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Soldier Blade

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Released: 1992

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: PC Eng/Turbografx-16

Publisher: Hudson

Developer: Hudson

Submitted by: Alley Kat

Soldier Blade, last in the PC Engine's Star Soldier series (after Super Star Soldier and the misleadingly titled Final Soldier) is also, fittingly, the best.

A standard, but fantastic vertical shooter, Soldier Blade doesnt reinvent the wheel by any means, but is immensely polished, balanced and satisfying.

Although visually very similar to Super Star Soldier in particular, Soldier Blade ups the ante with more effects, more impressive bosses and a slightly richer look overall.

The power up system involves collecting coloured orbs in a similar, but less involved, manner to Spriggan, with your current weapon decided by the combination of orbs carried. A smart bomb, the type of which is dependant on your current weapon can be unleashed, at cost to your firepower strength.

Although less visually spectacular than say, Sapphire or Spriggan and less of a challenge than Raiden or the rock-hard Tatsujin, Soldier Blade is easily amongst the cream of the PC Engine's vertical shooters, simply because its so enjoyable.

Shooter buffs will cane it fairly easily, but this is a superb game regardless.