Released on April 20th, 2007 after near three years delay, The Red Star is part beat 'em up, part shmup and part Communist propaganda poster. Based on the graphic novel of the same name, The Red Star follows Makita, Kyuzo and Maya as they shoot people and blow up things with vaguely Russian-named Gradius and Ikaruga references for no well-explained reason.
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Single-segment as Makita in 1:44:50 by Mike Uyama.
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[21:01] mikwuyma: and I like how you know me so well
[21:01] mikwuyma: that you just automatically assume I'm going to speedrun this game
[21:01] kevinjuang: i can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not
[21:01] kevinjuang: but i hope you're not =p
[21:01] mikwuyma: I'm definitely not
Speaking of Enhasa, I have to give him thanks for his stupid, yet ingenious strategy against El Supremo, and his support of the run in general.
I'd also like to thank #sda for containing idiosyncratic beat 'em up and shmup heads like myself. You know who you are.
Here is my typical IFAQ. Now with some questions that might actually be asked!
Q: Is Makita better than Kyuzo?
A: Yes, very yes. Though Kyuzo can some enemies faster, he really starts to suffer in the later stages when bullet patterns become faster and tougher to dodge. In addition, Makita has a better protocol for groups of enemies, better combos, and has a invincible dodge maneuver (the backflip). Makita's shorter attack range would be a disadvantage if she didn't have a dash and faster attack speed =/.
Q: Why does it look like you're playing it safe in the early stages of the game?
A: Because I want to collect as many S-ranks as possible early in the game.
Q: Why do you want S-ranks?
A: Because your rank determines how many points you get for buying upgrades.
Q: Then why didn't you get an S-rank in every level?
A: In the latter half of the game, I have most of the upgrades I need (melee, gun, and protocol upgrades), so getting a good rank doesn't matter as much. Also, getting an S-rank in the later stages would involve lots of conservative tactics that would waste too much time.
Q: What determines your rank?
A: The amount of damage you take. To get an S-rank, you need to take 16 damage or less; To get an A-rank you need to take less than 60-65 damage (I think). I think these requirements loosen up in later stages, but I'm not sure what the specifics are. Yes, like the Mega Man Zero series, getting an S-rank is very unforgiving but getting an A-rank isn't very difficult.
Q: Wait, if you can't take more than 16 damage to get an S-rank, then how did you get an S-rank on Kar Dathra's Guardian (stage 13 boss)?
A: Your guess is as good as mine. I usually don't get an S-rank when I take that much damage.
Q: Why do you sometimes stop hitting an enemy mid-combo when another enemy is around?
A: I'm trying to group the two enemies together, which isn't always successful, but it does pay off when it works.
Q: Why do you backflip out of your aerial slams instead of blocking?
A: Backflipping cancels the landing recovery more quickly than blocking.
Q: Why do you level up Makita's protocol? It sucks.
A: Against bosses it's nowhere near as good as Kyuzo's, but Makita's protocol has incredible crowd control. Don't believe me? Look at stage 18.
Q: Why do you upgrade protocol pack (extra bar) instead of protocol drain (Gives you more meter per hit)?
A: Because it's more beneficial to have two protocol attacks on hand for large crowds, rather than get a single bar quickly. I don't think protocol drain makes much of a difference anyways.
Q: Why didn't you hit the mages with melee attacks in stage 11?
A: You can't do that unless if the mages are summoning their green energy balls, and trying to hit the mages out of that attack with Makita is pretty bad idea.
Q: Why didn't you use the point-blank exploit on Troika's second phase?
A: I can't do it, I always get hit a couple of times when I try.
My basic plan was to power up my attacks as quickly as possible (gun 1, melee, and protocol), then focus on upgrades that let me shoot for longer periods of time (coolant and recharge).
I max out gun 1 ASAP because there are a lot of bosses in the game, and most of them can't be hit at close range.
Mistakes I made in my run:
I'll probably work on this run again someday, but after playing through Red Star at least 30 or 40 times (almost all of them taking 2 and a half hours minimum), I'm a little tired of playing the game.
No, these mistakes aren't in my other runs.
You can skip the tutorial at the beginning, but it's faster to mash through the text and destroy the barrier up close.
Aside from bad luck and bad play against one of the shield guys, there isn't much to point out here. I have a full protocol bar after the first miniboss because those two blade spinning soldiers are supposed to be a demonstration on protocol usage.
Cliff notes: I shoot the boss, it runs away, I shoot the boss again, it runs away again, I shoot the boss a third time, it dies.
Overall this stage went really well. However, I'd like to explain some of mistakes.
Dealing with the two white soldiers on the platform: I thought I turned around and pressed r1+square, instead I simply launched myself into the air, hitting nothing.
The long fight with the two shield soldiers: This would have been faster if one of them didn't fall down as I used my protocol.
The one place where I get hit: I was trying to kill the guy with a kick =/.
After killing the turrets, I don't shoot magnum (the stage boss) immediately because it doesn't become vulnerable until it stops moving.
Seriously, shield soldiers need to fuck off with their big fat shields that protect their sides.
I'm not sure why I was so stupid as to run straight into that mortar shot.
If nothing else, you have to admit I have a nice Katinka x16 strategy.
I should have killed the soldiers before fighting the second missilebot.
One of my few mistakes in this stage is against a shield soldier (surprise surprise).
I cool down my gun before it reaches full heat against the missilebots so I can shoot down the missiles without overheating.
The lack of an invincibility period after you get hit sucks (watch the boss). The stage was great otherwise.
The only mistake I made was protocol planning. I should have saved my protocol for the boss instead of wasting it on the shield soldier.
I got hit =(. Feel free to laugh at me shmups.com people.
This is the first time I overheated and it actually mattered. Not exactly a good first.
Honestly, I did really well here. The only thing that could have been better is my rank (stupid unforgiving rank system).
I paused the game at the beginning of the stage to switch DVDs.
I have no idea why I didn't protocol Pashtun x2.
Enhasa suggested using a protocol against the mages instead of using it against the boss. I'll definitely try it for my next run.
I overheated on the boss =/. I also overheated on this boss in my last run (I didn't submit the run because I knew I could improve it). I'm not sure what it is about the boss that makes me overheat.
Whee S-rank! I almost never S-rank this stage.
There was good reason for my A-rank in this stage, and it should be very obvious =P.
This battle was ok. I've done it without getting hit or only getting hit once *shrug*.
Other than losing 3 or 4 seconds on the boss, this stage went well. I can usually get an S-rank though.
Boooo, fatty shield soldiers return. They don't give me much trouble though.
I know I get hit a lot during the boss, but the fight is much harder than it looks. Most people agree this is the toughest boss in the game.
You win this time slow, easy to dodge columns that move in a predictable pattern, you win this time.
I really hate the reaction protocol attack. You're invincible after you get hit, go hindsight!
I'm not sure why I collected the health. I wasn't afraid of dying, but I guess this was more of a boost of confidence than anything else.
I should have bought level 2 recharge here.
My luck against the Ikarius was really bad. Usually when I walk left after the first bullet spread, it constantly exposes its open side to me.
On the other hand, my fight against damaged Ikarius couldn't have been better.
I get hit once on the elevator =/.
This stage just went incredibly well. So well, that I'm not even going to ruin your enjoyment by pointing out mistakes like I always do =P.
And stage 18 is followed up with one of the worst endings, and no, I'm not talking about what happens after Troika dies.
Single-segment as Kyuzo in 1:44:54 by Mike Uyama.
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Yep, it's time for another IFAQ. I have no idea how many people read these, but I like being stupidly thorough.
Q: Your Kyuzo run is only four seconds slower than your Makita run. Is he really that much worse than Makita?
A: Yes, although he kills enemies very quickly, Kyuzo has trouble actually getting close enough to the enemies to use his best combos. Especially the red soldiers, who can attack more quickly than Kyuzo. Also, he's slower and fatter than Makita, meaning he has more trouble dodging bullet patterns. Furthermore, this run is more optimized than my Makita run. If I redid my Makita run, I could knock off at least 45 seconds.
Q: Speaking of the red soldiers, is that why you're blocking most of the time they approach you?
A: Yes, trying to attack the red soldiers before they hit you usually ends up failing. Even if you do hit them first, you're usually too far away to use your best combos.
Q: Does Kyuzo have any advantages?
A: Yes, he is the best at crowd control, which doesn't help much unless if you're playing arena mode. He also has the best protocol attack against bosses, which helps him kill bosses faster. Maya still kills bosses faster though. Kyuzo also has the best guard bar in the game, which is a minor advantage at best.
Q: Okay, what you do on some of the bosses is so stupid. Is it really faster to stab like that?
A: Yes, it's MUCH faster stabbing bosses than shooting them. If you don't like it, too bad, because it's Kyuzo's main tech.
Like Makita, I emphasize my attacks first, but instead of upgrading protocol class, I upgrade protocol pack because you get more damage out of two level 1 protocol attacks than one level 2 protocol attack.
Unlike Makita, Kyuzo can actually skip the first tutorial and save time. (you have to shoot the junk from a distance with Makita)
I overheat on the first midboss, but it doesn't matter because I just constantly stab regardless.
Other than the first shield soldier, my performance here was great. The enemies were even courteous enough to help me by falling off for me =).
Yeah I got hit. It's not my fault Kyuzo is slow (you will see this is a reoccuring theme)
I'm not sure how I got hit after I stabbed one of the guns. I guess the gun fired a bullet before I destroyed it.
Not much to say other than the fact I'm holding back on the stabbing so i can get some easy S-ranks.
Yes, I was super lucky not to get hit by the bullet spray from that missile (first missile shooting robot).
Yes, you can destroy the first midboss in one pass by either stabbing more.
Since I knew I wasn't getting an S-rank anyways, I decided to finish off the boss with a nice, meaty stab.
No, stabbing the Kontrawalls isn't more effective, I tried.
Yep, these are some of the skills that granted SDA third place in the STGT. Really makes you wonder how we got third place, doesn't it?
You might notice I used a different strategy from my Makita run against the boss. This new strategy saves about 20 seconds.
I probably stretched the limit for A-rank here. Fortunately, none of the damage I took wasted a significant amount of time.
Maybe I should have used my protocol when I overheated my gun, but I prefer saving it for the boss.
I got an S-rank :), which is rare for this stage.
Again, the pause is me switching DVDs.
Another solid performance, except I should have used some protocol against the boss.
Argh, stupid overheating. That mistake cost me at least 10 seconds :(
I was incredibly lucky with the boxes. They usually don't cooperate with me like that.
Bleh, I've definitely done better here. This is probably one of my worst performances throughout the entire run.
In my defense, Kyuzo is slow, and fat. Very fat. In fact, one might even say morbidly obese.
This is the start of my sudden downfall in rank. At this point in the game, I have all of the essential upgrades, so my main focus is simply killing everything ASAP. That being said, I came very close to dying.
Don't deny it, you love the phallic action of stabbing machines with a big spear.
Yeah, I almost died, but the only real mistake was using my last protocol attack too late. The damage I took didn't cost any time.
Yeah, that second tank really sucks for Kyuzo. I'm sure if I took the time to learn the bullet patterns though, I'd actually know how to dodge the bullets.
This stage is pretty much a stab-fest.
Maybe I should have stabbed through Ikarius's barriers. I didn't even think about the idea until now though =/
Not much to say other than solid. I got an A-rank despite my stabbing against the midboss.
Aside from getting hit by one of the reapers, solid performance. Look at the second Troika pattern. Now those are the real skills that got team SDA 3rd place in the STGT. Now I'm wondering why I couldn't apply those skills to Giga Wing =/
Single-segment as Maya in 1:37:26 by Mike Uyama.
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Q: How did you select Maya without a memory card?
A: I turned on the game with a memory card, then I took it out when I ran the game.
Q: What makes this run so much faster than the other two?
A: Between the spear and the wall, Maya is a boss rapist.
Q: Does Maya have any weaknesses?
A: Yes, she has trouble when she is surrounded because her melee attacks aren't good for crowd control, but with some proper planning and good wall useage, you can prevent being surrounded most of the time. Also, for some odd reason, her laser doesn't seem to lock-on properly, unless if it's targeting a boss.
Q: Why does Maya's punch sometimes only do a few hits for mediocre damage, yet at other times it does a ton of hits for big damage?
A: Maya's punch gets an upgrade with a full protocol pack. No, filling up more than one protocol pack doesn't have any effect.
Maya is by far the easiest character to plan for, since her protocol is complete garbage for a speed run (she heals herself).
Her upgrade path is similar to the Makita and Kyuzo runs initially, but after I upgrade her attacks, I splurge on upgrades that let me shoot for longer periods of time.
I grab an extra protocol pack for stage 18 because her reaction protocol is actually good against the groups of enemies, but I failed to use it effectively. However, it's not a waste because I had nothing better to spend my points on.
Again, I spear the pile of junk to skip the tutorial text. This saves me about 2 seconds.
Maya has the best attack for pushing enemies off the stage. It's so elegant and minimalist.
I probably should have been more patient with the shield soldiers; they're so annoying though.
My luck here was quite good. Usually the boss will fire off four volleys, but this time it only fired off three.
No comment, the stage went quite well.
Yeah, Maya's spear counts as a melee attack, so it cuts through those buzzsaws :D
Yeah, I overheated, but with Maya's special attacks, that hardly even matters
I really used my walls in the worst possible ways against Katinka x16 (the boss). Not sure why I used my walls so stupidly.
I've tried spears against the turret midboss, they don't work.
I'm not sure why I used such an odd strategy against the Missile robots. I could probably save a couple of seconds abusing more spears.
Yup, Maya's wall rapes any boss that spams a ton of bullets. And yes, this means the wall only gets better later in the game.
Yeah, that really sucks what happened against the midboss. Wall positioning can be fickle at times.
Unlike my midboss fight, my boss fight was pretty smooth. I just wish that lone soldier wasn't such an asshole.
Yes, I have to stay that far away from the Kontrawalls, or else my laser won't hit.
<3 Maya's pseudo-infinite.
I did a better job with the boss here than in my Kyuzo run.
Maya's melee attack is awkward to aim sometimes =(, but other than that, my performance here was solid.
That wall trick against pashtun x1 (the pyramid midboss) is a lot harder than it looks. I don't think I've ever performed it consistently.
Yet another pause to switch DVDs, I'm sure you're used to it by now.
Performing the wall trick against Pashtun x2 is much easier than Pashtun x1, as you can see here =)
Again, spears don't work against the turret, but walls work great.
You might notice I stop caring about taking damage towards the end. Not like it made much of a difference in what I could purchase.
Remember what I said about the wall becoming more effective later in the game? Yeah...
Grrr...I hate it when I overshoot the wall.
You guessed it, spears don't work against the midboss.
I have no idea how I got an A-rank for this stage.
The part with the two red soldiers and the captain was a bit of a debacle, but it's hard for Maya to handle that section (still not a valid excuse for what happened though).
With Maya's spear, Ikarius is pretty sad.
No, I didn't really care about dodging the midboss's bullets. It's nice when you have a chance to be lazy in a speed run.
Ugh, I tried to use that protocol as a reaction protocol, but nothing hit me when I used it =/
Maya is the one character who actually wants to stand in front of El Supremo. Who would have thought of that idea?
No matter which character I use, I always suck at dodging Troika's attacks. Oh well, not like it matters much.
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