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Violent Soldier
  opened by paleface at 05:26:56 06/12/04  
  last modified by paleface at 03:14:33 06/15/04  
  paleface [sys=PCE; cat=Shooter_Horiz; loc=JPN]
This game has, I think, nothing at all to do with the "Soldier" series of vertical shooters (see entry 527, for instance)--rather, you fly horizontal-like, with Gradius-style organic backgrounds and enemies.
And, you know, being like Gradius ain't bad--well, it could be worse. Like Gradius (see entry 104) you start out really slow and weak, and need to collect powerups if you're gonna survive. The respawn system is checkpoint-based, meaning that instead of continuing where you died, one life less, you get moved back to an earlier point in the level and have to play up from there again. Usually this sucks, but here it gives you a chance to collect vital powerups, without which you would be toast. Even so, just one death can be a major setback indeed, especially right before a tough boss.
The weapon system beats out Gradius (I'm talkin' about old Gradiuses here, mind) as far as I'm concerned. I've see three or four different gun styles so far, all of which seem pretty good, and you don't have to do the on-the-fly weapon buying that you do in Gradius. Oh and holding fire gives you a nice charge burst around your ship, dealing pretty hefty close-range damage in every direction.
And then there's Violent Soldier's big gimmick: the second button opens the long, beak-like pointy front of your ship, like a mouth, and in various degrees depending on your weapon power. The wider it opens, the more spread shots you get, but the less damage each one does and the slower they fire. The various settings definitely have their various uses against different enemies, the main one being to use the spread shot against small fast enemies and the concentrated single rapid shot against bosses.
The game starts to get pretty hard around level three, especially if you die and lost your options and speed upgrades (grr!) but it also gets more and more interesting as you go along, the game opening up more complex level and enemy designs with each stage.
  paleface 03:14:33 06/15/04
Uh, ignore that last one. :p

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