Blazing Star is by far my favorite Neo Geo shmup. I’ve been into Neo Geo stuff for a long time and have a pretty nice MVS collection, but in terms of shmups, Blazing Star stands out to me as the peak of what’s available for the system.
There’s something about the general presentation that just makes me love this game. The combination of setting, spritework, music and the silly announcer makes for a great game that’s a joy to play. There’s also some great foreshadowing like the huge ship in the background of the first stage showing up as a later boss.
It’s a game that both works well to play both for score or survival. Since I tend to just focus on clearing the game I’ve been playing Windina which is considered the strongest ship for survival, since the auto-fire mode of it is very strong.
This is a game where memorization is the most important part, and “bullet dodging” isn’t that much of a thing. Blazing Star forces you to learn how the stages work, and what to do when. The Stage 6 boss, which goes on for about four minutes(!) is the most obvious example of this.
This makes it hard to give much tips in terms of strategy, other than to just work out a route that works. There’s no bombs or extends, so you’ll need to rely on knowledge of how stages or patterns work. If there’s one specific survival strat I would give, it would be that at the last boss when transitioning into the last pattern (at around 26:45 in the video above), make sure to set up to aggresively attack the boss before going around it. This allows for a quick kill that avoids the last pattern.
Clearing this game took me a few weeks, where most of the time was spent routing the last few stages. Somehow this was always fun though!
Stuff from the collection
I have a full kit of this for MVS that I bought ages ago. This is actually a somewhat common game, but it has climbed up in price in more recent years like most shmups.