Ara Shirinian, Game Designer
Selected work from The Red Star (Xbox, PS2)

I was one of the core designers on The Red Star project. My contributions focused on the shooting/long-range gameplay, and the prototyping, design and implementation of non-bipedal enemy behaviors, mid-bosses and bosses.
Skyfurnace RSS Konstantinov
One of the first mini-bosses in the game. The glowing core is its weak point, which is exposed and then hidden at various intervals. In this attack, it first traces a web of beams, which are not dangerous to the player...
...A brief moment later, the actual laser burst is fired. This gives the player an opportunity to read and anticipate the attack beforehand.
Another attack pattern from the same mini-boss. This time, tracers swing back and forth from each of the turrets. A volley of bullets is fired only when the player touches one of the tracers, which also causes the tracer to retract temporarily.
Here's an encounter with the "turnstile turrets." The different colored beams are simply there to aid in the readability of the action. Each of these turrets slowly rotates by itself, but the player can stop or temporarily reverse the roatation by firing shots at it. The beams are mostly unavoidable, so the player needs to carefully fire at targets in order to create a safe path through.
Here is an original enemy design based on the "ring-surrounding the player" motif that's been used by Treasure in many of their games. The ring of turrets spins in alternating directions, with the attack density increasing as turrets are destroyed. Once only a few remain, the spinning pattern carves out a spiraling shape that chases you around.
The Nokgorka boss is encountered in a special side-scrolling shooter stage! This was largely inspired by the U.N. Squadron bosses, so you've got a large tank with multiple targets to destroy and squadrons of enemy ships everywhere.
After you destroy everything on the giant tank, the weak point finally reveals itself. This is one of its three attack patterns: The bullets spread out in an undulating sine wave shape. Its other attacks include a volley of missiles that fall from above, and a dense burst of projectiles from its mouth that the player must shoot through.
Here's a navigational challange, filled with shifting patterns of three kinds of blocks: The grey ones are indestructible, the blue-green ones are destructible, and the ones with spheres inside fire off of volley of bullets at the player when destroyed. The player has to carefully carve out a safe path through the maze.
This mini-boss warps around the room, firing off this flower-like pattern of bullets whenever it appears. There are random gaps in the pattern each time, enough for a skillful player to avoid damage each time, even though it looks quite dense.
This mini-boss circles the platform while firing semi-homing bullets at you. What's more, each of the tiles on the platform explode a few moments after being stepped on. As you can see, stepping on a tile lights it up blue, and after a moment it turns red before actually exploding.
Here's a sequence where a device at the far end of the bridge churns out these barriers that make their way toward the other side. Each barrier can only be destroyed by the appropriate attack (melee or projectile), so the player must effectively modulate both attack types in order to make progress.
Skyfurnace RSS Taktarov
The last mini-boss in the game, this encounter brings back previously encountered elements that the player now has to deal with simultaneously. The main target is the turret at the top of the screen, but smaller turrets continuously re-generate at the six points surrounding the player. The player is encouraged to shoot the small turrets in order to decrease the mini-boss' attack intensity, but at the same time the player must balance these actions with attacking the main target.
This one was inspired by the 4th stage boss in Ikaruga and also includes elements commonly found in Gradius bosses. The core in the center must be shot, but it can only be reached after the shield pieces are destroyed first. Streams of bullets are emitted from the outside, the pattern of which varies as the speed of the mini-boss' rotation changes. Lasers are also fired down the channels that the player has to fire into to damage the core.
In this encounter, the four turrets fire continuous beams, and then rotate in such a way that the player's area gradually gets smaller and smaller over time. The challenge is for the player to destroy the targets before the beams get too close.
Media Coverage

Play Magazine, September 2004

Quotes From The Press

"One of the biggest gaming surprises seen so far in 2004!"
"Great mix of brawling and shooting."

"One of the Best Games of E3 2004."

"It has the potential to become the sleeper classic of 2004."

"The Red Star is looking pretty impressive."

Contact Information
Ara Shirinian
ara at housenet dot org