Last week, I wrote about the awesomeness that is Sin & Punishment: Star Successor. I had a lot of fun replaying one of my favorite games of all time. I wrote about its controls and mechanics, graphics and environments, and fun factor; however, there was a glaring omission in that review.Up to this point, I’ve avoided one aspect of the game that I find to be… just plain weird: the story. To me, plots and character development are secondary to gameplay. Judging by this game’s ridiculousness, I think Treasure feels the same way. Oh, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor has a plot. It’s just that most of it is in the instruction manual and never referred to in game, which can make for some serious WTF moments for the player. But the game isn’t just weird for the sake of weirdness; there are some genuine Badass moments to be had here as well. Today, I’d like to celebrate the unique juxtaposition of stupid and awesome that can only be found in Treasure games. It’s time for me to pay tribute to Sin & Punishment: Star Successor‘s WTF and Badass Moments!
These are the moments that happen and just can’t be unseen. You’ve no idea what just went down, and you’re left just kind of standing there in disbelief as everything else goes on as normal. You feel violated and kind of dirty, but you endure because, if you don’t, you’ll succumb to the same madness. The following are the most WTF moments in this game.
4.) It’s Only a Flesh Wound
At the beginning of Stage 1, Kachi falls on a rusty pipe and gets impaled. Sounds likes a problem, but no. Kachi jumps off of it, giggles, and then it’s onto more exploding stuff.
It’s never explained why she can get impaled and keep on trucking. They do keep referring to her as a “monster” in game, and the manual says she’s a creation from “The Creators.” Hell, the game’s secret ending reveals that she’s actually Achi, the main villain from the original game (if you don’t like Spoilers, please disregard that previous sentence). However, none of that means anything to me, and her powers and such are never explained. This scene is the only time the player sees her do anything supernatural.
I can at least concede that she’s some kind of powerful being and move on. It’s just this scene is a little out there with her nonchalant attitude towards impalement.
3.) Dolphins: The Killer Klowns from Outer Space of the Sea
The second stage’s final boss is pretty unique. He’s best described as a shape-shifting man in a suit. He has 3 forms, but it’s his last I’m a little confused on. For his final form, instead of turning into a badass, 200 foot Great White Shark or a windsurfing gorilla juggling chainsaws and smaller, poisonous gorillas, he opts to take you out by becoming 5 dolphins.
WHAT!? Dolphins? Really? Apparently Treasure feels threatened by the aquatic mammals, and they’re finally exposing them for the murderous bastards they are. It may seem silly, because it totally is, but it’s hard to argue their threatening nature when they have things called Dolphin Rape Caves.
Regardless, for a character with shape-shifting abilities and therefore limitless possibilities, why dolphins, Treasure? Granted, it’s a pretty badass and fun fight. I guess it’s their “Thinking Outside the Box” mentality that makes for good games.
2.) Spine and Nervous System Camera
What the…? The hell is this? Where’d you come from?
This… thing… just pops up in a cut scene at the end of stage one, watching Isa and Kachi Dr. Claw-style, sans cat. AND THEN HE’S NEVER SEEN AGAIN! He’s never explained, never referred to, and nowhere in the instruction manual.
Ugh, he’s gross and pissing me off. Moving on…
1.) Newborn Monster Attacks with Crane
It’s true. The most WTF moment in this game revolves around a newborn monster operating a crane in order to kill you. It’s the most bizarre and head-scratching thing I’ve seen in a long time. I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall during the development of this fight. It makes absolutely no sense. Here’s the rundown:
You kill a large monster, it spits out its baby into a LAKE OF LAVA before she dies, the heroes become cautiously optimistic as they mourn the baby’s death, then a crane claw grabs one of the characters and the fight begins with the baby at the crane’s controls.
I’ve got nothing. There’s no use in wasting jokes on this. It’s already perfect. Well done, Treasure. Well done.
Now that we got the weird shit out of the way, let’s move onto what really matters: The Badass Moments! This game’s freaking full of badassness, but which are the badass-est? Let’s find out!
4.) The Soundtrack Reminds me of Gunstar Heroes
Okay, this isn’t exactly a moment, but it had to be said. Gunstar Heroes is one of my favorite games of all time. There were many nights my brother and I wasted on this masterpiece of gaming, and its very distinct music was always a highlight for me. Hearing it nowadays takes me straight back to the days when it was brand new and my brother and I had some great times together.
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor‘s soundtrack was made by the same composer, Norio Hanzawa. His music is very electronic, upbeat, and awesome. While playing through Star Successor, there were times when its music hit me and I felt like I was playing Gunstar Heroes as a kid again. That is very badass.
3.) School Girl Sword Fight
The third stage’s near-final boss (this game has so many boss fights) is against a samurai chick wearing a school uniform, and she likes trying to cut your head off with her katana. Thankfully, you can counter decapitation with a well-timed melee attack that knocks her back. Do it a couple of times and she gets dizzy, allowing for follow up strikes a la Punch Out!!
It’s always fun to counter bosses’ attacks, but it’s especially satisfying during this encounter. I don’t know if it’s because she’s using a sword or because her and Isa have a Mr. & Mrs’ Smith sexual tension thing going on during the fight, but it’s just plain fun. The best part is when you kick her ass so much that she turns the Sword Fight into a Laser Fight, which is also badass by the way.
2.) Death by Train
Remember the “Newborn Monster Attacks with Crane” entry? Well, here’s that baby’s mother right before you kill her. You can see her chasing you in the rear view mirror at the top of screen. Why do you suddenly have a rear view mirror? Because video games!
You need to use the mirror to gauge where the furious mama is so you can unlatch train cars to hit her in the face. Each time a train car hits her, it’s followed by an enormous explosion. It’s just so awesome. Hit her in the face with enough train cars, and she eventually goes down. Just like a woman; can’t handle her train cars.
This fight is just so unique and badass. The tension you feel as you run up the train and send cars at your enormous, fireball-hurling pursuer is a great feeling indeed, compounded by the epicness of watching the cars connect and explode in her face. This is truly a badass moment.
1.) Giving Jet Skiers the Ol’ Slip
Stage 2 is a marvel to look at. Isa describes it as “underwater tunnels,” but that’s a bit of an understatement as it looks like the civil engineer responsible for its construction was freaking Moses himself. The tunnels are actually hollow swirling pathways in the ocean. It’s a really neat idea that was pulled off very well.
The best part of this entire stage is when soldiers on jet skis start attacking. They come in waves of four and are easy enough to dispatch, but when Isa and Kachi get wise to their shenanigans is when it gets epic. At one point Isa crashes through the swirling water barrier as the jet skiers come from behind, putting the soldiers at a terrible disadvantage and giving Isa an excellent vantage point to take them out. It’s just so cool to see your attackers get outsmarted so brutally. It’s this combination of guile and intuitiveness that makes this the most badass moment in Sin & Punishment: Star Successor.
Sometimes in life, things can’t be classified because, well, they’re just… different. While making my WTF and Badass lists, I stumbled upon some moments that could really go both ways. The following entries were too WTF for Badass Town, but too Badass for WTF Town.
4.) Deadly Combination
Stage 5 is a boring old desert level. It’s not much to look at, but you’re on a vehicle/alien donkey speeding down a highway most of the time, so it’s not so bad. What makes this stage so memorable is its bosses. The first is a tiger the burrows in the sand, and the second is a huge bird. They’re okay, but it’s when they get together the party starts! Literally. The getting together part, I mean. Not the party…
Anyway, you think you’re scot-free when, suddenly, the tiger and bird you beat earlier in the level return and straight up Voltron their asses together! Now, instead of kicking it in Mt. Fuji, you’re stuck dodging the claws of this bird/cat monstrosity.
It’s so stupid, but at the same time it harkens back to the days of Power Rangers and the like, and that’s awesome. But you want to know the best part? After beating it, it actually lets you ride it Falcor-style to Mt. Fuji! Amazing!
3.) It’s Time for a Good Ol’ Fashioned Texas Strap Match, J.R.!
That’s totally a professional wrestling reference, by the way. Because the Texas Strap Match is type of match they do in professional wrestling. For the uninitiated, a Texas Strap Match is when two wrestlers are literally strapped together by a long leather belt at their wrists. They then typically beat and choke each other with the strap. It’s as brutal and manly as it sounds!
For the final boss on stage 6, Isa gets strapped together to General Deko, and the two proceed to go at it mano e mano, complete with Flash Kicks and Shoryukens! And if you start to pussy out and run away, Deko will drag your candy ass back by the wrist. It’s completely fucking insane. To top it off, there’s a bomb that’s about to go off, too. Treasure went through some great pains to ensure they hit all the “Rivals finally face off” trope. Hell, Deko even has your girl tied up and screaming during the fight.
It’s this kind of over-the-top greatness that makes this encounter work for me. I’m even willing to forgive the fact that this spontaneous Fighting Game broke out in the middle of my Shooter without prompting the player on how to do anything. Don’t you just love forced mechanics introduced without notice?
2.) Ram Chuckin’
I don’t even know how to describe this.
In the middle of stage 6, a flock of mutant rams charge at you while warships fire at you in the distance. Being attacked on two fronts, what’s a guy to do? Why, hurl one at the other, course! And that’s exactly what you can do! Simply bat or punt the oncoming rams at just the right moment to send them bleating at the oppressive warships. It may sound completely stupid, and it is, but you can’t argue with results. As soon as a ram makes contact with a ship, the explosion brightens the already engulfed sky.
Really, Treasure? I can’t believe this actually left the bong-filled break room.
1.) All of Level 7
The final level is just the most ridiculous yet badass thing to ever grace a video game.
For starters, Isa and Kachi merge together to create whatever that thing in the above pic is. I’ve no idea, but it’s apparently like the Incredible Hulk: super strong and uncontrollable. However, the fusion with Kachi gives Isa control of this never-mentioned-before-this-moment super form of death. So yay!
Anyway, next you have to explode a bunch of shit in space because reasons, I guess. By this point, I had become jaded to the game’s nonsense and decided to just revel in the action and explosions, which is more than good enough for me. Then, there’s a boss gauntlet with all the dudes you beat earlier in the game. Unlike Mega Man, Star Successor gives you completely new bosses to fight, which is badass. Also, the group watches you as you fight each member, another Gunstar Heroes reference uping this game’s badass-ness. Finally, after enduring the gauntlet, you fight the final boss, which is reminiscent of the original game’s climax.
As you can probably guess, this final stage is boss fight Hell, and I love it! Each boss you fight is the weirdest and craziest construct to ever leave the fevered mind of the insane person it crawled out of. And just when you think you fought the strangest thing ever, here comes the next boss, twice as strange and trippy! And each fight is intense and satisfying when you finally overcome it. The stage is equal parts WTF and Badass, and that’s why it’s number one, baby!
I hope you enjoyed this two-week odyssey. Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is an outstanding game full of fun, excitement, explosions, and Industrial-strength, Japan-grade weirdness! I can’t even fathom the kind of human being who wouldn’t find this game to be fun. If that person exists, just stop. You’re not needed here.
Thanks for your Playing! I’ll see you all next week, hopefully not with some bad news…