Solar Striker - Nintendo

Solar Striker

Reviewed by Sean Simons

I have always enjoyed this game, even back in my elementary school days, when it first came out. Solar Striker is, by all means a very simple shooter. It does not have the complex powerup system like Gradius, but rather the game bears a much more "classic" style of play, where most enemies fall with a single shot, and where the powerups are only to increase the damage of each shot, thus only being more effective against larger baddies or bosses.
That, and your shots just look and sound cooler when upgraded. One interesting aspect is as the levels progress, you seem to get closer to a planet, and then the final boss. First you start in outer space, then to flying above the clouds, then to flying over urban streets, then skimming over canyons, and finally inside some sort of industrial structure (there's metal looking stuff everywhere).

Sound: The sounds are not that impressive, but this coming from me, a person who is used to playing on a Playstation, that does not mean a whole lot. For Game Boy sounds, they are decent, but the gunshot sounds could be made to sound a little less traditional. (make them go *bang* instead of *deihr* or *bouhw*)

Graphics: The graphics are not amazingly impressive. In fact, they are on the lower end of the "Fantastic Scale". But being one of the first Game Boy games, it lives up to being . . . uh . . a Game Boy game. (what else can I say) The bosses are the coolest looking things, however typical that may be for all shooters. Anyways, the gunshots, again, could be better.

Gameplay: This is where the game excels above its other qualities. The gameplay is quite good, even if very simple. Part of the reason is because it is not really difficult. I would not say it is easy, because some stuff is tricky, like when the game uses poweups as lures for traps. The game gets harder as it progresses by simply increasing the number of shots and baddies that appear on the screen at any given moment. One of the pleasing features, is that it has good replay value, where you want to see how far you can get, and how long you can live. Overall, I would recommend this game to any person who enjoys shooter games, because it is always something to play and you find yourself playing it every so often (as opposed to never, after beating it)

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Beginning of level 1.
Hey look! It's in space! If you are surprised, you must be new to the world of shooters.
This is a good example of the standard single shot missile guns. See that silly little "8" thing? Those are EVERYWHERE. They are actually deadly, but only after about 20 gang bang you.
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Example of Double Missiles. The only reason I call those rounded rectangles "missiles" is because the instruction book calls them that.
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Example of Triple Missiles. Oooh. Now the weapon upgrades are getting different. THREE bullets . . err . . "missiles" instead of ONE or TWO. Please, dont get excited.

Those little bug things can tend to be harlots, because after they shoot some bullets at you, they dash horizontally at you.
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The level 1 boss is a large starship that unleashes spread cannon fire.
Fortunately, this thing doesnt know the difference of when you are sitting next to him or in front of him, because he just keeps shooting. (not exactly the most advanced AI)
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Intermission screen between levels. At least here, after your ship moves over to the left, you get to see it accelerate off the screen. (which looks kinda cool . . . sorta)
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Level 2: Flying over the clouds wasting some baddies with some Turbo Missiles (most powerful gun).

See, now the powerups get exciting . . . almost. Turbo Missiles are just pointed ovals instead of multiple rounded rectangles and they make *bouhw* sounds instead of *deihr*. This is about as close to a god as yer gonna git.
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The level 2 boss has random firing pulse shots. Fortunately I was carrying my Turbo Missiles to ram into him. The best part is that his shots can be destroyed by my sharp ovals. Not much of a challenge.
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Level 3: These are the urban streets of level 3. Pictured is a weapon powerup.

This is the first place where your upgraded weapons can actually come to use on enemies other than bosses. As if it is a good thing. This level is sorta neat, as you face all new ground enemies such as go-karts (shown) and laser-wielding moving trucks. Just blow up everything, and life will go on.
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The level 3 tank boss can be a dirty whore. It fires a spread cannon that fires at set intervals while the goliath moves on a set path around the screen.
Whenever you happen to pass in front of him, he releases volleys of candy canes, which I have been calling "lasers" so far. Its not like "lasers" do any more damage than "bullets" but they just look and travel different.
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I'm sorry that I was unable to capture anything very interesting from the content of level 4, mostly because I was busy blowing the fecal matter out of everything.

So: Here is the level 4 boss boasting a number of turreted drone guns. ALL of these tiny things shoot "bullets" at you. *sigh* This game never lets up.

[ Looks like something out of Gradius - Felix the Cat ]
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Level 5: I think this level is supposed to be the core of the planet, or inside a big building, or the inside of the death star. Shown is the level 5 mini-boss.

It first sorta' looks like a bunch of those orange K-Nex(tm) connector pieces. Then it splits into four, "laser" shooting . . . things . . . until it was crushed from my pointy ovals, also known as "Turbo Missiles".
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Wowie! The level 5 boss has a couple guns. Now, if this boss was smart, he'd shoot all of the guns at the same time, making a wall of "bullets" and "lasers" that could not be evaded.
This is actually pretty much what it does (I was origionally saying that to be sarcastic . . oops).

There are very tiny gaps between the "bullets" as some are turreted at you, and the "lasers" fire forwards. Good luck on this one, because this was as far as I got while taking pictures for the review. I couldn't believe I got this far because this was the first time I ever got this far. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
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This is the most commonly seen screen, after you get melted, time, and time again. The game tries to give you sympathy for being such a pathetic player by playing some dramatic, sorrowful death music. (see if you have the skill . . . or attention span, to beat my score.)

Heh heh. Back to the TOP for the REVIEW!


Thanks to Sean for this cracking review! Been a while since we've seen a review for the GameBoy, not since... we... erm... had the review for Gradius Interstellar Assault a while back (over a YEAR!)

I didn't really think Nintendo made shmups (at least I haven't seen them), they seem to major in platformers and roleplayers. Hopefully, judging by the quality of this small effort, they should! - Malc


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie