Colony Wars Red Sun

Developer: Psygnosis
Publisher:  Psygnosis

The final entry in the Colony Wars series is quite a departure from its predecessors. Gone are the multiple mission paths, the series' extreme difficulty, heck, even the war between the League of Free worlds and the Colonial Navy takes a backseat to a new story arch in this game.

You play as Valdemar, a miner turned mercenary thanks to a ghostly figure known only as the 'General', apparently your character is humanity's last hope though the game never bothers to explain why your character was picked, in fact, it doesn't bother to explain much of anything really, this time around there are dozens of factions, the police, crime gangs, ruthless and corrupt companies and a slew of alien species who's relations with the League and the Navy are never really made clear, while I appreciate the fact that the developers tried to expand the lore in Colony wars: Red Sun, I felt that it only made it more confusing while downgrading the importance and scale of the series' main factions.

The game's plot is basically non-existent, you have interesting characters, but there's nothing for them to actually do, this sparks a pretty big contrast with its predecessor, Colony Wars: Vengeance, which had a great story, but no real characters.

The gameplay changed quite a bit as well, the ships handle a lot better and the enemy capital vessels no longer feature their cheap rays of death that never miss the target, instead featuring several guns and cannons that can be destroyed individually, you're also able to buy your own weapons and ships, unfortunately, for each step forward you'll find in this game, there's a step back to counterbalance it, for starters, there's a lot less mission variety, most of the missions consist of either guarding something or destroying something, you accept missions by signing contracts with different factions, but there's no repercussions with any of missions you accept, you can accept a mission by the space mafia followed by one offered by the space police and neither faction will care, you'd think at least one of them would refuse to hire you if you pissed them off.

I also found the game to be too easy, so easy in fact that I got bored fairly quickly after I started playing this and by the time I reached the game's midway point my ship was practically a flying behemoth of death. I think I only died once, during the last mission, but even then you can just restart it without any repercussions, which again, makes the game too easy and boring.

Graphically Colony Wars: Red Sun looks absolutely stunning, the textures, the ships, the effects all look great for a PS1 game, the only flaws I found were the capital ships who were quite a bit smaller in this game and the short draw distance during the ground missions. The orchestral soundtrack is pretty awesome as well, fitting the game's mood pretty well, though the songs repeated a bit too often for me.

Overall, Red Sun should have been the grand finale, the best of the series and in many ways it surpasses its predecessors, but these improvements are mostly cosmetic, the poor mission variety, the 'so easy it's boring' gameplay and the underdeveloped freedom and plot makes this game a disappointing ending to the series.

Trivia: Did you know that Colony Wars: Red Sun was created by a different studio than the first two games?

- Graphically the game looks superb for a PS1 game
- Great orchestral soundtrack
- Your ship is pretty customizable
- Enemy capital ships no longer have that cheap ray of death
- The snarky characters are pretty interesting if a bit cheesy
- Alternate path system was completely ditched
- There's no real plot to this game
- Extremely low difficulty curve makes for a pretty boring game
- The expanded lore is both confusing and underdeveloped
- Doesn't feel like a Colony Wars game at all

Final Grade: C

The cover looks pretty good, you see the Red Sun ship in the distance with a looming figure of Valdemar in the background, sure the image itself is just one big cliché, but it's a cliché that works.

As for the 30 page manual, it's... okay, it starts with a bit of cryptic and pseudo-deep dialog that sounds important but is really just pointless padding, it does however go into great detail on how to play the game, though I'd say too much detail a lot of the information there just isn't needed at all, with that said, I do like how it goes to the trouble of describing every weapon in the game, that's actually pretty useful, it also tells what you need to do to rank up in the game something which the game itself never really made it very clear.

Overall, it's a pretty good packaging, good artwork and a pretty decent manual, though I'd have liked if the manual gave you some backstory or if at least tried to fill some of the holes in the new expanded lore

Packaging Grade: B-


  1. "Apparently your character is humanity's last hope though the game never bothers to explain why your character was picked..."

    I'm actually having a similar problem with Far Cry 3 (if you'll let me go off on a tangent for a bit). Don't get me wrong, I like the game -- it's just that I have a hard time believing the main character is supposed to be this supreme warrior/survivor when the most he's done up to that point in the game (i.e. the very outset) is run away and fall off of stuff. But all the NPCs hype him up and treat him like some kind of chosen one because...because.

    I guess the idea (more for Colony Wars, to get back on topic) is based on a couple of possible points. Either

    A) There's supposed to be a "shut up and play! Don't ask questions!" mentality


    B) You're supposed to feel like a totally awesome, handsome hero at all times.

    Of course, there's always the possibility that they didn't feel like filling in plot points -- especially given that you noted a lack of context and confusing lore -- buuuuuuuut I'm a glass-half full kind of guy.

    1. I'm guessing they just weren't all that familiarized with lore in the first place, I often feel that Red Sun is a Colony Wars game in name only

  2. Went out with a whimper instead of a bang.

  3. Can't say that I know of this game, or the franchise for that matter, but those graphics look sweet. I sometimes like to study how older games managed to get so much out of so little.