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Super Stardust HD received its first expansion pack last month, to much praise from the Stardust community. The Solo Pack added several different modes, and the upcoming multiplayer add-on promises to do the same. We had an opportunity to try it out during PlayStation Day and we loved what we saw.

The "Team Pack" adds a Co-op split-screen mode, as well as the incredible Versus Mode. Within Versus Mode, you can partake in a number of different challenges, similar to the offering found in many other multiplayer games: there's Deathmatch, King of the Hill, and Grab and Run. This whole mode has been built specifically with party gaming in mind.

Up to four players can play against each other on the same planet, but the "layout" of the planet can be changed before the game commences. This allows you to overlay a maze of rocks onto the planet's surface in various shapes which players will need to navigate through. These rocks can be destroyed and, depending on the options settings, can or cannot harm players who come too close. For people who prefer a less restricted battlefield, there's an option for a clear level layout too.


After setting up the level and the gameplay options, the game asks you to set your personal handicap. This allows less skilled players to play against people of any skill level. Handicaps rebalances gameplay by offering better weapons or a faster ship. Speaking of balance, the final option you're given before the skirmish begins is the ability to decide your ship's specialty: your craft can be a good all-rounder, built for speed, or it can have more powerful weapons on-board. These options may sound complex, but are no harder to navigate than any other menus found in the game and there is enough on-screen help to prevent any confusion.

Gameplay itself is obviously very similar to the single player missions, except you are fighting against up to three of your friends. Unfortunately, there is no online mode. The gameplay is fast paced and frantic, especially in a tight map, and the various new weapons and features mix it up a bit whilst remaining familiar.


Ships are now able to drop proximity mines and are equipped with homing missiles, which players can outrun with good enough reflexes. The large exploding towers found in the new Endless Solo mode can also be found in Versus mode, but they function differently. When you are nearby you will be hit with a lightning bolt that charges up your weapons, making you move and fire quicker. These towers can still be destroyed, however, obliterating anyone floating nearby. The zoom ability has also been changed to give you more control over your boosting.

With Versus mode Housemarque has given Super Stardust HD fans almost an entirely new game to enjoy. We're always happy to see more multiplayer games with on-the-couch gameplay. SSHD has been one title we've been returning to again and again for the last year and we look forward to doing so even more regularly after the Team Pack drops sometime this Summer.


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This article was originally published on Joystiq.

No Tony Hawk in 2008