My story with Housemarque started in 2007 with a game called Super Stardust HD, but my gaming path already crossed close to them during the Amiga days. I can remember watching information about Stardust in magazines (developed by Bloodhouse) or ads of Elfmania developed by Terramarque. Soon after, in 1994, those two companies merged and formed Housemarque. The following years they worked on PC and also on consoles, but never played their games. It was with the release of Super Stardust HD for PS3 10 years ago when they established the base for becoming one of the best arcade games developers in the industry.
I remember it as one of my first downloadable games and, certainly, one of the best. The game was an updated version of the already cited Super Stardust, which was released in 1994 for Amiga and was later ported to CD32 and PC. It was inspired by the classic Asteroids and the PS3 version took that foundation and expanded it greatly, improving the gameplay and the technology behind it.
Original game has some basic modes, Arcade and Planet Mode, either playable solo or co-op), but in this kind of games the goal is always to improve your score and your position in the leaderboard. Those modes has following gameplay features:
- 5 levels/planets, each one with different 5 phases of asteroids and enemies and a final boss. Unfortunately, some bosses are the same between planets, changing the number from one to two.
- 3 different weapons you can select in every moment whose power is upgradeable by collecting items dropped by special green rocks. You don’t lose those upgrades when you die, dying only affects to your Points Multiplier. Each weapons works better with different types of asteroids.
- Additionally, when you’re in trouble you can use ship’s temporary boost, which also serves as attack, or the limited bombs, which you can replenish by destroying a special cargo ship at the beginning that appears at the beginning of the waves.
There were three DLC packs, first two released in 2008, which added more options:
- Solo Pack: Adds new modes, like Endless Mode, Survival Mode, Bomber Mode and Time Attack.
- Team Pack: split-screen co-op and versus modes, also additional soundtrack potions and customizable ships. Never bought this pack, so I can talk about this one.
- In 2011 they added Impact with another DLC, where you only can use Boost to destroy enemies.
The game had different versions later, for PSP, Vita or PS4 (this one not developed by Housemarque), more or less similar to the original ones, adding new planets or modes, but always incredible addictive. 10 years later, here a video showing me playing the game this week, trying my best while I show all the game’s options. Yes, I’ve lost reflexes in 10 years xD:
Note: feature image and video thumbnail image obtained from PlayStation.com