You fail it! Your skill is not enough, see you next time…
Blazing Star, the 1998 sort-of sequel to Neo Geo horizontal shoot-em-up Pulstar is famous for all the best reasons. If you’ve never heard of the game, you’ve almost certainly heard of its supposed contribution to modern catchphrases – the FAIL!
Thanks to developer Yumekobo’s fabulous “Engrish”, the use of the word “fail” became an interjection rather than a simple verb. It’s not certain that this is the case, but this post from the New York Post believes it is, and who am I to argue!
Obviously the unusual English isn’t a reason to try the game though. What you should look for is some spectacle, and Blazing Star delivers the goods with its pseudo-3D pre-rendered graphics. Lots of arcade shooters look ‘nice’, but Blazing Star looked (and still looks) incredible. It’s impossible to show you this with a few screenshots though. You really need to watch a video of the action, like this one:
I’m in awe of how this game looks. And if you make it to the end of the game, you’re rewarded with a fight against a baby! I’m not making this up!
Hey poor player!
Thanks to a recent update on smartphones, SNK have some nice character visuals on their website. I’ve never understood why shmups really need highly developed character bios and storylines, I’m just in it for the space-based kills!
Thanks the wonders of the internet, you can find lots of further reading about this classic game. I was particularly pleased to find the website Shmupulations which has gone to the trouble of translating some Japanese developer interviews from Neo Geo Freak magazine.
You can also check out the always-awesome SNK Wikia site which handily informs you that Blazing Star can be played not only in the Arcades, but also on a Neo Geo, the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console, via Microsoft Windows, on a Nintendo Switch, or on iOS and Android devices.
This post continues a new series from me:
An irreverent and artistic A-Z of Neo Geo Gaming.