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Retro Game Review: Final Soldier

Posted by ptcgaming on May 12, 2009

If you like scrolling space shooters, I'd certainly give this one a try. Until recently, you couldn't find it in North America.

If you like scrolling space shooters, I'd certainly give this one a try. Until recently, you couldn't find it in North America.

Platform: PC Engine
Released: 1991
Developer: Hudson Soft

Background:“Final Soldier” was the third game in the series that originated with the classic “Star Soldier” but wasn’t the final game in the series. It was only released for the PC Engine, the Japanese version of NEC’s TurboGrafx-16. However, it was released as an “import” title on the Nintendo Wii’s Virtual Console in North America in 2008. It follows the same vertically-scrolling formula other shooters in the series have.

Graphics: 3.75/5
This game looks sharp overall, but the overlapping in-game text looks blurry. Also, your ship doesn’t look nearly as good as some of the larger enemies you confront, as you can see from the screenshot above.

Sound: 2/5
While the in-game music is catchy, it and the common sound effects you hear sound quite generic. You could pretty much lay them on top of any space shooter and not be able to tell the difference.

Controls: 3.5/5
Nothing special to it, really, since the PC Engine controller only featured a D-pad and two fire buttons. If you have this downloaded to your Wii, though, I’d recommend using the Classic Controller. The left analog stick is ideal for games like this and much better than using the D-pad.

Gameplay: 3.5/5
One of the great things about this game is you can customize how your weapon upgrades work. Most upgrades (flame, laser, etc.) have multiple ways they can work, which can be accessed from the title screen. There is nonstop action throughout, and this game is pretty challenging, at least to me. The biggest challenge comes after you’ve been killed and have to upgrade your weapons again. Losing a life can throw you off-track and make it more difficult to complete a level.

Overall: 3.2/5
This game’s score is severely hurt by the sound factor, but overall it’s a decent play. It’s definitely a step above the original “Star Soldier,” even though that one’s still a classic to this day. I don’t think “Final Soldier” will ever be held in that high regard, but it’s good to finally be able to play it on this side of the Pacific.

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