Twinkle Star Sprites

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Twinkle Star Sprites
ADK (Neo Geo CD, Saturn)
Producer(s)Kazuo Arai
Designer(s)Yoshiyasu Matsushita
Programmer(s)Shōji Aomatsu
Artist(s)Mimoli Fujinomiya
Composer(s)Hideki Yamamoto
Hiroaki Kujirai
Hiroaki Shimizu
SeriesTwinkle Star Sprites
Platform(s)Arcade, Dreamcast, Neo Geo AES, Neo Geo CD, Saturn
  • Arcade
    • WW: 25 November 1996
    Neo Geo AES
    • JP: 31 January 1997
    Neo Geo CD
    • JP: 21 February 1997
    • JP: 18 December 1997
    • JP: 23 March 2000
Genre(s)Scrolling shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
Arcade systemNeo Geo MVS

Twinkle Star Sprites[a] is a competitive vertically scrolling shooter arcade video game created by ADK and published by SNK in 1996. It was ADK's last production for the Neo Geo. Two players are each in separate, side-by-side, vertically scrolling levels. Combinations of shots and timed power-ups damage the other player. These attacks also serve as counters to the opponent's attack.


Arcade screenshot

There are two types of standard attacks: a normal shot and a charge-up shot. Each character starts with two bombs, which clean the screen while briefly granting the player invincibility. The two players' playfields are separated by a vertical bar; each playfield is independent of the other. Series of enemies arrive from the top of the screen. The player must destroy them in chains (combos), which will send one or more fireball projectiles the opponent's screen (Normal Attack). Shooting a Normal Attack several times reflects it back as a glowing Reverse Attack. If Reverse Attacks are reflected again, a number of powerful counterattacks in the shape of one or more indestructible enemies appear (Extra Attack). Reflecting many Reverse Attacks at once can instead summon a boss (Boss Attack).

  • The Extra Attacks and the Boss Attack vary from one character to another.
  • The power gauge fills as the player destroys enemies, up to a maximum of three levels. By holding down the fire button and releasing when a certain level is reached, the player can launch a character-specific charge shot to assist in clearing enemies from the player's screen. At Level 1, the charge shot is launched. At Level 2, the charge shot and three Extra Attacks against the opponent are launched. At Level 3 (Max Level), the charge shot and a Boss Attack are launched. Firing charge shots at Level 2 and above will decrease the power gauge.
  • 30–40 seconds into a round, a blue orb appears among a chain of enemies. If this orb is destroyed in a chain, the player achieves Fever status for the next several seconds. Chains created during Fever generate faster and more plentiful Normal Attacks per enemy destroyed, which can prove to be very dangerous to the opponent if large chains are made.
  • Both players are given five life points at the start of a round.
  • Colliding into an enemy costs one life point, but the player cannot be killed this way; if a player has one life point left, colliding with an enemy will reduce the player's health to one half of a life point. When this happens, the player's character is stunned for a short while and is reduced in speed and attack power for several seconds after recovery, all while left more vulnerable to opponent attacks.
  • Getting hit by a Normal Attack, Reverse Attack, Extra Attack or the projectiles from a Boss cost three life points.
  • The match is over when either player loses all life points.
  • When a player takes damage, the opponent recovers life points equal to half of the damage taken.
  • If a round lasts longer than 100 seconds or the player does not fire a shot for more than 30 seconds, a Death enemy appears. A player hit by this enemy loses immediately (Death Attack). The Death can be destroyed as any other enemy, but always comes back, harder to kill. Additionally, if a player is successful in volleying the Death character over to the opponent's side, and Death touches the opponent, the opponent dies instantly. This is a possible, though difficult, way to win. This, of course, would require the player to be skilled enough to avoid obstacles and not fire for more than 30 seconds.


Twinkle Star Sprites was developed by ADK.[1][2][3][4]


While Twinkle Star Sprites was initially published as an arcade game by SNK for the Neo Geo platform, SNK later ported it to the Neo-Geo AES home console on January 31, 1997, and the Neo-Geo CD on February 21, 1997. On December 7, 1997, ADK developed and published an updated version of it to the Sega Saturn, featuring an anime-style intro, tweaked gameplay, a new character and a bonus 'Fan Disc' full of extra materials. After SNK ended up buying ADK's intellectual properties, SNK released another enhanced version of Twinkle Star Sprites for the Sega Dreamcast on March 23, 2000. To pay tribute to ADK, SNK included the Neo-Geo version along with four of ADK's other notable Neo-Geo titles in the compilation ADK Damashii, which was released for the PlayStation 2 exclusively in Japan on December 8, 2008. Twinkle Star Sprites later became available on the subscription service GameTap. It was released on the Wii Virtual Console for Japan on August 9, 2011.[5]

A port developed by DotEmu for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux and asm.js was released as part of the Humble NEOGEO 25th Anniversary Bundle on December 8, 2015.[6] It was released on Steam on May 26, 2016;[7] and on on May 30, 2017.[8]

Pony Canyon / Scitron released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game on February 21, 1997.


In Japan, Game Machine listed Twinkle Star Sprites on their January 1, 1997 issue as being the fourteenth most-popular arcade game at the time.[20] The game received generally mixed reception from critics since its release in arcades and other platforms.[11][12][16][18][19] However, fan reception was positive; Readers of the Japanese Sega Saturn Magazine voted to give the Saturn port a 8.85 out of 10 score, ranking at the number 118 spot, indicating a large popular following.[21] Readers of the Japanese Dreamcast Magazine also voted to give the Dreamcast port a 7.58 out of 10 score, ranking at the number 307 spot, indicating a popular following as well.[22]

Both AllGame's Kyle Knight praised the audiovisual presentation and frantic gameplay, stating that Twinkle Star Sprites is "a refreshingly innovative title that manages to pull its seemingly incompatible elements together brilliantly." However, Knight criticized the amount of slowdown when too many objects are present on-screen.[9] Consoles Plus' François Garnier also praised the presentation, visuals, animations, audio, longevity and playability.[10] IGN's Colin Williamson reviewed the Dreamcast conversion, commending the addition of extra options in the release and multiplayer mode but criticized the low-resolution graphics and stated that playing single-player modes were not appealing in a long-term.[13]

However, Joypad's Grégoire Hellot reviewed the Sega Saturn version and gave the title an overall mixed outlook.[14] In a similar manner, Video Games' Ralph Karels also gave the Dreamcast port a mixed overview, commending the unconventional gameplay but criticized the audio and visuals when compared to other shoot 'em ups on the Dreamcast.[15]


Twinkle Star Sprites - La Petite Princesse (ティンクルスタースプライツ ~La Petite Princesse~) is a 2005 sequel to Twinkle Star Sprites originally created by SNK. At E3 2005, it was shown at the SNK Booth. It is an enhanced re-vamp of the Neo-Geo title featuring fully 3D environments and a host of new characters. Clearing the game opens up a perfectly emulated version of the original Neo-Geo title. There was a possibility that it would be released in North America, but after some consideration, at E3 2006, Ben Herman, president of SNK Playmore USA, stated that the game will not be published in North America [1] Archived 2006-06-15 at the Wayback Machine The decision was that it will not be marketable for the North American audience. The sequel was released exclusively in Japan for the PlayStation 2 on July 28, 2005, and was re-released for the same platform on November 22, 2006, with the green-label 'SNK Best Collection' added to the front cover. Content remains the same as the original print.


  1. ^ Japanese: ティンクルスタースプライツ, Hepburn: Tinkuru Sutā Supuraitsu


  1. ^ Sasaoka, Jockey (30 March 1997). "コーナー: 開発者インタビュー - ティンクルスタースプライツ (設定資料集)". Gamest (in Japanese). No. 191. Shinseisha. pp. 145–148. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archived 2020-06-09 at the Wayback Machine).
  2. ^ "ティンクルスタースプライツ 開発者インタビュー". Neo Geo Freak (in Japanese). No. 24. Geibunsha. May 1997. pp. 84–87.
  3. ^ "インタビュー - 松下佳靖氏". Monthly Arcadia (in Japanese). No. 119. Enterbrain. April 2010. pp. 23–25.
  4. ^ Yamoto, Shinichi (17 November 2018). "「ティンクルスタースプライツ」と「ライバル・メガガン」。2つの対戦型シューティングゲームのクリエイターに開発秘話やシューティング愛を語り合ってもらった". (in Japanese). Aetas Inc. Archived from the original on 2020-03-11. Retrieved 2020-07-14. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archived 2020-06-02 at the Wayback Machine).
  5. ^ van Duyn, Marcel (1 August 2011). "Japanese Virtual Console List - August 2011". Nintendo Life. Archived from the original on 29 June 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  6. ^ Williams, Mike (8 December 2015). "Humble Bundle for the Neo Geo 25th Anniversary Sounds Amazing". USgamer. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on 2019-06-29. Retrieved 2020-07-14.
  7. ^ Davidson, Joey (26 May 2016). "Twinkle Star Sprites, an incredible retro cute 'em up, is now out on Steam". TechnoBuffalo. Archived from the original on 29 June 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Release: 15 SNK NEO・GEO Classics". CD Projekt. 30 May 2017. Archived from the original on 29 June 2019. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  9. ^ a b Knight, Kyle (1998). "Twinklestar Sprites (Neo Geo Advanced Entertainment System) - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 2014-11-17. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  10. ^ a b Garnier, François (April 1997). "Test Neogeo - Twinkle Star Sprites". Consoles + (in French). No. 64. M.E.R.7. p. 126.
  11. ^ a b "NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: ティンクルスタースプライツ (セガサターン)". Famitsu (in Japanese). No. 471. ASCII. 26 December 1997. Archived from the original on 18 January 2021. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  12. ^ a b "NEW GAME CROSS REVIEW: ティンクルスタースプライツ (ドリームキャスト)". Famitsu (in Japanese). No. 589. ASCII. 31 March 2000. p. 30. Archived from the original on 2021-01-18. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  13. ^ a b Williamson, Colin (19 April 2000). "Twinkle Star Sprites (Import) - What happens when you take a 2D shooter and combine it with a puzzle game and 90's graphics? Snore". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on 2021-01-18. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  14. ^ a b Hellot, Grégoire (February 1998). "Zoom - Zapping Japon/USA: Twinkle Star Sprites (Sega Saturn)". Joypad (in French). No. 72. Hachette Disney Presse. p. 90.
  15. ^ a b Karels, Ralph (June 2000). "DC Import: Twinkle Star Sprites". Video Games (in German). No. 103. Future-Verlag. p. 126. Archived from the original on 2021-01-18. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  16. ^ a b "Weekly Dreamcast Soft Review - ティンクルスタースプライツ". Dreamcast Magazine (in Japanese). No. 64. SoftBank Creative. 7 April 2000. p. 22. Archived from the original on 18 January 2021.
  17. ^ "Now On Sale Saturn Soft Impression!! - ティンクルスタースプライツ". Saturn Fan (in Japanese). No. 24. Tokuma Shoten. December 26, 1997. p. 189.
  18. ^ a b "Weekly Sega Saturn Soft Review - ティンクルスタースプライツ". Sega Saturn Magazine (in Japanese). No. 81. SoftBank Creative. 26 December 1997. p. 217. Archived from the original on 18 January 2021.
  19. ^ a b Maciejewski, A.J. (8 January 2019). "ACA NeoGeo: Twinkle Star Sprites Review - Retro competitive shoot 'em up action". Video Chums. Archived from the original on 9 June 2020. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  20. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - TVゲーム機ーソフトウェア (Video Game Software)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 533. Amusement Press, Inc. 1 January 1997. p. 33.
  21. ^ Dreamcast Magazine [in Japanese] (March 2000). セガサターン (Sega Saturn Magazine): 読者レース Final (PDF) (in Japanese). SoftBank Publishing. pp. 8–15. ISBN 978-4-79731173-0. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-10-30. Retrieved 2021-01-18. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  22. ^ "ドリマガ 読者しース (Part2) for ドリームキャスト (期開限定)". Dorimaga (in Japanese). No. 36. SoftBank Creative. 11 October 2002. pp. 30–33. Archived from the original on 18 January 2021. Retrieved 18 January 2021.

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