-boss, but not the final boss.
Depending on what is said, the player can encounter the Devil (based on bad judgment of character) or the Angel (based on good judgement of character) to fight before the final boss, though the Angel requires the player to judge their opponent well and not have any hiccups, or else the Devil will inevitably show up, should just one choice be bad.
Player controls with an 8-way joystick and six buttons, similar to one of the two arcade cabinet versions of the 1987 Street Fighter and its sequel Street Fighter II. However, the six basic moves work differently compared to typical six-button layouts. The two heavy attack buttons usually send the opponent flying across the stage; however, sometimes the opponent can bounce himself/herself off the side of the screen he/she was sent toward. Depending on how aggressive the combos are performed, sometimes the opponent bounces back and forth around the screen like in pinball (as indicated by the game). Moving the joystick horizontally will move the player's character toward the same directions. Moving it horizontally twice will allow the player's character to dash toward the same direction. Moving it vertically will move the player's character briefly below or above the screen, which can be used for dodging attacks or chasing opponents above or below the screen. When holding the joystick vertically, the player's character will slowly move back to the middle of the screen. The energy bars below the screen are "Star Rank" bars, which are used for filling enough energy to perform one of two desperation moves per playable character called "Star Specials".
Unlike most fighting games, Astra Superstars only features the small basic moves and the large Star Special moves, but no medium-sized special moves. The player can summon a shield around his or her character to briefly prevent the opponent from attacking the player's character. If the player constantly attacks the opponent that is guarding, the guard breaks, making the opponent briefly unable to move. When next to the opponent, the player can "turn behind" the opponent. If the player KOs the opponent the second time either with one of two heavy button basic moves or with a Star Special, the opponent will exit the screen. If the player aggressively attacks and KOs the dizzied opponent, it becomes a "Doctor Down" KO. Like in Data East's 1984 Karate Champ arcade, when the time is up, the judge will determine who fought the best. Depending on how the player or opponent wins a round, the winner will have a certain letter placed below his or her lifebar. The "V" means the winner KO'd the opponent with a basic move, the "S" means the winner KO'd the opponent with a Star Special, the "D" means the winner aggressively KO'd the dizzied opponent, and "J" means the winner was chosen by the judge.
Astra Superstars was later ported to the Sega Saturn exclusively in Japan on August 6, 1998, two months after the original arcade version. While this version features the same "Story Mode" and 1P VS. 2P modes, it also features seven exclusive modes. "1P VS. COM", "COM VS. COM", "Character Profile", "Option Mode", "Illust Gallery" and "Exit". "Exit" returns to Attract Mode. This version's soundtrack is an updated version of the arcade version's soundtrack.
SANTACLAUS, the illustrator of the Astra Superstars art and design, developed and released a novelty freeware software on their website Astra Inn for Mac and Windows PCs dedicated to Astra Superstars fans titled Rouge Kitz Room (るーじゅ・きっつ・るーむ), which allows users to dress Rouge in different clothes, who is one of the characters from the game as well as SANTACLAUS' mascot. They also developed and uploaded an online casino-style online card game Fools Karte (フルスカルテ) on December 12, 2001, for members of Astra Inn only. Fooly from Astra Superstars was added to this game as its protagonist. Rouge, Maron, and Stella, also from Astra Superstars were also added to the game with three exclusive characters: Ravi, Prato and Trasche.
|Astra Superstars - Original Sound Trax|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||February 18, 1998|
|Genre||Video game soundtrack|
|Label||Pony Canyon |
A soundtrack album of the Sega ST-V arcade system version was released by Pony Canyon and Scitron Label on February 18, 1998 exclusively in Japan under the catalog number PCCB-00298. It contains nearly every background music, as well as sound effects and voice samples from the arcade version. It also includes "Angel Star -Soundtrack Version-", an exclusive version of Maron's theme "Angel Star". It was composed and arranged by Kazuo Nii, Atsushi Takada, Satoshi Asano.
- ASTRA INN (Official SANTACLAUS website) (in Japanese)
- Astra Superstars at the Killer List of Videogames
- Hardcore Gaming 101