Going in dry

Previously on The Grim Adventures of LewdGamer, we took a relatively quick look at Dungeon & maid, GRIMHELM’s most recent title as of this writing. However, no LewdLook had been given to GRIMHELM’s prior work, Dark Star. While we would like to say this is purely a tactical decision to review a video game fresh off the shelves, it’s actually entirely due to the writer’s negligence. By which I mean my own. That being said, let’s venture back to November 2014 and give Dark Star some long overdue attention.

Dark Star is a 2014 release by GRIMHELM, which was already established not even one paragraph ago. Initially, the 32-bit version of the game wasn’t 100% functional and there was no way to decensor the game, though fixes for both have since been made available on GRIMHELM’s official blog. The game was also updated one month after its initial release, bringing with it a few new animation tweaks and compatibility with the aforementioned decensoring patch.

Our journey begins with Dark Star politely asking what resolution, graphical fidelity, and even which monitor you want the game to run on. It even allows you to rebind keys if you don’t abide by the sacred ZXC + arrow key method of controlling 2D platformers. Once that quick process is complete, you’re greeted with a few logos, followed by the title screen, which highlights the two aspects of this game you will come to know quite quickly: the busty blonde protagonist and her bodacious, buxom, bare body. As I will henceforth assume to be the case with all titles from GRIMHELM, this woman is also nameless, blonde, and blue-eyed, which strongly implies she is also American.

The first thing that should be addressed regarding Dark Star is likely the very first thing anyone who first plays the game will notice: Controlling this nameless woman is comparable to strapping weights onto your ankles and being forced to crawl up a muddy hill while it’s raining. Make no mistake, you’ll get there eventually; you just might lose all perception of time before you do. The game is seemingly designed with this pace in mind, so if you’re not quite in the mood for fast-paced, action oriented 2D platformers, maybe Dark Star’s pacing is more suited for you. Interestingly, it’s entirely possible the slow stride of the woman can be explained by the fact she’s wearing pumps. She may also be a hooker, if her confident strut and lack of facial expressions are any indication.

More to the point, the goal of the game is to lead the woman to the exit of the level, which is naturally preceded by hoards of enemies and some bottomless pits. In the case of Dark Star, those enemies are aliens, which will jump on almost any opportunity to move in towards and rape the protagonist. Considering these aliens seem to be heavily inspired by the handiwork of H.R. Giger, hot dog-headed aliens with dicks plastered on them isn’t as large a leap in logic as it might initially seem. Nonetheless, the enemy variety isn’t something to scoff at, even if their designs may look similar at points. While they all involve trying to fuck the protagonist in different ways, the two most common ones you’ll see are “that one flying asshole that won’t stop firing bullets” and “that other flying asshole that won’t stop flying towards me”. Enemies in Dark Star will seize any opportunity to rape you, even if you’re trying to kill them. Once they invade your personal space, you better get hammering on that X key (assuming you’re using default controls) to break free from the rape as quickly as possible.

It’s not all bad, though. From the very beginning, you have access to dual energy pistols that can fire a slow, piddling projectile at enemies. If that fails to excite you, then you needn’t worry, because Dark Star likes you so much, it has four different shot types to collect! Why, the game is so generous, you can hold all four of these shot types and switch between them whenever you want! In fact, collecting the icons strewn about early stages can even upgrade the shot types up to three times, giving the protagonist a potent arsenal to dispatch enemies with. Best of all, if you act now, we’ll guarantee you keep these upgrades once you complete the first stage! No sir, not even death can swipe these invaluable beauties away from you. All that said, only about two of those four weapons are actually useful, while one is purely redundant and the other is only useful in one or two situations. We’ll leave it up to you to discover which weapons are which here; after all, we can’t just go around handing you every single answer.

Of course, we are LewdGamer, and it’s our job to relay the good stuff your way. Dark Star has about 17 of those illustrious GRIMHELM sex animations for you to watch. Hard to get frustrated with a game when your punishment is watching the protagonist getting fucked by both practically and impractically positioned cocks. In fact, if you opt not to button mash your way out of the sex sequences (which is bold, seeing how that drains your precious health), you’ll notice that the pace of the sex is a bit dynamic, with thrusts and speeds fluctuating between slow and fast. The sex positions can even change midway through the animation, which adds some variety if you stick around long enough to see it. It’s exactly a huge detail, but it’s a nice detail. Additionally, Dark Star features a gallery for when you need some of that self-induced TLC. All 17 animations are available for viewing here if you see them beforehand, which is common procedure by now.

And rest assured, will you see all of them by the time the game is done, because Dark Star doesn’t just love dicks on enemies; it loves dick enemy placement. Dark Star sports that one very curious type of difficulty which isn’t easy to describe. It’s generally easy to deal with, but it’s also very easy for enemies to stun-lock you and rapidly drain your health. Some enemy spawn points feel as though they give you the suitable ultimatum of “submit to the rape or die outright,” which has unintentionally real connotations. The woefully slow movement assuage this much, especially when the only places to really escape to are narrow platforms, and that’s if you’re lucky. While knowledge of what enemies are where and what weapons to use certainly help, they don’t help the player triumph over situations where you’ll unavoidably lose health. Make no mistake, sex being the only option in a situation isn’t the complaint here: The issue is that it takes time and health, and the only solution is to blitz through it and exploit the post-sex invincibility frames to chip away at everything else trying to have its way with you. Compounding this even further is the absence of a checkpoint system in Dark Star, meaning any death results in starting the stage over. It can become somewhat of a drag considering how slow the heroine strides on her journey.

Perhaps – and this is mere conjecture, having played both titles – some of Dark Star’s design choices went on to influence Dungeon & maid. The design of that game, as we divulged into previously, is more open-ended and lenient compared to Dark Star. Running and gunning simultaneously isn’t possible in Dark Star, but it totally is in Dungeon & maid. Movement was sluggish in one game, but fast and loose in the other. When you mix that into a bowl with the fact GRIMHELM’s animations improved between the two titles, the result is the possible truth that GRIMHELM learned from Dark Star and learned how to improve on it. Perhaps it could even explain the mysterious apology that accompanied the release of Dungeon & maid on the official GRIMHELM blog. Alternatively, I could just be looking way too deep into this.

In closing, Dark Star isn’t a terrible game by any means: there was clearly passion and effort coded into it, but it is hard to recommend on the merits of its gameplay alone. Despite being the first game from GRIMHELM, Dark Star’s presentation is already more than respectable, thanks to the detailed backgrounds and sprites. Playing the game for the sex scenes is a relatively short endeavor worth undertaking, though it won’t be a painless one. Alternatively, you could also use the “All Gallery” cheat that’s conveniently available on the title screen if you don’t feel like earning your smut like a true lewd gamer. The choices are yours, and yours alone. If this article convinced you to play the game, then head on over to DLSite to purchase Dark Star and support GRIMHELM.

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