Ristar joins SEGA Forever line-up

Ristar3Sonic Team’s Ristar might have only had one game, but it was a pretty damn good one. The stretchy armed platformer featured fantastic music, vibrant and colorful world. The game was also more of a slower platformer, having Sonic Team take a break from Sonic the Hedgehog games was a nice change of pace. If you never played the game, I feel like you should try it on a better emulator than what is being offered right now on SEGA Forever, but if a mobile phone is all you have then you can give the game a try for free, with ads. If you like what you played, you can always keep it ad-free for only $1.99. I have downloaded and played it a bit, the emulation on this title is a bit better, but still having issues with sound (on my Android device).


It seems that Ristar had a sneak launch, while SEGA Forever teased the game, they haven’t officially announced it coming out. No trailer like they did for The Revenge of Shinobi last week and no tweet (as of writing this). If you want to learn more about the future of the SEGA Forever line of games, check out our interview with Danny Russell (Mobile Games Community Manager at SEGA).

Round Table: How we would like to see Ristar brought into the modern era

Ristar week has been a blast, but it ain’t over until we throw a round table! This week, our writers answer the question: “How would you like to see Ristar brought into the modern era?” Despite Ristar’s short lifespan in the 90’s, the character’s popularity has endured, as evidenced by our full week of Ristar coverage and Ristar’s inclusion as a cameo in Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing and his second cameo as the flagman for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. But cameos are not enough for SEGA’s star headed platformer, we think he deserves more.

Read on to see how we would like to see Ristar brought into the modern era!

Retro Review: Ristar the Shooting Star

 Ristar title copy

SEGA’s catalog is quite literally littered with spectacular characters and franchises that either never took off or never made it to the west. We each have our favorites and one of mine is a little game for the Genesis called Ristar, a glowing example of SEGA’s mascot aspirations that was unfortunately unable to find an audience.

Back in the early Genesis days, SEGA was looking for their Mario killer. After Alex Kidd failed to save the Master System from being anything more than a speed bump to the NES’s growing monopoly, SEGA knew it needed a mascot that could capture the imagination (and money) of gamers. As we all know, they would eventually come up with Sonic the Hedgehog. Along the way, however, they created some other concepts, including a bunny that could throw things at enemies. This concept would percolate within SEGA for years, until it was finally released in 1995 as Ristar.

Art of SEGA: Ristar the Shooting Star

All Sonic fans are familiar with the work of Yuji Uekawa. He has been the franchise’s primary character designer for nearly two decades now, taking the reigns in 1996 with Sonic 3D Blast. He’s most notable for completely redesigning Sonic and his friends for the new millennium in Sonic Adventure, and has played a pivotal role in the character design of most Sonic and Sonic Team titles since then.

Before Sonic though, Uekawa had Ristar. He was Ristar’s lead character designer, designing all of the characters in the game including Ristar himself. Unfortunately, there is no art book for Ristar, so we had to rip the designs straight from the Japanese version of the manual, which is filled with beautiful illustrations of Ristar and other characters, as well as a few nice instructional comics and backgrounds. We’ll also be including the sprite artwork from the credits.

The character artwork was taken from SEGA Retro’s Ristar manual scans. The sprite artwork was ripped by Dr. Schnaps. The various bits of trivia and character information can be sourced to Ristar Cluster. Enjoy!

SEGA Tunes: Ristar’s Du-Di-Da!!

Planet Sonata is probably my favorite stage in Ristar. The first stage has you carrying metronomes to song birds and gradually activating the instruments for the stage’s background music. It all culminates in the stage’s boss fight, which attacks you to the rhythm of this theme! Planet Sonata is a perfect example of what makes Ristar special: it’s creative, unique, and introduces gimmicks and elements that are then discarded for the rest of the game in favor of other gimmicks.

If the early stages of Ristar don’t grab you, I would encourage you to at least try to stick around until Planet Sonata

SEGA Retrospective: It’s Ristar Week, c’mon!


I’d like to welcome you to Ristar Week! This week we’ll be focusing on Ristar’s depressingly short run as a video game star, looking back on the character’s two games. Sonic Team’s star-faced hero never got his due back when he first came around. Debuting just a few months after the release of the 32X and just a few months before the US debut of the Saturn, Ristar came out at a time when the Genesis was no longer a console SEGA was interested in selling. As a result, Ristar was ignored and became a cult classic. This week, SEGAbits will be giving Ristar his long overdue respect.

  First, though, a little history lesson.

The SEGA Five: Five Game Gear games that need to come to eShop

3DSGG copy

This may not surprise you, but I was a Game Gear kid. While everyone else was bringing their Game Boys to school, I happily chugged away on my full color backlit power house, playing Sonic Triple Trouble, Lion King and Lucky Dime Caper. So when I heard the 3DS was going to have its own handheld centric Virtual Console, I was stoked. Finally, some of my favorite games from childhood would be available to play on a modern screen!
So far, SEGA’s selection of Game Gear titles have been pretty solid, with only a handful of mediocre Sonic games ruining what is an otherwise fine selection. Yet, there are still some spectacular titles missing from the line-up, titles which should be given their due before SEGA calls it quits on the Virtual Console.

SEGA Tunes: Ristar’s Planet Freon – Ring Rink

As we near Christmas day, I knew a festive Tuesday Tunes was in order. The Sonic the Hedgehog franchise is filled with great wintery tunes, but I felt Sonic has been covered far too much on Tuesday Tunes (and for a good reason, Sonic music is awesome!). Christmas NiGHTS would be perfect, but it’s too obvious. Shenmue‘s Christmas tunes would be perfect, but we’ve aleady covered them. And that’s when it hit me, Sonic Team’s Ristar has an excellent winter tune. The game’s fifth stage, Planet Freon, is a planet made entirely of ice and snow. But you won’t find Imperial Walkers and Wampas on this ice planet, instead you’ll find downhill skiing and a bizarre alien enemy chucking snowballs. The music for the first portion of the stage begins almost as if you’re about to hear Jingle Bells, but what follows is a catchy tune with solid drum beats and a peppy tune perfectly suitable for a winter wonderland. So as the sun goes down on this Christmas eve, why not revisit this SEGA Genesis classic? It’s the best present you can give yourself.

The Weekly Five: Genesis/Mega Drive classics that deserve the retro engine treatment

Ever since SEGA announced the Sonic CD re-release running on the Retro Engine, I had a long list of retro titles that I wanted to see use the engine. Then after awhile SEGA stopped announcing titles for it, then out of the blue they announce Sonic 1 & 2 re-releases using the engine. As much as I love Sonic, there are plenty of SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive games that I would love to see running on the Retro Engine. Check out the five games I would want to get the Retro Engine treatment and what type of extras I would love to see for them.

SEGA Five: A Salute to the SEGA All-Stars Part 4

I can’t believe that four weeks have passed since we began this salute to the SEGA All-Stars appearing in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed! Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 can be viewed at those handy links. If you’re all caught up with us, let me introduce you to our five All-Stars for this week: Ulala of Space Channel 5, Shadow of Shadow the Hedgehog (oh, and some franchise called Sonic the Hedgehog), Sonic’s not-quite girlfriend Amy Rose, Aiai’s wife MeeMee and our flagman of the game Ristar.

Ristar revealed to be the flagman in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

In the last All-Stars Racing title, fans pushed for NiGHTS and Ristar and ended up with NiGHTS making a cameo as the flagman and Ristar appearing alongside the track in the Death Egg DLC. Now, in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, NiGHTS moved his way up to the racing roster leaving the flagman spot open. Sumo Digital hinted that a flying character would take NiGHTS place, and fans speculated on a number of characters including Opa Opa. But in the end, thanks to a preview from ve3tro.com, Ristar has been confirmed as the game’s flagman.

You know the development team tried their best when the race starts and Ristar is cheerfully waving the flag. Each of the courses is a visual treat that will certainly make gamers smile. The various transformations that take place in real time make it even more exciting to look at.

Weekly Five: Five Game Gear Games that Need to Be on 3DS

There are some interesting similarities between 3DS and the Game Gear. They both have 5-6 hours of battery life, they both have oversized peripherals that defeated the whole “portable” concept, and now…they both have Game Gear games! Last week, the Game Gear debuted on the 3DS’ Virtual Console service with a strong trio of titles: Sonic Triple Trouble, Shinobi, and the rogue-like Dragon Crystal. The line-up was a good way of introducing a new generation of gamers to what the Game Gear had to offer. The Game Gear has way more to offer then these three though, and hopefully SEGA will send some of the titles I’ve listed below our way in the coming months.

I would also like to make some special notes: we did not record these videos, and we recommend that if you want to see more, you click them and visit the creator’s Youtube channels. Also, I would like to note that the sound in the final game on this list isn’t as bad as it is in the video.