The future. A place of wonder, majesty and... cloned heads floating through open space? Yes, it would seem that the "evil" Stash has returned, after his initial outing in Slarti And Stash Space Saga where he was banished to space for a bit of drug use, he has returned to wreak vengeance for the way he was mistreated. And to do this, he has cloned himself thousands of times to produce a clone army and they are all heading towards Earth bent on making people smoke lots of drugs. Anyway, our foray into the blackness of space is somewhat blacker than usual because, we're told, Stash and his evil minions have destroyed all of the stars. Quite how we're seeing our ship and Stash's brood is anyone's guess but perhaps they have torches. Thinking about it, they don't appear to have bodies so how they're holding those torches (or how they destroyed the stars) is probably best left unanswered!
The in-game music is rather good and, whilst it's a venerable piece by Mixer of Origo and has seen a lot of previous use, it actually fits an action game quite well. The graphics are scarily weak, not actively bad as such but very simplistic and there is absolutely no variety throughout the game; the player's craft is a red triangle with a bias relief cabin on it's top and the clone army are very reminiscent of the Licker ships from Llamasoft's excellent Iridis Alpha, although only visually because whereas Minter's creations are vicious little bleeders who, once released, hounded the player without mercy until one of the two was dead, these incarnations are reduced to simply trudging down the screen.
WE LIKE THE MISTER MASTER - WE DON'T LIKE YOU
Difficulty is reduced to how fast the Lickers... erm sorry, clones are moving, shoot a hundred and suddenly there's a lurch as all of those remaining on the screen begin to move faster. Not sideways or anything involved like that (which would have made it play more like the first stage of Pirates In Hyperspace, something I might have actually applauded it for since I've always been almost perversely fond of that game), just faster. And that's where the real rot sets in with this game because, along with being monotonous to the extreme for the first four levels, after that the slow reload time of the weapon carried by the player's ship means there are a large number of situations where it's simply not possible to get another shot off in time to defend yourself properly and the Liclones are going too fast to even consider dodging through them, so the remaining shields get eaten away very rapidly.
On a final note, one thing that bugged me all the way through writing this review was a feeling of familiarity. Stash Blasta just reminded me so much of another game but I just couldn't put my finger on it and I've finally worked out why; this is Richard Bayliss's Missile Blasta, the source code for which he supplies as part of his Assemble It page and, whilst a few small cosmetic changes have been made to the sprites and status bar and the background removed, this remains true to it's heritage and is painfully simplistic and the crude "scenario" pasted over the top does nothing to disguise that; there aren't many Earthlings who'd look upon a comedic version of the Toclafane invasion where heads float up to people and give them a spliff as being aggressive as such.