The Red Star was originally developed by Acclaim, before the company went bust. Originally both Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions were planned for release; however, once acquired by XS Games only the PlayStation 2 version was brought to market as the original Xbox had been phased out by that time. A demo of the Xbox version was available on Demo Disc #35 of the Official Xbox Magazine.
There are a total of three characters you can play through the main campaign with, however only two of these are unlocked from the start. The game features offline co-op.
Sorceress Major Maya Antares and her faithful guardian, combat and weapons expert Kyuzo have devoted their lives to the service and defense of the United Republics of the Red Star. Under the command of Skymarshall Urik Antares, Maya and Kyuzo have led the crew of the Skyfurnace Konstantinov through countless battles. But now, while entrenched in the war to control the rogue Republic of Nokgorka, Maya and Kyuzo meet a Resistance Fighter named Makita. This ferocious young warrior holds to be under the control of the Dark Lord Imbohl and his chief assassin, Troika, the Harvester of Souls.
The gameplay in The Red Star is a combination of beat-em-up and shoot-em-up with the camera moving between side-on and over-the-top to best suit the gameplay at hand. The game keeps throwing different challenges and enemies at you throughout the 18 levels of the normal campaign. Each level usually comprises of a few sub-bosses and one end boss, but a few just have bosses or feature side-scrolling action.
Within each level, you are limited to 100 hit points, which can be replenished with health packs found along the way.
At the end of each stage, you are assessed on your ability (which is mostly to do with how much health you lost) and are given points depending on this score. You can then use these points to upgrade various attributes of your character, such as armor, and the damage your gun does.
Upon completion of the main game, you unlock an "Arena mode" which allows you to unlock "cheats" that you can use when playing through the main mode, including a "hard" mode. These modes require you to fight against an onslaught of the various enemy types.