"I was disappointed to have to play through seven levels that didn't get challenging until the end neared. Enemies were only aggressive in a few parts of Final Soldier, while most bosses went down in flames before I got overwhelmed by their more proactive approach to solving the problem of “that gosh-durn little feller that keeps shooting me with the big green doohickeys”."
Once upon a time, Turbografx-16/PC Engine owners were blessed with Super Star Soldier and the people rejoiced. Much later, that gift was bettered by the divinely delightful Soldier Blade. Unfortunately, between those two stellar games, the Gods of Gaming played a bit of a joke on the poor people living in NEC-ville. They released Final Soldier.
I won't come out and say Final Soldier is an absolutely horrible game — I’ve played a few of those in my time and have to say this one doesn’t come close to sinking to those depths. However, it is quite mediocre and when one considers how excellent the other members of Hudson Soft’s TG-16 Star Soldier trilogy were, that is very disappointing.
I was disappointed to have to play through seven levels that didn't get challenging until the end neared. Enemies were only aggressive in a few parts of Final Soldier, while most bosses went down in flames before I got overwhelmed by their more proactive approach to solving the problem of “that gosh-durn little feller that keeps shooting me with the big green doohickeys”.
Those “big green doohickeys” happened to be my weapon of choice. Like most games that give the player a slew of attacks to bombard foes with, one tends to be far more useful and/or sweet than the rest and my preference was to pick the one that covered a lot of space while quickly cluttering the screen with green death. Of course, I had to collect about two or three power-ups to pull that off, but that was well worth the small amount of time it took. Not only did collecting power-ups make my ship a lot tougher offensively, but also improved it defensively. Now, instead of killing me, enemy bullets only could strip off one layer of my weapon strength, making it so I could take two or three hits before perishing. Like I said, this game is pretty easy. Making my ship more durable than the norm for this type of game did nothing but emphasize that lack of challenge.
Starting out with a few boring levels also didn’t do much to get my interest. While I must admit the first level had some pretty graphics, it was essentially just another outer space jaunt with little to separate it from the million or so I’ve done before. That stage is followed up by an ugly desert stage and an ocean level similar enough to those in 1943 to almost persuade me to call Capcom and advise them to unleash their lawyers....
After I talked myself out of doing that (mainly because I don’t feel 1943 is a game worth defending), I was able to finish Final Soldier. While the urban setting of the fourth level looked pretty nice, the remainder was as pedestrian as the first three levels, with my ship going through another space level, a base and a psychedelic final stage.
Fortunately, the action picked up during these stages with the enemy base, in particular, having a number of good fights with hordes of swarming enemies constantly threatening to take me down. The final stage also was set up well, as it opens with the final boss making its presence felt, but quickly fleeing the scene. From there, the bulk of the level has the player c the villain through enemy-littered fields of crazy, acid-induced colors.
Sadly, those two stages weren’t enough to elevate Final Soldier to be anything more than a pale impersonation of the other two Star Soldier games this system boasts. When I can play the great Super Star Soldier or the excellent Soldier Blade, why would I want to play a game that’s so easy and bland it’s hard to believe there’s any connection between it and the other two?
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (March 20, 2006)
Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.
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