Densetsu no Starfy 3
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Platform:
    • Game Boy Advance
  • Developer:
    • TOSE
  • Publisher:
    • Nintendo
  • Released:
    • JP 08/05/2004
Score: 80%

This review was published on 07/31/2009.

Starfy 3 is the final installment of the Starfy series released on the Game Boy Advance handheld. Nintendo chose to release all three of the GBA Starfy games within close proximity to each other, an odd move by the self-proclaimed innovators of the game industry. It's hard to say what they were thinking here. I mean, Starfy is a relatively new franchise to come out of Nintendo, and thus does not have the popularity of Mario or Zelda. Logically, that would suggest that it's not the ideal franchise to milk. They did put out a lot of promotional material and aired anime television commercials for each game. Perhaps Nintendo intended to give Starfy a running start.

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New features are sparse between Starfy games. This one is no different, as it offers identical game play to the last one, with some exceptions: you can now play as Starfy's sister, Starly. While she does start out with the same basic moves as Starfy, she will learn her own set of moves as you progress the game. Some of her exclusive moves are pretty wicked, like the fabled wall-jump technique. The only thing that irked me about this game mechanic is that you can't switch to her at will; whether or not you play as Starly is decided entirely by the story and the current level you're in, so you don't get too much play time as her. It's not too bad in the end, since Starfy does end up with a better move set overall.

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Level length is an issue that has gotten special attention; no longer are they so long and boring, rectifying a complaint I had with the last two games. You also have far more variety when it comes to play mechanics this time, as new gimmicks or puzzles are introduced on a per level basis rather than a per world basis. Basically, the developers were taking notes. Visuals were beefed up subtly, with the inclusion of impressive parallax scrolling in the backgrounds. It's used very frequently throughout the game, so while subtle, it does turn out to be a noticeable improvement.

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The vehicle portions have been improved a bit, having gone from mundane little tasks to mildly entertaining bits that prove to be a refreshing change of pace. I quite liked the horse riding one, even if it isn't that different from the lava surfing in the last couple games. In the expected case that you still don't like these vehicle portions, there's not as many as before, so you should still feel better about the situation as a whole.

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Wario makes an appearance, oddly enough. Perhaps to coincide with Wario Land 4, another Game Boy Advance title. He's as greedy as always, doing things purely for his own motive of getting obscenely rich off of ancient treasures. You "use" him to solve various puzzles in one world, so it's a little more than a cameo, but a little less than a playable character. The ways in which you solve puzzles with his being are quite humorous, often reflecting the sort of puzzles you'd encounter in his own games.

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Like in the last two games, you don't get the option of a level select until after you beat the game. In doing so, you unlock a sort of "second quest" mode, where upon you are tasked with beating the game for a second time, in an effort to achieve the true ending. The differences in second quest mode are minimal but there: levels will have more enemies, characters will have different dialogue, new objectives will be given, a few new levels will be added, and you can switch between Starfy and Starly by pressing the select button. Mainly what separates this Starfy's second quest from the rest is the huge cliff hanger they leave you with at the normal ending, perhaps to give the player a greater incentive to replay the game. I found that to be a dick move, because I doubt many people will want to replay a game they just completed, even if it is good.

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Out of the three released on the Game Boy Advance, Starfy 3 seems to be the strongest one. If you're insistent on trying one of the GBA Starfy games, then this is the one I'd easily recommend the most. You'll still have to sift through tons of Japanese dialogue, but it may just be worth your while.

Word Count: 751

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