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Super Star Soldier

version: jp - year: 1990 - developer: inter state - publisher: hudson - format: pc engine, hucard - condition: mint - rarity: uncommon

The flame thrower is powerful but has a limited reach

 

Bosses are initially tough although most of them have recognizable patterns

 

Adjust your speed according to the threat you face

 

SSS is a hectic shooter. Not ideal to play if you are tired...

 

This boss isn't too hard except for his homing missiles which are a true pain. Learn the pattern and suffer

 

You're getting closer. This level holds a viscious surprise...

 

With the system turned off hold Run + Select (do this or you'll be able to select the difficulty level only). Turn on your PCE and release the buttons. At the title screen press Left, II, Up, II, Right, II, Down, II, Left, I, Up, I, Right, I, Down, I. Next press I + II for 8 times. To finish, press Select + I for 8 times. The code has to be performed before the game goes into demo mode. If it does, just press select until you get to the title screen again and repeat the code.

 

The Caravan (or should I say Calavan hehe) Mode. Accumulate as many points as you can respectively in 2 or 5 minutes time.

Review - Some games seem to have a reputation that manages to resonate through time, and Super Star Soldier (SSS) is one of them.

It is probably considered to be one of the best vertical shooters on PCE, despite the fact that it runs on a Hucard. Actually, you won't even notice this because SSS can count on some slick audio-visuals which really work well.

Graphically, sprites are well drawn, bosses are big and detailed, while colors are appropriately used. The scrolling is fast and smooth most of the time, although some slight slowdown occurs in the most chaotic situations. If I had to end the review here, SSS would probably sound like a very generic shooter and it could be dismissed with a “been here, done that” comment.

I initially played the game without paying much attention to its play-mechanics and I reached the final level without too many troubles.

The last level though proved to be an entire different matter. Just picture this: you first go through a large number of alien waves, which methodically attack you from all sides in waves which seem to have no end. This part of the level extends for a long time. After that, it's time to confront yourself with three of the most sticky bosses you already defeated in earlier levels. Although they are familiar faces, what's tough is that you have to kill them all in a row! If you make it through this first series of boss fights, you get to make your way through a few hard to kill alien waves, but here you'll get your last chance to power up. Then, off you go for the last series of fights which consist of two other tough boss fights (again with familiar faces) before finally meeting with the last boss, which has 5(!) forms. To get through this, it would normally take a lifetime because when you lose a ship, you get sent to the beginning of the level, no matter how many ships you have in stock!

But there is an exception to the rule: sometimes, you'll come across a power up icon which stops when you shoot it. You'll recognize it because when you stop firing at it, it will suddenly change color. Shoot it to either select the weapon you want (main or secondary) or keep on shooting continously until it starts blinking. When it blinks, if you pick it up you'll notice your ships in stock will turn gold. This means you'll be allowed to continue at least once from where you last died. So the trick here is to accumulate about 5 extra ships (and you can do that by destroying most of the alien waves) and then try to turn each one of them into a golden ship. This way, you'll maximise your chances to get to the last boss.

Even if you know this, the last level is so difficult that it will take you ages to finish it anyway. So what's left to do at this point?

1- Don't underestimate the importance of switching speed to your ship. Some bosses will be much easier when your ship is faster.

2- I hate to do that, but for this specific game, I would suggest using a trick which allows you not only to choose the level from which to start, but also the difficulty level. Select easy mode (which is funnily called “Poor Body”) and the last stage and…practice! Believe me, even by cheating it will take you many tries before being able to finish the game!

Easy mode is...easier than normal mode because enemy waves basically don't shoot and bosses require less damage to die. More importantly though, the level select option really makes the difference as being able to directly start from the last stage will allow you to save on precious time and energy and ultimately to be fresher and more responsive. At a later date, you'll find it much easier to actually play (and eventually finish) the game on normal mode without cheating. But in the mean time, practicing from the last level will make things much more human…

In the end, SSS is certainly an excellent game and the finesse of the play-mechanics will be appreciated only by players who'll spend time on it, trying to learn the logic behind the game. SSS proved to be a very interesting shooter, very hard towards the end but very entertaining. Here, you'll have to earn the right to continue from where you last died since it's far from being a given. Sadistic? Maybe, but this clever system will push you to constantly better your playing style to new, unfathomable frontiers.

In particular, you'll discover how good of a player you truly are (cheat or no cheat) once you reach the last boss. Such a hard cosmic bastard has rarely been spotted in the galaxy and he'll try everything to get you discouraged. But incinerating his multiplying brains once and for all will make you feel like a super hero! Don't be afraid to take on this wicked challenge: if you succeed in finishing SSS, you'll feel invincible!

Bottom line: superb hucard shooter, you just won't believe such goodness is not running on cdrom! 9/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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