Novastorm Brings Futuristic Rail Shooting to PlayStation – October 10th, 1995 – Today in Video Game History

Novastorm Sony PlayStation

Novastorm is a rail shooter. You are either a fan of them or hate them. This futuristic shooter was developed by Psygnosis and released on various platforms such as Sony PlayStation, FM Towns Marty, and 3DO. While technology allows this level of graphics in real time, back in the mid 1990’s this was, at least graphically, impressive. The story has a lot in common with Disney’s Wall-E movie.

Novastorm, the darker Wall-E

In the far future, humans have left Earth in giant spaceships. Each ship contains Earth’s ecosystem to keep the people alive. Their goal was to find a new paradise to screw up, I mean, make theirs. Everything is controlled by artificial intelligence, so the humans quickly became lazy.

As with most A.I., things start to go awry for the humans as they are now classified as the enemy. This is where we as gamers come in. The humans were not unarmed in their pursuit of paradise and the A.I. has taken this into account. The A.I. has created the Scarab-X forces to destroy the humans who are controlling the Scavenger 4 squadron – you.

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Sony PlayStation version

Simple gameplay

The gameplay in Novastorm, and most action based FMV games, is reactionary. Sure, that is true for every game really, but here it is more pronounced.

Full Motion Video games were limited in other areas as well. There is extraordinarily little randomization to expect. Titles such as Dragon’s Lair could mirror the footage to create minimal challenge for those that memorize the patterns. Novastorm could get away with this as well but something like Night Trap would not be able to make use of that limited method of challenge increase.

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3DO version

Full Motion Video was used a lot back then

Novastorm is one of the few rail shooters to make use of Full Motion Video (FMV). For the most part, FMV was used for interactive mysteries. There are other action-based games using the faded technology such as Corpse Killer and Ground Zero: Texas.

The technology was a quick burnout with fans when gamers first saw Night Trap on Sega CD (later 3DO and PC received ports) and Sewer Shark (another rail shooter). While graphically these releases are impressive, lack of replay value quickly aged FMV based games and fans soured on the novelty.

Novastorm ports are unique

If you grab the Sony PlayStation version, then expect stark contrast between sprites and the FMV backgrounds. The MS-DOS version is clearly the source material for the PSOne release. The 3DO version has a much smoother presentation, and it is presented in widescreen (you can use your television’s zoom feature to fill the screen). If you are a purist, the PlayStation version is one of the “long box” releases to look for.

Fans of rail shooters, here you go. Novastorm is one of the more graphically impressive ones you can grab.

Carl Williams

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