Watch your metre
The game begins with the choice of two playable warlords, with a further one to unlock when you progress. Each warlord has a different fighting skill, Kyuzo is a soldier with broad soldiers and a powerful punch, whereas Makita is an agile and speedy rebel; and Maya, once you unlock her, specialises in ranged sorcery. Through a mixture of shooting and melee attacks you move through the linear levels killing any enemy that crosses your patch, and taking part in increasingly difficult boss battles. The action begins when you are alerted to a Red Fleet attack on the R.S.S. Konstantinov. The aim is to reach the ship before it's destroyed by smashing and shooting your way through a number of futuristic looking mechs that carry high tech weaponry and wear futuristic armour. Along the way you'll need to destroy hovering battleships and vehicles that shoot lasers, which you have to dodge before shooting at their weak spots in order to blast them to pieces.
If you've played and enjoyed any of the retro shoot 'em up, beat 'em up classics from the past then you'll probably enjoy elements of The Red Star, it's fast paced, challenging and entertaining in places. Unfortunately, the entertaining aspect of the gameplay is fairly limited due the repetitive nature of the gameplay and the familiar feel to the battles. There's nothing wrong with the mechanics of fighting, combat is pretty smooth and there are some half decent options at your fingertips to help you plough through the attacking hordes of enemies. A standard melee attack, which you can press three times in order to pull off a powerful combo, is made slightly more interesting by a melee metre. And, if you fill up the metre by bashing as many of the clone baddies as you can, rather than using your shooter, then you can use a special protocol attack, allowing you to impale an enemy with your sword and then twirl him around like a pig on a skewer to knock out others around you. The metre theme continues with a heat metre which fills up when you use your gun to excess and disengages once full and there's also a shield metre, which also fills up should you use your shield too often and disengages for a short period leaving you vulnerable to attack.