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NES Online

Star Soldier NES Online

Star Soldier is a vertical shooter that’s available on the NES Online. If it were a colour, it’d be beige.

Rak tac tac tac tac! That’s the sound of the Star Soldier pol-ice. I mean, that’s the sounds of lasers and stuff in space. You can’t hear anything in space, but it would suck if you had a battle in a library, so why not go apeshit when in places unknown?

That doesn’t mean harass people in the library just because you’ve never read a book, I suggest you go jump in a spaceship and shoot stuff in Star Soldier – available on the Nintendo Switch via the NES Online feature.

Space, that’s where this is set. There are stars and other spaceships and shapes the form to resemble a dead president or scholar-like head. Yeah, that’s how I’m describing this tomfoolery. Star Soldier is a vertical shooter before you hang up. You start at the bottom and work your way to the top, shooting and dodging stuff along the way.

It’s similar to TwinBee but less colourful, and less laborious. For me, anyway. The colour choices are so NES from the 80s – a little bit lacking, but it makes it up in gameplay. Backgrounds are black (you’re in space) and you weave in and out of some large scale motherships, blasting the defence forces zapping past you or the turrets and the like on the ship. This kind of represents the classic ground forces you encounter in this type of game such as tanks and boats you’d see in classics like 1941.

A flying head forms and attacks
Is that George Washington? In space?

Star Soldier stands out a little more than others as the ship you control does indeed weave in and out – you fly both above and below the behemoth star destroyers (that’s not a Star Wars thing is it? I don’t want to keep saying mothership). It’s great as you can’t be hit from below, but you can’t return fire either, and with the colours and bizarre patterns that seemingly come alive with enemies, you can’t see what you’re doing either. At least it’s not frantic.

That’s a big difference – there aren’t so many things to avoid – namely other craft and their bullets. It’s not easy, but it’s much easier than Star Soldier’s peers. You can expect the same appearance of power-ups as you see in this sort of shooter, but they aren’t exactly exciting. There’s no overpowering blasts or nukes, just a gradual increase to your existing weapon All very meh.

The same applies to the enemies and bosses – they aren’t your usual over-the-top moving cities – they’re just the amalgamation of tiles and other assets from the vessels you’ve been flying through. It all just lacks character. Now, this was later remade as Super Star Soldier for the PC Engine, and I had this at one stage. It’s a much better game as fundamentally, it’s prettier, but plays better and you can see what you are shooting at.

Colours pop a little more, bearing in mind the system, and power-ups were more available and effective with additional super bombs and all. That’s probably not what they were called, but that was their impact – super. Like Super Star Soldier. No? Alright. Moving on, and swiftly at that, I’m considering doing a double bill of NES Online titles as never have enough to say on the majority of titles. I’ll consider this again later.

Delving a bit deeper into Star Soldier, I found out that this was pretty popular in Japan, but not so much in the West. That’s usually the case as tastes can differ, but this isn’t so different than the other shooters. 

With that said, it’s definitely not as good as the others. For starters the colours are dull, power-ups are infrequent and do little to make me salivate – plus the big bastard spaceships look like they were designed by someone into Arabic architecture or Persian carpets. TwinBee manages to keep it simple and colourful, but you can’t have it all – I found it too hard.

Ducking and diving in Star Soldier
Carpets in space

The controls are good, the dodging of obstacles interesting but annoying when you’re flying underneath the action. Sure, you last longer but you’re supposed to be blasting stuff but playing a stealth game. Maybe the pilot was Solid Snake or perhaps the cleaner from, well, Serial Cleaner? That was just a cheap way for you to jump to a review of a game that’s worth your time. Not this. It’s ok, it’s free, but it’s nothing special.

Disclaimer: Ah, bollocks to it. I’m not really enjoying this write up. Let’s end it there.

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