Review: Solar Striker (Game Boy)

In this review, we look for more fire power in the Game Boy game Solar Striker. We find out how well this top down shooter game plays.

This game was released in 1990.

In this game, you are on a mission to stop a particular threat.

You start off with three lives as you take on various waves of enemies. Most enemies in the early stages of the game are on a one hit kill basis. In later stages, however, you’ll encounter enemies that require more than one hit to take down. You won’t encounter very many enemies that fire shots at you in the first part of the first mission, but that number will only gradually increase.

Along the way, you’ll encounter “P” icons (presuming it stands for Powerup or Power). These items increase your firepower capabilities. You need two of these items to upgrade to a more powerful shot.

Your firepower starts with a single blast. The next powerup doubles the laser blast to a double shot. The third upgrade gives you a third shot which basically makes each shot wide. The final upgrade gives you a thicker laser shot that is duel shot.

At the end of each level, you’ll encounter a boss. Defeat the boss and advance to the next stage.

In total, there are 6 levels. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, the levels are fairly lengthy, so you do still get a nice amount of gameplay here.

In total, you have three lives. For every 50,000 points, you gain an extra life. If you get hit, you’ll die. When you respawn, you’ll also notice you have been penalized in terms of firepower. You’ll be downgraded by one level of firepower. If you are already on the single shot, then you won’t experience any further loss in firepower.

There are conflicting complaints I’ve heard about this game. On the one side, some people say that this game is way too easy. I disagree with that assessment because the later levels do a pretty good job at challenging the players skill. On the other side of the debate, I’ve heard this game is pretty difficult. I agree with to an extent in that this is definitely a factor by the time you get to level 4. The game does give you a chance to get used to the controls and how everything works at the beginning. While the difficulty does buck me off my run through the game, I found it to be pretty reasonable as far as games of this genre is concerned.

One thing I did find with this game is that it is a little skimpy on the features. With games like 1943 – The Battle for Midway and PLanet Smashers already on the market, this game needs to find a way to stand out. Unfortunately, there isn’t any exciting feature that allows players to say that this game is worth plying because it has “X” feature. That’s not to say that this game is boring, but it does have a difficult time standing out other than the fact that it’s on a handheld platform.

Beyond that, it’s actually pretty hard to speak ill or well for this game. It isn’t a bad game, but there isn’t much in the way of exciting features. The difficulty curve is more reasonable than others in this genre. It both has an approachable aspect to it while still challenging players in later levels.

The graphics are pretty solid here. While there is that hint of blurring, it doesn’t affect this game as much as others. There is a nice amount of detailing both in the ships and in the scenery that you fly past. In fact, there is even some variety as every level has its own look to it. Overall, it’s a very solid effort on this front.

The music is pretty decent in this game. The boss battle music might be a little repetitive, but with so much game separating them, this isn’t a big problem. The sound effects are pretty good. I like how there are different kinds of explosion sounds for different kinds of enemies. This really gave the game a nice amount of quality.

Overall, this isn’t a bad game. The difficulty curve is very reasonable for a game in its genre considering how many out there seem to just dial the difficulty up to a 11 and keep the foot on the accelerator after. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot in terms of exciting features not already seen in other top down shooter games. The graphics are very solid. The music is pretty good and the sound effects are well done. Overall, not a bad game.

Furthest point in game: Died fighting the boss on level 4.
High score: 134,500

General gameplay: 18/25
Replay value: 7/10
Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 4/5

Overall rating: 74%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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