Wii

Japan

Star Soldier R

by Steven Rodriguez - May 20, 2008, 8:22 pm PDT
Total comments: 37

7

The five-minute pressure cooker.

People will see Star Soldier R in one of two ways. Most people will see that it's just a five-minute high score contest with two levels and no other meaningful content, and brush it off as a waste of money. Even people who are fans of shoot-'em-up games will realize there's better value in similar Virtual Console games.

However, once you actually sit down and dig into Hudson's little shooter, the game shows its true colors. For only being five minutes long at its maximum, Star Soldier R is extremely addicting, highly replayable, and good fun. Those that can drop the assumptions about the game's length and relative value will see a well-designed experience.

The idea behind the R version of the Star Soldier series is that you're up against the clock, simply pushing to get the highest score possible. It's almost impossible to not reach the end of the game's one-level, two-minute mode. Fighting through two levels, over five minutes isn't much harder, although you can still get busted for being lazy or sloppy. The point of the game isn't to beat it, since doing that is a foregone conclusion.

Instead, the idea is to push yourself as far as you dare and squeeze out the highest score possible. The game's risk-reward system makes this a real test of skill and nerves. You can make your ship move around the screen faster by retracting its wings, making it much easier to blow stuff up and snag pickups. In doing so, however, you'll risk being destroyed more easily. Additionally, up to five option ships can act as additional shielding by hovering around your ship. If you're feeling brave, you can send the options astray and use them as free-moving sentry guns for more offensive power, which is sometimes necessary to take down enemies quickly.

The game's stages are filled with stuff to destroy. Along with the usual barrage of enemies, you'll fly over a grid of structures which can be taken out by your main guns. As you destroy these objects, your combo counter will increase. The higher your combo at the end of the stage, the bigger your bonus score. Special yellow orbs, which break free when shot and lazily oscillate across the screen, can give you additional points.

Red and blue containers upgrade your main gun and your option ships, respectively. Besides having the obvious benefit of six-way fire when you've maxed out your guns, collecting additional containers will net you 10,000 additional points. Plus, having maxed out weaponry will help you take out the boss of each level more quickly. There's a time bonus added on to your ending score, and since the levels always scroll by at the same rate, the time difference is how quickly you can take down the bosses. This will make you try to figure out the best boss-killing strategies.

There are even lots of secret bonus scoring opportunities hidden through the levels. Hidden icons will sometimes pop up and get you 3,000 points for free. Blowing up a donut-shaped structure, while you're inside of it (without getting hit by it), will net you 50,000 points. Destroying two floaty sphere things simultaneously is worth a cool 80,000 points. These last two especially are significant bonuses which you'll want to get if you want to beat your own high score.

Trying to beat your high score is what makes Star Soldier R so addictive. When you play through the game and start understanding when and why you need to throttle up (or down) the speed or toggle the option ships, you'll see where you can pick up more points and jump back in to fight for them because you know you can do just a little better the next time. You don't need the online leaderboards, broken down into region, country, and worldwide rankings, to do that. They can help you chase that carrot just a little more, though.

Of course, the fact doesn't change that Star Soldier R doesn't have much going for it in the way of content. It's surprisingly addictive, but you can only get so much out of so little. One really big piece that's missing is friend-only leaderboards, which would have made going for a new high score just a little bit sweeter. Also, a two-player co-op mode would have been nice to have.

I've seen enough WiiWare games to realize that you need to check your expectations for what you're paying for. If you decide to get Star Soldier R, you're not going to get the same stuff you'll find from the other Star Soldier games on Virtual Console. The WiiWare game is a different experience, and a rewarding one at that, provided you understand what it is you're getting into beforehand. You'll find R to be a pretty fun game if you do.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
6 5 7 7 6 7
Graphics
6

You'll drop your jaw a little when you see your ship do an up-close fly by, but besides that there's nothing worth mentioning, visually. The game runs fast and smooth, which is a critical necessity.

Sound
5

I don't remember anything particularly good or bad about the sound. That's probably because I was concentrating so hard on improving my score.

Control
7

You can use the Wii Remote alone, with the Nunchuk, or use a Classic Controller. Using the Wii Remote by itself is predictably a bad idea, because you don't have precise eight-way movement and can't change your speed with it. Either of the other options will work fine, though.

Gameplay
7

The more you play it, the more you understand what Star Soldier R is all about. Pushing hard for more and more points is something of a lost art in modern gaming, but Hudson has turned the trick well. There are plenty of ways to improve your score. Finding them and executing when it matters is why the game is fun. Too bad there's not more variation on it.

Lastability
6

A tasty drink, this, but the goblet with which it is held be small. It's little too small for some people, I'd imagine. Still, its length won't be that big of a factor if you catch the addiction it contains.

Final
7

Star Soldier R is a fun, focused experience, and if you know that when playing it you'll be rewarded with exactly what it's advertising. If you like the possibility of chasing the high-score carrot in a brief, replayable shoot-'em-up, it'll suit you perfectly.

Summary

Pros
  • Makes high-score shmuping fun and addicting
  • Strategy goes deeper than it first appears
Cons
  • No friend leaderboards or co-op
  • Nothing else to do outside of time attack
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

ShyGuyMay 21, 2008

If this does well, we'll get a non-time limited version, right?

DAaaMan64May 21, 2008

I don't think I'm gonna catch the addiction, sorry.

KDR_11kMay 21, 2008

You can do such highscore hunts in all shmups but unless you're stuck with the game for a LOOOONG time most people have a hard enough time to get to the end of the game alive. You can just as well play Cho Ren Sha 68k for score.

animecyberratMay 21, 2008

I haven't beaten Super Star Soldier yet, still stuck on like stage 5 I think. But if this one plays anything like that I might give it a chance.

Ian SaneMay 21, 2008

The five minute design seems more like that would be a good mode in a bigger game.  By itself it seems like a lazy design.  Only two levels?  Why can't there be more levels?  This is like a racing game with only one track.  Wow, it's so much fun to beat your time.  Okay.  But wouldn't it be better to have many tracks and try to improve your time on all of them?

Logically you could have multiple sections of levels and you want to acheive a high score on each of them.  You could have these two levels with a five minute timer and another set of two levels with a five minute timer.  Maybe a set of three with a five minute timer, maybe combinations with different time limits.  My brothers spent months beating each other's high scores in Super Punch-Out.  But again that game doesn't have only 1 or 2 boxers to achieve high scores on.

Two levels for 8 bucks sounds like a rip-off.  Sorry.  The same concept could be done with more content.  A lower price gets you the T-16 Star Solider games and you could always bust out an oven timer and play "five minute high score contest" with them as well.

I usually can't stay alive in hardcore vertical scrolling shooters for 2 minutes, let alone chase a high score. This must really be just for the hardcore-score-seekers.

Quote from: ShyGuy

If this does well, we'll get a non-time limited version, right?

Or we'll get a version that's only 4 minutes.

KDR_11kMay 21, 2008

BTW Ian, you don't need an oven timer, the Star Soldier games support the 2/5 minute games too.

Star Soldier R was originally the PS2/GC remake of Star Soldier but it was never released in the west. I doubt the retail version was limited like this.

Ian SaneMay 21, 2008

Quote:

BTW Ian, you don't need an oven timer, the Star Soldier games support the 2/5 minute games too.

Really?!  Then how could anyone justify getting this?

I'd argue it should be avoided just to try to ensure a decent level of quality in WiiWare titles.  If you ever give a videogame company the idea that they can scam you into buying junk they will.  $8 for what is almost literally a demo is an outright con.

WindyManSteven Rodriguez, Staff AlumnusMay 22, 2008

There seems to be a whole lot of argument over this review even though everyone here seems to agree with it.

Quote:

People will see Star Soldier R in one of two ways. Most people will see that it's just a five-minute high score contest with two levels and no other meaningful content, and brush it off as a waste of money. Even people who are fans of shoot-'em-up games will realize there's better value in similar Virtual Console games.

However, once you actually sit down and dig into Hudson's little shooter, the game shows its true colors. For only being five minutes long at its maximum, Star Soldier R is extremely addicting, highly replayable, and good fun. Those that can drop the assumptions about the game's length and relative value will see a well-designed experience.

If you know the VC Star Soldier games are a better value than the WiiWare Star Soldier game, you'll brush if off as a waste of money.  If don't know that and drop the assumptions about the game's length and relative value, you'll see it's a well-designed experience.

This is why you didn't see me factor in the price in the review.  (We make it a policy to try and avoid that.)  How much the game costs is irrelevant to how good or bad it is.  I just called it like I saw it, and it turns out I liked what I saw.  If you don't like what's being offered for the price, that's your decision.  But it doesn't change the quality of the actual product, now does it?

Quote from: KDR_11k

Star Soldier R was originally the PS2/GC remake of Star Soldier but it was never released in the west.

No, Star Soldier R is a totally new game designed specifically for the Hudson Caravan.  There were never plans to make it into a full game (unlike many previous Caravan shooters).

Ian SaneMay 22, 2008

Quote:

This is why you didn't see me factor in the price in the review.  (We make it a policy to try and avoid that.)  How much the game costs is irrelevant to how good or bad it is.

I'd argue that price IS important for a download only game.  A physical game's price can fluctuate.  At release it might be $60 and doesn't seem quite worth the money but I can find it years later used for $10 and it's easily worth it.  You never know what price a person can get it at so it's fair to ignore it.

But have we ever seen a VC game lower in price?  We could someday but right now it seems like VC titles, and thus I'd assume Wii Ware games as well, stay at one price.  I can't find Star Solidier R in the clearance bin at Toys 'R' Us for 2 bucks.  It will always be the same price unless Hudson decides to change it.  So in that case I think price does come into play.  You can't get a deal on this game.

WindyManSteven Rodriguez, Staff AlumnusMay 22, 2008

Quote from: Ian

I'd argue that price IS important for a download only game.  A physical game's price can fluctuate.  At release it might be $60 and doesn't seem quite worth the money but I can find it years later used for $10 and it's easily worth it.  You never know what price a person can get it at so it's fair to ignore it.

But have we ever seen a VC game lower in price?  We could someday but right now it seems like VC titles, and thus I'd assume Wii Ware games as well, stay at one price.  I can't find Star Solidier R in the clearance bin at Toys 'R' Us for 2 bucks.  It will always be the same price unless Hudson decides to change it.  So in that case I think price does come into play.  You can't get a deal on this game.

I paid $8 for Star Soldier R and have put three or four hours into it so far, with more coming in the future.  I paid $10 for LostWinds, got 2½ hours out of it, and won't be playing it again.  I got a good deal out Star Soldier R and felt cheated a bit on LostWinds, but LostWinds is still a better game and they are still both good games.

From what I gather, your argument boils down to "Star Soldier R is a bad game because it's a rip-off."  ("$8 for what is almost literally a demo is an outright con," etc.)  Well, no ... most reviews say it's a good game that some people may find a bit too expensive for their liking.  Weighing price versus value is something that's up to the consumer, not the reviewer, because they're ultimately the one buying the games.  All we as reviewers can do is independently tell them whether or not it's any good.

Think of it this way.  We don't look upon cheap, bad games any differently because they're cheap.  A bad game is a bad game at any price.  So shouldn't it follow that a good game is a good game game at any price?

So a good game is still a good game at $160 purchase price, just not likely to be a very sensible...umm... purchase?

This review and discussion has convinced me to buy Super Star  Soldier on the VC, partially because it has more content, but mostly because it's over 100 blocks less in file size.

Quote from: Kairon

So a good game is still a good game at $160 purchase price, just not likely to be a very sensible...umm... purchase?

Yes, Rock Band is a good game.

DAaaMan64May 22, 2008

Nah I don't mind either way, I like it when a reviewer suggests it may be a rip off for the price. I hear all the time reviewers saying "wait till it hits the bargain bin." 

It's also the same thing as saying a game is just a renter and not worth buying.  Plenty of NWR reviews have had that suggestion in them.

More evidence that the dominant game criticism system is flawed and does a disservice to both the profession and readers.*

*These opinions and commentary are provided for entertainment purposes only, and only reflect the views and beliefs of the individual and not NWR or any other entity, body, or organization as a whole. If Kairon loses his job, you'll know what happend. ~_^

If Evan gets a promotion though...

KDR_11kMay 22, 2008

For reference, this is the GC version.

insanolord: There's so many Star Soldier games on the VC you should compare which one to get. E.g. I found Final Soldier to be much more interesting than Super Star Soldier.

WindyManSteven Rodriguez, Staff AlumnusMay 22, 2008

Quote from: insanolord

Yes, Rock Band is a good game.

Owned.

I've been looking at reviews of lots of them, Super Star Soldier is in the lead right now, but I'm still not done looking. This review made me realize I'm in the mood for a good high score challenge.

Ian SaneMay 22, 2008

Quote:

Weighing price versus value is something that's up to the consumer, not the reviewer, because they're ultimately the one buying the games.  All we as reviewers can do is independently tell them whether or not it's any good.

Fair enough, thought that attitude isn't consistent.  As DAaaMan64 mentioned the "buy vs rent" opinion often comes up.  I remember back on the Gamecube Resident Evil 2 and 3 got raked over the coals for being straight last-gen ports with no new features sold at full price.  Not saying NWR was doing it (can't remember if they did) but that stuff isn't uncommon.  Those games are definitely good but the price affected reviews.  Ditto with stuff like the Splinter Cell games on the Cube frequently getting lower scores because they lacked the online modes that other versions had.  Again that isn't really an independent review of quality.  The Gamecube version is still good, even if the Xbox version is better.  That's kind of in the realm of letting the consumer decide what matters to them.

Stuff like Consumer Report does take into account price.  But then that is a bit different.  Movie and album reviews don't take into account price but then the price is rarely an issue in those cases.

I really don't care if someone wants to pay $8 for this, though if their actions spawn a trend I'll be upset.  I didn't care if Gamecube owners bought a brand new Wii specifically for a Zelda game that was going to be available on the console they already owned.  I was worried about the message that would send however and sure enough I was dead on, as last-gen ports are very common on the Wii.  I had similar concerns over people buying individual Mario Advance games on the GBA.  Nintendo had years earlier established the precedence of a Mario compilation in Super Mario All-Stars and buying those same games for effectively four times the price could undo that precedence, which it did.  I also was concerned that if Nintendo felt they could get by with just re-releasing old Mario games they wouldn't have to make a new 2D Mario for the GBA.  If you want to get ripped off I don't care, but I didn't get a new Mario side-scroller until the DS because of that.

So if over-priced Wii Ware games that come across as unfinished product become the norm I'm going to be a tad peaved if those that bought Star Soldier R helped make that happen.  So I think price vs value is pretty important.  Reckless spenders just make things more expensive for responsible people.  It happens at all levels of consumerism, not just videogames.

Quote from: Ian

Reckless spenders just make things more expensive for responsible people.

I'm not reckless. I'm responsible. But for my needs, not yours.

If so-called "irresponsible" spending might result in an influx of point-and-click adventure games, for instance, I would be proud and delighted to have been a motivating factor.

Smoke39May 23, 2008

Quote from: insanolord

I've been looking at reviews of lots of them, Super Star Soldier is in the lead right now, but I'm still not done looking. This review made me realize I'm in the mood for a good high score challenge.

I found Soldier Blade to be more accessible than Super Star Soldier.  SSS's harder, though, if that's what you're into.

animecyberratMay 23, 2008

well Super Star Soldier is the only game in the series I have at the moment, and it is a lot of fun as well as pretty hard.

If i had more money I would gladly own the entire series, Star Soldier R included, these are my favorite all time genre and too few good games get made anymore in this style.

Quote from: Smoke39

Quote from: insanolord

I've been looking at reviews of lots of them, Super Star Soldier is in the lead right now, but I'm still not done looking. This review made me realize I'm in the mood for a good high score challenge.

I found Soldier Blade to be more accessible than Super Star Soldier.  SSS's harder, though, if that's what you're into.

I already have Soldier Blade, I like it but I don't get much excitement from it because it feels too easy. I barely died and I rarely ever felt like I was in danger. I'm not someone that's usually good at shmups (the exception being Galaga, which I'm only good at because of how much I play it), and I hadn't played Soldier Blade in months but I felt like I was just coasting through it.

animecyberratMay 23, 2008

have you tried Bio-Hazard battle? It's pretty hard and can be a lot of fun.Plus it is a side scrolling game and 2 player.

For some reason I don't really like horizontal scrolling shooters, I much prefer vertical. That's one of the only negatives I see in Blast Works.

animecyberratMay 23, 2008

oh I agree, but for some reason I really liked Bio-Hazard Battle, turns out after awhile I discovered I sorta like them all really. I think it was Kirby and XEXYZ that got me to really get into the side scrolling shooter mood though.

Smoke39May 23, 2008

Quote from: insanolord

Quote from: Smoke39

Quote from: insanolord

I've been looking at reviews of lots of them, Super Star Soldier is in the lead right now, but I'm still not done looking. This review made me realize I'm in the mood for a good high score challenge.

I found Soldier Blade to be more accessible than Super Star Soldier.  SSS's harder, though, if that's what you're into.

I already have Soldier Blade, I like it but I don't get much excitement from it because it feels too easy. I barely died and I rarely ever felt like I was in danger. I'm not someone that's usually good at shmups (the exception being Galaga, which I'm only good at because of how much I play it), and I hadn't played Soldier Blade in months but I felt like I was just coasting through it.

Bah.  I never did beat Soldier Blade.

I tend to prefer vertical shmups, but horizontal is nice for a change sometimes.  There seem to be more good horizontal console shmups than vertical.  I don't think I've ever played a console vertical shmup that I liked as much as something like Battle Bakraid or Dangun Feveron.

I never beat it, I quit after a few levels of not being challenged. I probably would have been challenged later on, but I didn't feel like playing for that long without challenge every time I started up the game.

KDR_11kMay 23, 2008

rat: Shmups come out by the dozen on the PC. They're mostly on the internet though.

BTW, if you want a hard shmup try Radio Zonde. It defaults to infinite lives but that can be changed in the options.

Smash_BrotherMay 23, 2008

I used to be a reasonable fan of vertical shooters (anyone remember "Battle Squadron"?) but I've long since become rather terrible at them and don't really have what it takes anymore.

Also, I think the formula needs some severe revamping. Some WiiWare dev needs to get the lead out and give this genre a fresh coat of paint...

animecyberratMay 23, 2008

oh I know that, I wasn't counting those because they are not "real" games to me. I get them included with bundle cd's filled with tons of other useless games nobody wants. I meant on that for the systems I own they haven't' had any good ones in a long time.

I got Super Star Soldier, and despite the fact that I'm dying a lot, I haven't been able to come close to beating the first level, and it's crazy fast and so hectic that sometimes I can't tell what's going on, I absolutely love it and am having huge amounts of fun playing it.

KDR_11kMay 24, 2008

Huh? The first level is easy, the second gives me issues.

rat: Uh, nope, they aren't in compilations unless someone burns a DVD with all the warez he can fit.

Like I said, I'm not usually very good at shmups. I'm improving at the first level, but I can't manage to get more than a couple shots at the boss before I get killed. The blue weapon is my favorite.

animecyberratMay 26, 2008

all of the ones I have seen, have come on compilation discs. 

but you have to remember I am NOT a PC gamer at all, my computer is not comfortable to sit at and my hardware is outdated.

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Genre Shooter
Developer Hudson Soft
Players1
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Star Soldier R
Release May 19, 2008
PublisherNintendo
RatingEveryone
jpn: Star Soldier R
Release Mar 25, 2008
PublisherHudson Soft
RatingAll Ages
eu: Star Soldier R
Release May 20, 2008
PublisherHudson Soft
Rating7+
aus: Star Soldier R
Release May 20, 2008
PublisherHudson Soft
RatingGeneral

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