Astal

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Astal Title.png

Astal Saturn JP SSTitle.png

Astal
System(s): Sega Saturn
Publisher: Sega
Developer:
Sound driver: SCSP/CD-DA (1 track)
Genre: Action[1][2]

















Number of players: 1-2
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Saturn
JP
¥5,8005,800 GS-9019
Sega Rating: All Ages
Sega Saturn
US
$59.9959.99[4] 81019
ESRB: Kids to Adults
Sega Saturn
BR
Tectoy: 6+

Astal, known in Japan as Kisuishou Densetsu Astal (輝水晶伝説アスタル), is a Sega Saturn action platform game developed by Sega CS and published by Sega. First released in Japan in April 1995, it was later brought to the United States the following August. Notable for its high production values, hand-drawn visuals, and well-received soundtrack, Astal has since gained a reputation as a cult classic.

Story

Astal, Cutscene.png

Cutscene

Somewhere in the universe, the Goddess Antowas created a world from a single jewel. On this world, Quartalia, she created the sky, earth, and air. To inhabit this world, she created two humans: from a green jewel, a girl, Leda, who has the power to make things live on Quartalia; and from a red Jewel, a boy, Astal, whose purpose was to protect Leda. Content with her creation, Antowas slept.

While she slept, the evil Jerado tried to take over Quartalia. To ensure victory, Jerado created a warrior: Geist. Geist kidnapped Leda, and held her at the bottom of the ocean. In an effort to get her back, Astal tore Quartalia apart, awakening Antowas. As punishment, Antowas banished Astal to Quartalia's moon. Leda took pity on Astal, and gave him her jewel. Once Astal and Jerado were dealt with, Antowas went back to sleep.

However, Geist was still free, and Quartalia was not restored from the changes Jerado wrought. From his prison on the moon, Astal witnessed Geist kidnap Leda again. Consumed with the need to protect her, he freed himself and returned to Quartalia. Now Astal journeys in search of Leda through a Quartalia transformed by Jerado's dark design.


One day, from my prison on the moon, I saw him capture Leda again! This was too much! I destroyed my prison, broke my chains and headed back to Quartalia.

Nothing in the world means more to me than Leda—nothing! I will find her. I will find the one who took her, and I will deal with him! It's only a matter of time.

Quartalia has changed. The demon Jerado has transformed it somehow, and none of the creatures who now live here are friendly. Except for this bird I rescued, who for some reason, just won't leave me alone....

— US Manual [5]


Gameplay

Astal is a 2D platform game where the player controls Astal, who is followed by a bird companion. Astal can walk with Left and Right and run with LeftLeft and RightRight. He can crouch with Down and jump with C. He can jump farther while running. He can jump on enemies to stun them and to use as platforms for crossing gaps. He can grab enemies and objects with B when adjacent to them and throw them by pressing B again. He can also strike enemies by pressing B while in the air or while running. He can strike the ground with Down+B, which can stun enemies or reveal hidden items. He can perform a breath attack by pressing Up to take a deep breath and then pressing B, which can be used to blow enemies and obstacles away from Astal or to counter enemies with harmful defenses such as flames or spikes.

His bird companion can perform a context-sensitive default action with A. This action is shown by an icon in the bottom-right corner of the display. The action is usually attacking enemies or bringing Astal an item, but there are sometimes stage-specific special actions that the bird can perform. The player can cycle through the icons with L and R to change the behavior of A or directly tell the bird to fetch an item with X, perform a special action with Y, or attack with Z. However, not all actions are always possible; for instance, there is not always an item nearby for the bird to retrieve. There are three colored crystals in the center of the game interface that signal which actions are currently possible. Bird moves expend a resource called Karma, which is indicated by a gauge below the action crystals. Karma is collected by defeating enemies carrying Karma Balls. If the player has no Karma, the bird rests on Astal's shoulder.

Astal has a health meter with five fruits in the Japanese release and three fruits in the North American release. He loses one fruit each time he is injured by an enemy or by the environment. If he loses all of his fruits, he loses a life. His health can be replenished by finding fruits in the levels. If he loses all of his lives, the game ends, but it can be continued. The game has unlimited continues in the Japanese release but only one in the North American release.

The game supports two-player cooperative play. At any point during gameplay, another player can start controlling the bird with a second controller. The bird reverts to computer control if the player goes idle. When being controlled by a human, the bird has a health bar and can no longer be controlled by Astal. The bird can move in any direction with the D-pad and dash with LeftLeft or RightRight. The bird can strike enemies with B, hold and release B for a charge attack, or hold and release C for a dive attack (which can be steered with the D-pad). These attacks do not cost Karma. If injured, the bird can rest on Astal's shoulder with A; Astal gives the bird one of the fruits from his health meter. Both players can perform a combination attack if Astal does his breath attack with Up and B while the bird does a dive attack with the D-pad in the direction of Astal and C. This causes the bird to do a ricochet attack against all enemies on screen. This attack costs Karma.

The story is progressed by cutscene interludes between the stages, which have scrolling artwork and voice acting, or sometimes by in-game events. There is an introduction cutscene that explains the plot as well as an animated opening cinematic that contains hints on how to defeat the bosses.

Bird Icons

In single-player games, instead of the bird's health gauge, the game shows an icon indicating which action the bird will perform if the player presses A.

Astal, Bird Icons.png
Rest
The bird is out of Karma and resting on Astal's shoulder.
Astal, Bird Icons.png
Attack
The bird can attack enemies.
Astal, Bird Icons.png
!
The bird is delivering a warning or can perform a special ability.
Astal, Bird Icons.png
Item Search
The bird can deliver an item to Astal. Press A again when the bird returns to drop the item.
Astal, Bird Icons.png
X
This icon replaces Astal's health gauge rather than the bird's. It means that Astal is incapacitated and the bird must save him. Either player can control the bird when this happens.

Items

Astal, Items.png
Red Fruit
Replenishes one fruit on Astal's health gauge.
Astal, Items.png
Green Fruit
Fully replenishes Astal's health gauge.
Astal, Items.png
1-Up
Gives the player an extra life in addition to fully replenishing Astal's health and Karma gauges.
Power Star
Fills Astal's Karma gauge.

Stages

Astal, Stage 1.png

The Journey Begins

Astal, Stage 2.png

Into the Darkness

Astal, Stage 3.png

The Evil Eye

Astal, Stage 4.png

The Deep Forest

Astal, Stage 5.png

The River of Dreams

Astal, Stage 6.png

The Forest Fiend

Astal, Stage 7.png

Volcanic Valley

Astal, Stage 8.png

Guardian of Fire

Astal, Stage 9.png

Sea of Clouds

Astal, Stage 10.png

The Behemoth

Astal, Stage 11.png

Glacial Rift

Astal, Stage 12.png

The Crystal Palace

Astal, Stage 13.png

Frostbite!

Astal, Stage 14.png

The Plains of Destiny

Astal, Stage 15.png

Destiny Unfolds

Astal, Stage 16.png

The Fight for the Future

History

It was originally released in April 1995 in Japan before subsequently seeing a release in North America and Brazil. Curiously the game was never released in Europe, despite initial plans.

Astal was not a launch title in western regions, though was brought to the Saturn in its "software drought" period, created when Sega of America unexpectedly brought the console's launch several months forward. Though reviews of the game were not stellar, it became a common and relatively well-known Saturn title in the regions it was sold in due to a lack of alternative software. Astal has yet to be bought to any other platforms or see any sequels since release.

Versions

Localised names

Also known as
Language Localised Name English Translation
English (US) Astal Astal
Japanese 輝水晶伝説アスタル Kisuishou Densetsu Astal

Comparisons

Main article: Astal/Comparisons.

Development

Main article: Astal/Development.

Production credits

スタッフ
プログラマー
プランナー
アーティスト
サウンド
アニメーション制作
Source:
In-game credits (JP)


Programmers
Planning
Artists
Sound Staff
Animation Staff
Opening/Ending Theme Music
S.O.A. Credits
Source:
In-game credits
Source:
US manual[6]

Magazine articles

Main article: Astal/Magazine articles.

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
92 [7]
Sega Saturn
92
Based on
1 review
Sega Retro Average 
Publication Version Score
CD Consoles (FR)
72
[8]
Consoles + (FR)
90
[9]
Computer & Video Games (UK) NTSC
62
[10]
Edge (UK) NTSC-J
50
[11]
Famitsu (JP) NTSC-J
60
[12]
Game Players (US) NTSC-U
66
[13]
GamePro (US) NTSC-U
80
[4]
MAN!AC (DE) NTSC-J
70
[14]
Mega (UK) NTSC
72
[15]
Magazina Igrushek (RU)
80
[16]
Mean Machines Sega (UK) NTSC-J
53
[17]
Sega Power (UK) NTSC
63
[18]
Sega Saturn Magazine (JP) NTSC-J
73
[19]
Video Games (DE) NTSC-J
64
[20]
VideoGames (US) NTSC-U
90
[21]
Sega Saturn
70
Based on
15 reviews

Astal

Saturn, JP
Astal sat jp backcover.jpgAstal sat jp frontcover.jpg
Cover
Astal Saturn JP Spinecard.jpg
Spinecard
Astal sat jp disc.jpg
Disc
Saturn, US
AstalBack us.jpgAstalBox us.jpg
Cover
Astal Saturn US Disc.jpg
Disc
Astal sat us manual.pdf
Manual
Saturn, BR
Astal BR cover.jpg
Cover

Technical information

ROM dump status

System Hash Size Build Date Source Comments
Sega Saturn
CRC32
MD5
SHA-1
627,301,920 1995-03-28 CD-ROM (JP) GS-9019 V1.006
Sega Saturn
 ?
CRC32
MD5
SHA-1
636,808,704 CD-ROM (US) 81019 V1.003

Track list

1. Data track
2. Let me try again (1:59)
From: Opening demo
Vocals: Aya Hisakawa
Running time: 1:59

External links

  • Sega of America webpage: Saturn
  • Sega of Japan catalogue page (Japanese): Saturn

References


Astal

Astal Title.png

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