One thing that can be said for sure is that if you owned a TurboGrafx console you would never be in short supply of shoot-em-up games! For anyone who is a big fan of the genre it is great news that Hudson has brought one of the most respected games of the genre to the Virtual Console. Soldier Blade is a follow-up to the excellent Super Star Soldier so anyone who has ever played that will know what they are getting if they download this.
Like most vertical shoot-em-ups you blast your way from wave after wave of enemy crafts and take on a huge end of level guardian at the end of the stage. The pace is slightly faster than Super Star Soldier. The backgrounds look amazing and even when the action is really frantic there is hardly ever a sign of slowdown. This is definitely one of the best looking games on the TurboGrafx system, it really has a timeless quality to it. Musically the gamer is treated to up-tempo synthesised tunes which suit the game perfectly.
The power-up system works quite well. Sometimes a fallen enemy will leave a coloured capsule for you to pick up. The clever thing about the weapons system is you can build your weapons up so that if you keep collecting capsules of the same colour you can trigger off a smart bomb to wipe your enemies out en masse.
The shoot-em-up genre is famed for being difficult and on its ‘high’ setting Soldier Blade is a real tough cookie. For novices to the genre the normal setting is recommended. The trick is to stay powered up as much as possible. This isn’t the hardest shoot-em-up there is if you keep your wits about you it can be quite forgiving.
This comes highly recommended as one of the better examples of the shoot-em-up genre.