Over the past twenty years our industry has seen a lot of great 2D shooters. Some might say that out industry was founded on 2D shooters, thanks to classics like Space Invaders and Galaga. But now that we've seen the same types of shooters done hundreds (if not thousands) of times some of us are starting to grow tired of the formula. Some of us are just plain sick of dodging bullets, grabbing floating upgrades and shooting up end bosses. We may appreciate the games for what they are, but there's something about them that just seems played out.
Super Star Soldier is one of those shooters that doesn't do a lot that is new or especially innovative, but when you start playing it you realize that it doesn't have to. It doesn't need a gimmick to be an enjoyable experience, it's perfect just the way it is. Super Star Soldier is an exciting action game that almost anybody can get into, even if you're the type of person who is sick and tired of this overdone genre.
Despite the fact that it looks and plays like almost ever other shooters on the market, Super Star Soldier has a few things going for it that make it so much fun. For one thing, when you get hit by a bullet you won't immediately die. That's right; this is one game where it's not one-hit kills. Instead of blowing up, when you get shot it takes away part or your power-ups. So if you have picked up one of the power-ups (like an extra gunner, missiles, etc.) you will lose those before you ultimately lose your life. This may not seem like much, but it makes a game like this easier to get into since the difficulty isn't as steep.
Don't get me wrong, Super Star Soldier is still a difficult game, but it's also a lot more fair than your usual shooter. You can go a long time before you actually have to continue, which is something I can't say about all games in this genre. I'm sure some hardcore shooter aficionados will balk at the idea of a more forgiving 2D shooter, but as far as I'm concerned it's great to see a game that doesn't feel like it's made to be frustrating. You will still need to play the game several times before you ultimately make it to the end, but this is one shooter you may actually finish.
As with most 2D shooters, Super Star Soldier features a fair amount of cool looking power-ups and weapons. You start out with a standard gun, but soon enough you get a flame thrower, laser weapon and weapon that fires large circular bullets. Best of all, the more you pick up this weapon the more powerful it becomes. This is nothing new to this type of game, but it's done well and the weapons are all a lot of fun to use.
As you might imagine, Super Star Soldier features a lot of different environments to fly over. Sometimes you'll be in the deepest regions of space, other levels have you flying over forests, there's a cool looking fire level and you'll even have to fly through a giant alien space ship. These levels look great, especially when you compare them to other shooters on the TurboGrafx-16. Obviously the graphics can't hold up against some of the biggest 2D shooters of the era (such as Axelay), but Super Star Soldier looks a lot better than it should given the outdated technology.
The graphics are complimented by a surprisingly stable frame rate. You will rarely run into slow downs or flickering sprites. Even when the game throws huge bosses your way, Super Star Soldier runs smooth and with very few problems. All this is especially impressive when you see how fast the game moves. It's not the fastest shooter of all time, but the game does move at quite a blistering speed. This also goes for your space ship, which features three different available speeds to cycle through. It all comes together to create a fast-paced shooter that is a whole lot of fun to play.
When it comes to shooters it seems like it's all been done before, but Super Star Soldier manages to get it right. This is the type of game that was perfect for a system like the TurboGrafx-16, it's not too deep and is fun no matter how many times you've played it. If you're the type of person who wants to love shooters but can't get into the steep difficulty then Super Star Soldier is worth a look. Actually, Super Star Soldier is worth a look regardless of what type of gamer you are.