Every week, we will present a new game to be nominated for the Diehard GameFAN Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame. These nominations will occur every Monday and Friday, respectively. Our standards are just like the Baseball Hall of Fame: every game will be voted on by members of the staff, and any game that gets 75% of the vote – with a minimum of four votes – will be accepted – or thrown – into their respective Hall.
Game: Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth
Release Date: 8/3/2001
System Released On: Playstation
Genre: Strategy RPG
Who Nominated The Game: I did, strangely enough.
Why Was It Nominated: I’m not a common contributor to the Hall of Shame. This is really due to two things. First, before the internet, I was too young to really know how horrible some of the games I played truly were. After the internet, I can always check reviews and other assorted opinions from forums and such. Therefore, I’ve been doing a pretty good job avoiding really shitty games my whole life. When our Editor in Chief, Alex Lucard, asked for nominations for the Hall of Shame, I really just threw the shittiest game I could think of in and hoped it would be considered horrible enough. Apparently, I’m not the only person who thinks Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth is a horrible game!
Everything from the music to the graphics to the story in Hoshigami is so bland that I can’t believe it was released in 2001. But the real reason why this abomination was nominated is because of how nut crushingly hard it is.
Now a little challenge is always good, and many games pride themselves on being challenging (Ninja Gaiden, Super Meat Boy, etc.) but the difficulty in Hoshigami goes off the scale so far that even Chester Cheetah would be aghast at the level of cheesiness. One early level has you starting off on the bottom of a hill that is entirely occupied by throngs of archers that proceed to rain pointy death on your units as they slowly climb up the hill.
When I first played this, after I died about two dozen times, I thought I must be doing something wrong and that my puny mind couldn’t comprehend the needlessly overcomplicated battle system full of things like the “R.A.P” system and summons called “coinfeigm” for some silly reason (because you summon them from coins, see) but a quick check of FAQs online revealed the horrible truth: there is no trick to this. If you want to beat the game, simply level grind in the optional tower levels until you’re at least 20 levels above all your story opponents, then plow your way through. After you beat the first batch of story missions, another optional tower pops up, and you can expect what comes next: grind another twenty levels before continuing, and so on. On top of this, the game had perma-death, where if you lost one of your faceless mercenary characters, have fun training a level one newbie back to wherever it is you are now.
A strategy role playing game so bad that it barely qualifies as “strategy” and in my eyes barely qualifies as a “game”. That’s why Hoshigami:Ruining Blue Earth was nominated for the Hall of Shame.
All in Favour:
Mohammad Al-Sadoon: I picked this game up in late 2002, well after the release of the PS2, hoping for a swan song to end the lifespan of my original Playstation and for another great SRPG after I completed Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre: The Knights of Lodis. What I got was a game that buried my Playstation and turned me off SRPGs until I was fortunate enough to pick up the first Fire Emblem game on Gameboy.
How can a game so ass be made well into the 6th year of the Playstation’s existence? Why did Atlus bother to sully its good name by localizing this game? Not only that, but Arc System Works (the studio behind Guilty Gear and Blazblue) had to go ahead and release a remake on the Nintendo DS that by all accounts was just as bad as the original. Just the fact that this game was fully localized and got a remake that was also fully localized while awesome games like The Last Story continue to languish in Japan just makes me feel that the Japanese still hate America for World War II.
Alex Lucard: Hoshigami remains the worst SRPG I have ever played, and I’ve played the most obscure ones ever released, from Grotesque Tactics to indie made freeware games. No SRPG has filled me with such hate than Hoshigami. A horrible engine, boring, insipid and idiotic characters, with an A.I. that was even worse. Every idea it had that was decent like “dead = dead” ala Fire Emblem was then compounded by the fact that you HAD to level grind, and the game forced it on you. It was an imbalanced clusterfuck that was trashed by every reviewer on either side of the Pacific that spent any time with it. To say that Hoshigami is one of the most panned games of all time is no understatement, and because of how poorly the game was designed in nearly all aspects, this is one of the easiest shoo-ins for the Hall of Shame yet.
Whether it’s coinfeigms, pointless battles, a plot that was like getting papercuts on your tongue or the horrible engine, Hoshigami: Running Blue Earth has earned every last bit of its infamy, and MaxFive deserved to go out of business for this turkey.
Chris Bowen: Hoshigami is another case of a bad game just not being bad enough to be considered one of the worst of all time. It’s not the worst SRPG of all time (though in fairness, that award goes to a hentai game by the name of Pretty Soldier Wars 2048 A.D.), and if you are willing to put up with a load of bullshit, there IS some enjoyment to be had here.
Hoshigami is what I like to call a Ryan Smith Game, named after the former staffer in our NATE years that finds ways to love every obscure Japanese game – good or otherwise – you can find. If it features anime chicks in weird situations, he’s played it and probably likes it. I actually think Ryan would like Hoshigami – hell, I said even he would dislike Spectral Force: Genesis, and he tells me at least once a week that he loves the game – and because there are a lot of people out there like Ryan Smith, I have to say that this isn’t worth the lowest of our low. Those are the games that *no one* in their right mind would like, and this doesn’t qualify, no matter how weird this group’s taste might be.
Mark B.: So, yes, this game is rough as hell in a lot of respects; the story is mediocre at best, the game is massively unbalanced and basically forces you to level for hours and hours to accomplish anything of substance, and the game overall is just an unpleasant experience in several respects because of its immensely complicated mechanics and overall need to break it off in the player.
That said, Hoshigami tried to experiment with some interesting, if flawed, strategy concepts that I found interesting IN THEORY, so that, on its own, basically is worth enough to say “No, it’s not that bad”. Further, while the game is unpleasant, it isn’t TERRIBLE, and it’s not broken enough for me to curse its name. It’s just unpleasant and unbalanced, not openly unplayable or offensive, so I’m going to have to oppose this nomination.
Result: 2 In Favour, 2 Opposed, 50% Approval = REJECTED
Conclusion: Everyone agrees that Hoshigami is a bad game, but if you can look past the horrendous level grinding and over-complex gameplay mechanics, there’s basically just an bog average SRPG underneath all that crap. It just depends on how determined you are to get past the bad parts of the game.
Next Week: One of the furry mascots that was created to capitalize on Sonic’s “attitude” era of game design follows the blue hedgehog to the 3D realm a little too well.
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