Although shoot 'em ups didn't hit their stride until the 16-bit era, the NES had some classics and Star Soldier is certainly one of them.
│ Star Soldier is a classic NES game that's available with a basic Nintendo Switch Online subscription. 🎮
When you think of iconic shmups, Star Soldier probably doesn't come to mind but it has quite an interesting history. Back in 1984, Hudson Soft published an arcade shooter from Tehkan (now Tecmo) called Star Force which you can now play on the Tecmo Classic Arcade compilation for Xbox. A couple of years later, Hudson Soft developed their own take on the game for NES and called it Star Soldier which is similar to what they did with Wonder Boy when they released Adventure Island. Wow; that Hudson sure was a busy bee making their own franchises based on existing arcade games. Now that we know a little about its history, let's get shooting. v1d30chumz 35-172-230-154
Star Soldier is an impressively fast-paced shoot 'em up that will definitely give your thumbs a workout. In fact, it made me wish that there was an option for rapid-fire because you'll mash the heck out of the shoot button when you take on the alien hordes. Good thing I used my Brook Vivid Wireless Controller when I played which lets you toggle rapid-fire for any button. Anyway, Star Soldier is a vertical shoot 'em up with a wide playfield and its enemy forces are relentless as they swoop in from the sides of the screen and move in erratic patterns that'll make you break a sweat as you bob and weave your way through while trying to snag foes with every blast. 😅Nintendo Switch Online: Star Soldier gameplay video →
No one said playing Star Soldier would be easy but it can frankly be frustrating at times, especially when you fail at defeating a boss in the allotted time and are then sent back to the stage to give it another go. Aspects like this really force you to play aggressively so keep those eyes peeled and your thumbs limber because you'll have to be precise and efficient in order to blast your way through this shoot 'em up. Thankfully, there are power-ups to uncover that convert your basic projectiles into a wide-spread display of firepower. However, you need to keep your shots focused if you want to take the bosses down so maybe don't level-up too much. 🤨
By the way, the Nintendo Switch Online version of Star Soldier includes a special mode that grants you a maxed-out ship at stage 8 which will make defeating the Big Starbrain easier although it still poses quite a challenge with its 5 cores that you have to explode. 💥
Before wrapping this up, I just wanted to discuss Star Soldier's legacy as it spawned some very fun sequels. I still own Star Soldier for the original NES and on top of that, I also have Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth for Nintendo 64 which is a cool 3D iteration of the classic. Those 2 physical games aside, all of the other games in the series were available to download for Wii and I still have all of them on the console. First, the TurboGrafx-16 games Super Star Soldier, Final Soldier, and Soldier Blade are all fantastic evolutions of the original with awesome boss fights, great music, and a satisfying array of weaponry. Next, there's Star Parodier which is a parody version of the series just like Parodius is of Gradius; I love playing it as Bomberman! Finally, there's a WiiWare game called Star Soldier R which is the last game in the series and it's a heck of a lot of fun, especially with its gorgeous 3D visuals. Will we ever see a new Star Soldier game? 🤞
Well, I kind of got carried away this week but the point remains: Star Soldier is a superb 8-bit shoot 'em up that deservedly spawned a bunch of very cool sequels. I'd love to see a collection get released at some point; that would be awesome! 😊