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Genesis Power Battles Vol. 01: Ristar vs. Sparkster

Fight! Ever wonder how your favorite Genesis characters would fare in one-on-one battles against each other? Have you ever argued with friends that Chakan could wipe the floor with any of the chicks from Valis? Well, wonder no more! Sega-16 kicks off a new series of articles in which we examine exactly who is the best of the 16-bit best! In each installment of Genesis Power Battles, we’ll be pairing up two stars from Sega’s most successful console to see who would honestly win in a fight between the two.

Don’t worry though, all battles will be done in a fare and logical manner, matching characters who are more or less on the same level, no Master Chief vs. Tails here! All participants will be gauged on the following criteria:

Background: Where did the participants come from? Would their backgrounds provide them with any distinct advantage?

Appearance: How intimidating would the characters actually be? Do their looks reveal what kind of opponent they’d be?

Abilities: What weapons or powers do the participants have at their disposal? Are they melee-based or long-ranged? Any special moves?

Speed: What some characters lack in power, they make up for in quickness.

Overall Power: How much damage do their special attacks do? Do they powerful to eliminate every enemy around, or are they limited to a single foe?

So, without further adieu, on to round 1!!


I don’t think we really need to explain this one. Ristar is at a severe disadvantage here, and though he’s got some serious heart, he lacks the combat experience to effectively tackle Sparkster successfully. Unlike him, the possum hero is a soldier, who lived for defending his kingdom and princess, and he’s go the know-how to win a battle and come out alive. Sparkster’s training and equipment give him a huge bonus in this area, and little Ristar might very well find himself out-classed in terms of combat strategy and tactics.

The manual to Ristar itself is testament to how green he really is. Although young and inexperienced, Ristar is valiant, determined, and the solar system’s only hope. I’m glad he’s so brave, but compare this to Sparkster’s history. As captain of the Rocket Knights- the kingdom of Zebulos’s elite fighting force – he fought and banished Axel Gear, who is the main bad guy in the series. So, he’s not only an accomplished hero, but also the captain of his country’s most elite force? ‘Nuff said.

Advantage: Sparkster


At first glance you’re probably thinking that neither one of these two are very intimidating. I mean, a little yellow star against a possum? You’d need to look again, as there is a very serious difference here. That little possum is armor-plated and brandishing a pretty big sword. He’s perfectly equipped for battle, and you can tell he’s a hard boiled soldier – about as hard boiled as a marsupial can be – just by looking at him. Not to take anything away from Ristar, but he’s a little too happy to instill any fear in his enemies, something that might actually work to his advantage in the long run. Still, it’s a gamble, and even though foes might take Ristar’s pleasant demeanor as a sign of weakness, there’s no guessing with Sparkster. He’s combat-ready and isn’t afraid to hide it.

There are a few of you that are probably snickering right now, wondering how appearance can actually be a factor when we’re discussing mascots. True, these little guys are supposed to be cute and attractive; that doesn’t mean they can’t hold their own! If we can send them off to save the universe, surely we can pit them against each other in singles combat!

Advantage: Sparkster


Platforming fans, here’s where things really get interesting. It may be true that both of these heroes have some great abilities, and are very versatile in their respective environments. It is here, however, that Sparkster really shines. It might initially appear as though Ristar would have the edge, given his great stretching ability. Moreover, while Sparkster can use his awesome jet pack to fly over obstacles, it tends to overheat, leaving him vulnerable to attack. Ristar, on the other hand, can stretch his massive arms and climb over any and all obstacles in his path. Be it vertically or horizontally, there’s nothing that can stand possibly in his way. He also has the ability to manipulate and carry objects to open doors, something Sparkster is sadly lacking (riding in those big chicken walkers is cool but doesn’t count, sorry). So all of this bad news for the knight obviously means that Ristar wins out in this area, doesn’t it? Don’t be so sure.

The thing is, you can’t downplay Sparkster’s combat ability and training. He’s a warrior, and his skill with his blade would keep Ristar’s long arms from ever getting close. By combining his jet pack in short bursts with his spin attack, he could be all over Ristar in seconds. Even the yellow star’s mighty Meteor Strike would not help him, since he hasn’t the ability to use it at regular intervals. Sparkster’s power of flight may be limited, but its readily available when he needs it. The mighty marsupial could also bounce off surfaces while in flight, leaving Ristar dazed and unable to get a decent grip on him to land his powerful head butt.

Advantage: Sparkster


This is one category where neither hero is lacking. Sparkster’s jet pack lets him soar at break-neck speeds, high and above pits and enemies. Ristar’s Meteor Dash allows him to zip from one stage to the next, as well as attain massive bonus points. So who’s faster? I would have to give the edge to Ristar, since he’s able to literally fly from one planet to another. The power of a star is much more than that of a man (possum?)-made jet pack, and even though the flying stage in Rocket Knight Adventures showed that Sparkster is no slouch when it comes to zipping through the air, you just can’t compete with interstellar travel.

I had to think a bit here about who really is faster. Sparkster can reach great speed, and we’re more exposed to his abilities in both games, since there are entire stages devoted solely to his flying and fighting. Ristar is only shown airborne at the end of each stage. I figured that perhaps Sparkster should win, but once I realized that it wasn’t just control, but overall velocity that mattered, Ristar was the clear-cut victor.

Advantage: Ristar

Overall Power

Were either hero to truly attack at full strength, giving no quarter, showing no mercy, I shudder to think of the consequences. As two of the most underrated stars in 16-bit gaming, no one would ever contemplate the utter destruction that could be caused by such a conflict. Let me put things in perspective here. Ristar alone has more power than most Genesis heroes, being that he’s the son of the Space Hero…who just happens to be something not unlike a cosmic entity. Imagine a cute little Galactus-type being with a sunny disposition, and you’ll get the idea.

That me me think for a second. At first, I thought “how could Sparkster overcome the power of a star? Then I remembered his Legendary Armor from the second game. At the very least, this would put him on the same level as Ristar, and it might even put him over. How much it will help him against Ristar’s cosmic abilities is unknown, because little is known about the full extent of both heroes’ capabilities. The deciding factor here is that we can speculate all we want about Ristar’s potential, but we’ve seen Sparkster in action. I’m not convinced that Ristar would have as much power as his father, since it was never used in the game, and there is simply no evidence of it to be found. In fact, I’d wager that Sparkster would at least be able to go toe-to-toe with him for a while, were the two to duke it out at full power, but who knows how long he’d last? One thing’s for sure, without the armor, he’d probably be toast.

Advantage: Draw

Winner: Sparkster (3-1) 

The Rocket Knight may have won out in a few areas that aren’t important in battle, but he also took the most important category of all: abilities. Ristar is certainly faster, but that doesn’t mean much against someone who can combine speed with agility and combat skill. It is possible that Ristar might prevail if he were to let loose with the full brunt of his Space Hero power, but that is merely speculation. The hard facts show that Sparkster is definitely the better warrior, and would most likely win a one-on-one face off.

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