The Best 32x Game
When people usually think about the 32x, the first thing that comes to mind is how it had essentially ruined Sega's reputation to the general public and made the launch of the Sega Saturn an awkward affair. As an effect of this debacle, not many people know or realize that the 32x, while a marketing disaster, had quite a few excellent games in it's line-up. And of those excellent games, Stellar Assault ranks at the top.
Stellar Assault was a 32x exclusive made in 1994 by the Japanese Anime Studio Artmic and Published by Sega, Artmic is most well known for producing the Original Bubblegum Crisis, Genesis Climber Mospeada, and Megazone 23. Artmic is also the home studio of famous character designer, and author, Kenichi Sonoda. Stellar Assault features mechanical designs shared by the Artmic Production "Gall Force" with one ship in particular being a direct carry-over. When Stellar Assault was prepped for release, it was planned to be released internationally under the title "Stellar Assault," however, for reasons unknown, the US release was retitled to "Shadow Squadron", so while Japanese and Europeans may know the game as Stellar Assault, in the United States, it is known as Shadow Squadron.
Stellar Assault is from the same generation of early 3D flat-shaded polygonal games as Star Fox, Virtua Racing, and countless other early 90s Arcade and PC games. Finally released in early 1995 as one of the last titles made for the 32x, Stellar Assault was a truly unique title when compared to other Console games it's generation. Unlike Star Fox, Stellar Assault was not an "on rails" shooter, and allowed the player to fly freely throughout the battlefield, in any direction, for any length of time. Also, unlike many other Flat Shaded games during the period, it was obvious to many that Artmic had put a great deal of care into the detail and shape of their 3D Ship Models and for its time, the game sported a very high poly count, and an extremely smooth framerate. The most important factor, beyond the graphical finese, and overall freedom, was the smooth and responsive controls. For a game made on doomed console, this was a masterpiece.
The Sega Saturn Remake
The remake on Sega Saturn was a Japan-only Exclusive released in 1998 by the developer Sims, and again published by Sega.
Stellar Assault: SS has a number of changes and improvements over the original 32x version. The first thing anyone noticed about the game was that it had fully texturemapped polygons and the ships themselves had slimmed down in shape and polycount. Overall the game took full advantage of the Saturn's capablities and pushed the system very hard, (like many titles released that year.) The game had a total of 15 missions, compared to the 32x's 6, and had fully cinematic mission briefings and voice acting throughout. The overall mission design was in-line with the original 32x with a few extras thrown in; including but not limited to, tunnel diving, atmospheric flight, "Battles of Endor", annoying genki girls(computers), and damsels in distress. Overall, the Saturn version was nearly faithful to the original, and still captured it's charms.
Rebirth on PC
Stellar Assault: FSO is an independent project by fans of the Original game to creat a whole new Space Flight experience for the PC. Focusing more on Classic Sega Arcade-styled gameplay, Stellar Assault FSO if meant to be a fast paced, action-packed homage to the the Arcade Shoot-em-ups of yore. Ship models and gameplay are heavily influenced by the 32x version of Stellar Assault, while the story and atmosphere is strongly guided by the Saturn Version. All in all, SA:FSO combines elements from both games to create a fresh single-player experience.
However, a great singleplayer experience is not all that we care about, SA:FSO will feature fully thought-out multiplayer component that will allow players to choose any faction of the Epsilon Eridani Colonial War.
In the year 3218, jump into the cockpit of some of the most advanced fightercraft seen in any space-shooter; the Feather-Series. From the Highly Maneuverable Feather1, to the Tank-Like Feather2, and to the Ultra-Light Feather4, the Human Race has the most devastating weapons ever seen in battle. Our alien opponents, the Veslans, have been in space only since the 2500s and have expanded to create an Empire spanning 17 Star Systems, 15 more than we have.
Synthesis had recently obtained the funds to send a Colonial Mission to the Epsilon Eridani Star System. Unknown to us, the Veslans had already begun colonizing a planet we had slated for Terra-forming. Synthesis unknowningly bombard's the planet with comets to begin the process of reconfiguring the world for Human Habitation. The Veslans living on the planet are vaporized in the repeated comet impacts. The Veslan Government perceives the Human Terraforming method as an act of war and genocide and because of superior human technology, are immediately beaten in the first battle. 2 Years pass, and the Veslans learn from their mistakes and return to Epsilon Eridani to remove the human presence once and for all. It takes another 3 years for the Veslans to finally eject Synthesis from the Star-System, demoralizing and badly humiliating the colonial company. The Solar Government is finally alerted of the Conflict 14 light-years away and the Solar Government Navy is mobilized to intercept the Veslan Fleet at Saturn. The Veslan Super-Carrier "Ganeluza" is no-where to be seen however and is spotted an hour later behind SGN lines, launching raids in the Astroid Feild, the Shipyards at Mars, and finally at Earth. It is approaching evening in Caen, France and the SGN/SSF Joint Garrison is ordered to scramble to intercept the Ganeluza and her escorts.
This is where you come in, you are the Synthesis Space Force pilot James "Reaper" Ringo, stationed in Garrison for the last 5 years, like the rest of those living in the Solar System and Alpha Centauri, you had no idea Humanity was at war, and no idea that the Veslans even existed. Now you must ready yourself for battle, and the single most defining moment in Human History. As the war drags on, your life values will be challenged, and loyalties shaken from their foundations. Pick a side, rise to the occasion, and prepare for Stellar Assault!