Sigma Star Saga (Game Boy Advance) Preview

By Adam Riley 07.06.2005 11

The team at Way Forward may not be the most well-known of companies, but they created one of the best Game Boy Colour titles in the system's existence in the form of Shantae, a cute little heroine that managed to show up a whole load of other computer game characters. But now the team is back! With work on Shantae Advance currently on hold, focus has shifted to a brand new experience that mixes typical role-playing features with space shooting. The question is whether this melding of two genres works smoothly or clashes in a devastating manner.

The first thing that is mightily impressive about this game is that the soundtrack is likely to be one of the best on the GBA, a system that has time and again been criticised for its lack of audio abilities. Why? Because German development team Shin'en are on-board to crank out the music. That name does not seem too familiar? Well, the team created the music tools for the Game Boy Advance, allowing developers to create some fantastic scores. But not only that, they made two space shooters

Screenshot for Sigma Star Saga on Game Boy Advance

Now, whilst a futuristic, keyboard-synthed score might not seem like the perfect theme for a role playing game, the fact that most of the battle action takes place in the skies counters any possible argument thrown at the game. You see Sigma Star Saga is quite unique in the way that you are basically playing a traditional action-RPG, such as the Zelda series. However, the hand-to-hand combat is kept to a minimum, as main battles take place in the skies. Upon entering a fight, you are transported to your spacecraft, along with the enemy to theirs and away you go. As for the whole experience gaining aspect, it is more to do with the upgrading of your ship to help you overcome stronger enemies later in the game.

Then there is the collection of weapon parts around the world, that can be put together to create custom weaponry that can help you in your fight against the hordes of evil facing you on your missions. But once weapon parts have been amalgamated it does not necessarily mean that you are then stuck with just the same old piece of equipment for the rest of the game. Instead, you can assemble and disassemble weapons to create new ones whenever you gain new pieces. To build up a weapon you must have a base piece and then can add two additional segments to make the blaster. Thinking that maybe this aspect might be limited? Well think again as there are a reported 27,000 combinations to play around with, being able to use four weapons per stage.

Screenshot for Sigma Star Saga on Game Boy Advance

You are a space pilot who proved to be a major player in an extremely important battle with the Krill army. Thanks to your immense bravery, your superiors have decided that you should undertake a perilous mission, as nobody else is suitable for such a task. The aim is to work undercover, pretending to be a Krill double-agent, searching their databases and personnel for what the secret behind their special super weapon is before they can deploy it, causing mass destruction and devastation. After infiltrating the army, you will be sent on far-off missions where you wander round in a beautifully crafted top-down environment.

Whilst wandering round, as previously mentioned, things take an adventure stance. This is where your special Krill suit can come in extremely useful. It is special because it is actually attached to your body and acts as part of your system, transforming you into puddles of slime, let you fly around with something called a 'Flutterpack', use a X-Ray beam or even speed around extremely fast. The variety included in the game gives great scope for increasing the fun factor and replay value. And 'fun' definitely seems to be the keyword throughout, with all the action being fast in order to reduce any chance of boredom setting in. Even the fight scenarios in space are quick, randomly starting as you wander around the world, and being formed from areas in the surrounding world. Sometimes you are simply faced with a small batch of enemies that require despatching, whilst others may involve the movement of things impeding your progress. And to help matters along, because your ship has hit-points and several lives, it means that if hit, the ship re-spawns repeatedly until your health runs out.

Screenshot for Sigma Star Saga on Game Boy Advance

Sigma Star Saga is quickly becoming a possible classic, just like WayForward's Shantae was on the GBA. Four different endings are a bonus of the game, with certain decisions and responses affecting what path you take and which ending you receive once the final hurdle is crossed (this includes a nice little love triangle with a female character who looks like the main character from Shantae...). With homage being paid to several classic games and some of the most attractive graphics on Nintendo's little handheld to date, gamers are certainly in for a treat.

Screenshot for Sigma Star Saga on Game Boy Advance

Final Thoughts

Multiple endings, amazing music, gorgeous graphics, weapon customisation and the overall WayForward charm mean that soon, gamers are going to be served a delicious dish of the gaming variety. It is clear that a lot of love and attention has gone into Sigma Star Saga, so it would only be fair to pay this the attention it deserves.

Developer

WayForward Technologies

Publisher

Namco

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (3 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I really hope this does well for WayForward, as it might then encourage them to finish Shantae Advance! :-D

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Looking forward to hearing the music on this!

I'm getting interested in Shantae now too!

I might quiz Shin'en about their involvement at some point...and may try to get some news on Nanostray actually.

Shantae Advance looked brill, but is sat in development limbo at the moment unfortunately :-(

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Hey Raz are WayForward based in the UK? If so, did you go to their HQ to conduct the interview?

So you mean Shantae ain't out yet? Is it canned or still in the pipeline?

Shantae is out on the GBC, with its sequel sat waiting to be completed at WayForward. And the company's American, so it was a written interview conducted via an email contact at Namco.

What makes this such a special coup for C3 is that WayForward was bombarded with interview requests when SSS was announced, so the fact we got our questions answered is quite astonishing!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Obviously means this site is on the UP! :-D

I'm sure this is the first of many to come! Great work!

After so much bad luck in terms of hosts, perhaps this is the boost of good luck we've been praying for...Support from our followers makes it all worth it, so many thanks indeed Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

This game sounds awsome!

now this is a new breed of game entirely. Ive never known of a space shooter RPG. should be good.

-Have you any idea what it's like to be a Fembot living in a Manbot's Manputer's world?
-What?

Shows that it's not just Nintendo trying to push the innovation envelope. Perhaps we'll see a collaboration between the two companies in the future?

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

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