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Star Soldier Vanishing Earth

version: jp - year: 1998 - developer: hudson soft - publisher: hudson soft - format: nintendo 64, cartridge - condition: good - rarity: uncommon

















Review - Star Soldier Vanishing Earth really feels like a distant cousin of the Star Soldier series.

Compared to the PCE games, this N64 incarnation is definitely easier. For one thing, the game's difficulty has been revised.

There is a Beginner Mode that is very generous with lives while the Regular Mode is slightly more challenging but still pretty easy to go through. Also, there is an attempt at a plot with skippable in-between levels cut-scenes. This makes the game feel a bit cinematic and reinforces the illusion being immerged into a space saga.

Graphically, the biggest change is the switch to 3D graphics and the view which is now more similar to games such as Silpheed. Despite these "enhancements", the cosmetics are for the most part uneven.

On one hand, the textures look warped while sometimes, bullets can be hard to see on certain backgrounds. Also, levels could have been more colorful.

On the other hand, bosses sport a very inspired look while the use of 3D allows for some interesting twist and turns.

As for the music, it is just in the norm while sampled speech is actually of very high quality.

Gameplay really rotates around the ability to use a very handy reflecting-shield. You can use it any time (by pressing the R button) and as many times as you need but you have to wait a few seconds between each use. The shield really allows you to get out of sticky situations and the interesting thing is that you can use it for defensive or offensive purpose as it will bounce back any enemy bullets.

Also by pressing the trigger button, you'll unleash a very powerful and spectacular special attack (which is comparable to some sort of smart bomb) and you'll be invincible while you fire it. These elements are fundamental because trying to slalom your way through cluster of bullets using the analogue N64 stick is a real nightmare…

Also, it's worth mentioning that there are alternate paths which lead to full-fledged hidden levels which culminate with new boss encounters... One of the levels will look familiar if you played the original Star Soldier game while another one is set into a cool space-ships graveyard located into an asteroids field.

The extra levels are all pretty nice, and worth seeing but it's unlikely that you'll be able to find them so make sure to look up a faq to figure out how to reach them.

In the end, Star Soldier Vanishing Earth is a decent and moderately fun shooter worth picking if you own a N64. Just don't go out of your way to play it though because there are many other games that deserve priority.

Bottom line: Not on par with other "Soldier" games, but still an OK shooter for the shooter-starved N64 catalogue. 6,5/10










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