Final Soldier - HudsonSoft

Final Soldier

Reviewed by Roger Post

Final Soldier is the third installment in what I consider the finest shooter series ever made, the Star Soldier saga (with Thunderforce being a very, very close second....only the fact that they started with "2" turned me off).

FS was released in 1991 by Hudson Soft, and unfortunately is in my opinion the weakest of the four PC-Engine Star Soldier games, the others being Super Star Soldier, Star Parodier, and Soldier Blade.

The brilliant Gunhed/Blazing Lazers is often included in this series, but as true shmup fans know, Gunhed is a Compile game and although is similar doesn't really belong in the series at all)

One favorable item about this game is that you can set your weapons before taking on the seven stages of attack waves. There are three different weapons, each with three attack modes. Besides this, you can collect missiles, and up to two side pods, which can be detonated as bombs if you get in a tight squeeze.

The graphics and music in this shooter aren't quite up to par, but ignoring that, FS is one fun shmup to tackle. The end boss alone is a nice treat, along with the wierded-out level seven.

Score: 6.5/10

There is a little bit of an intro, with planes flying around.....streaking stars.....fighter pilot suits...about-to-be-destroyed-cities... the usual cliched shmup images.

Though the title is Final Soldier, this is not the last of the series... a bit like the Squaresoft Final Fantasy series.

Penultimate Soldier wouldn't quite cut it.

Here you can select how each of the powerups behaves. There is even a demonstration on the right of how each works. Always good to know your weapons.

Hmmmm.....level one midboss.....I should really write reviews soon after playing the game, cause now I forget some things.....well, lasers, bosses, you know the deal. Later bosses show a little bit more graphical prowess, fortunately.

The backdrop of level one is what looks to be a spacestation. And the thing that looks like a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup is really an option. If you have two and see a third on the screen, detonate one then get the new one - it's like a free powerup.

There are really two robots here, but one is camera shy. Stay at the bottom and this should be no trouble.

Here is the option being detonated, which spirals around you like a bubbley whip. Very helpful in tight spots.

Level two's midboss could have been taken straight from Raiden.

A flamethrowing tank. If this was real life, I would have cut and run by this point. But thanks to technology, we can face countless dangers, and the only damage received is burnt out retinas.

Not too sure about the smiley face on it though.

Another shmup requirement: battleship levels.

While we're on the subject of Boss Theft, this one is nicked straight from Flying Shark.

These things jump out of the water and invite you to go for a swim. Not a chance, there might be jellyfish in there.

Um.. another part I can't seem to remember. Most shooters blend together after awhile too.....this guy...tries to pretend like he is your friend, then borrows your belongings and never gives them back. What a way to attack someone.

(Er, I'm still a bit unclear as to his attack strategies btw Rog! - Malc)

Level four midboss, a nasty bout of hemmorhoids attacks you from the top of an arch. Can you tell this game is going to end up all organic and weird??

These jokers try to steal your options....that I couldn't forget... This isn't a new tactic by any means, Gradius III had similar nasties which wer just as unpleasant to meet.

The bird boss of level four drops feathers at you, which change direction as he flaps the wings. Stay alert! Any fowl wearing blue silk shorts has to be viewed with caution.

Remember the NES robotic buddy called ROB or something? Well, this is where they all went to die.

You don't get many bosses with arms made out of blobs in these polygon mad days. Used to be the staple diet of many an Amiga demo, was that.

Needless to say, avoid the arms, and the blue thingies it throws.

A mech as the halfway point of level six.

Don't think much of the tiled background graphics here -Although I've seen worse on some geocities sites...

Now this I wouldn't even believe was in the game unless I saw it. Haven't a clue about it... some sort of golden/bluey nondescript boss which signifies the designers weren't having a very creative day.

Help, I'm scared!!! Level seven has a very cool background. Hurts the eyes after a while though.

Here's the "ultimate enemy" the sign was referring to. He's not quite what you think...

After destroying the metal shell, see the two-month old pork chop that's really inside. This boss takes many hits too, so keep dodging and be patient.

Now we've blasted away most other parts, and a claw pops out of some previously unforeseen orifice.

Finally, just the eye is left. Take out the shield and keep niggling at the exposed eye

By now, you should know that I'm going to complain about the ending again. I want pictures of thing blowing up! Fireworks! Spaceships! Near brushes with death, as the boss using his last effort makes one final attempt at you!

I guess I will have to settle for "Thanks for playing" least some games are polite, eh?

Cheers Roger!

Has anyone played the 'Parody' title of the series, called Star Parodier? Very much in the vein of Konami's Parodius, but closer in gameplay to Pop 'n' Twin Bee, it's yer usual super-deformed character set with teddies, big colourful spaceships and a cracking CD audio soundtrack. If you don't mind the seriousness of the series being blown to pieces, then if you can find it, snap it up! - Malc


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