With the Game Boy being less than a year old, Nintendo published and released “Solar Striker” for the handheld in 1990. The vertical shooter would find critical success among the gaming community and become one of the early favorites in the growing library for the Game Boy. We’re hopping from side-to-side in this Solar Striker review!
Solar Striker Plot:
Looking at the manual for this Solar Striker review the game takes place on Earth as an alien army has invaded.
“It is now the year 2159. Earth has been attacked by forces from the planet Reticulon. Several hundred years ago, Reticulon sent messages conveying their intent to attack. The Earth Federation Government was formed, unifying the whole world. The Earth would be protected by the Federation Army.
Unfortunately, the power of the aggressive Reticulon forces proved too much for the Federation Army. Earth was subjected to a crushing defeat.
There is one last chance. The Federation Army has a secret megabase on the Moon. Here, the Earth’s finest scientists and technicians have developed an ultra-performance fighter ship. The name of this fighter is “Solar Striker”.
The only way to foil the menacing Reticulon’s mission is to fly to their home planet and destroy its core. This is where their main computer is housed — without it, they will be helpless. GOOD LUCK!”
Well, here I thought I was defending Earth in this Solar Striker review, but as it is revealed Solar Striker traveled to the planet of Reticulon and takes on their army. Which brings up numerous questions to me. What has happened to Earth? Did the Reticulon’s destroy our planet and just leave it? Did they decimate the population or turn them into slaves? You would think once they crushed Earth’s defenses they would call the planet their own, but I suppose Solar Striker heads to their home planet to take down their leaders.
Solar Striker Gameplay:
As soon as I started my Solar Striker review, I noticed the cheery tune in music. I loved it. Unfortunately, it’s the only music to the entire game so the programmers are lucky that it works and lucky that my ears enjoy the tune. The other sound effect that pleases me is the pause sound, I don’t know why but for whatever reason it soothes my ears.
There were six levels in my Solar Striker review and they are all unique with the enemies and backgrounds. When I fired up Solar Striker I thought the majority of it would take place in space. I was wrong! The first level takes place in space with the others taking place in various areas on land. There’s even a highway level!
Throughout the entire game, the difficulty of the gameplay is fair. I was never overwhelmed by enemies on screen or by bullets fired at me. Every mission felt possible, even when I died I knew that I could beat that level with a little practice or another go-around. There are over 20 different enemies you’ll face throughout the game, each with different patterns and guns.
You’ll need to power up the Solar Striker to take down these bad boys. Power capsules will float down from the top of the screen and after shooting them you’ll collect an upgrade. These upgrades will increase your single shot to a double shot to a triple shot and finally turbo missiles. Want to know the best thing about Solar Striker? When you died, you didn’t start from scratch again. I hate when you’re playing a shooter and you’re all powered up but one mistake blows your ship up and sends you back to square one in the middle of the level making it near impossible to finish the level alive. In my Solar Striker review, if I died I came back to life downgraded one level. For example, if you are maxed out with the turbo missiles, you’ll respawn with the triple shot. It makes death much easier to deal with!
Levels end with boss fights. I found that the first three were relatively easy to defeat. Things got intense with the stage four boss, he was a real pain in my butt as he fired about eight shots at you in various directions. The only way you can defeat him is by shooting his center but that’s a lot easier said than done. I had to replay him almost ten times during my Solar Striker review before I survived. The length of the levels is short, taking about a minute or two to cruise through before facing the end. When I died, I knew that it wouldn’t take me long to get back to where I was. My favorite level was the highway level. Tanks and trucks rolled down on roads in front of my ship attacking me from the ground. It was clever and added extra details. Although this takes place on another planet, it strangely felt like Earth.
My disappointment was the end of the game. After difficult battles against stage four and five bosses, the final boss is nothing more than what looks like an ant hill. I destroyed it on my first try. Wimp! Sure, the game is short but I enjoyed it and it’s perfect for the Game Boy. The graphics are nothing special but the gameplay is smooth and the bosses look good.
No memories here! I never played Solar Striker until I chose to review it after reading about how it was one of the best-selling games for the Game Boy.
Solar Striker Review Score:
Solar Strike is a great game to introduce to new players of the shooter genre. It’s short but fair. There’s never too much chaos on the screen and the levels are unique. It’s not space the entire game, in fact as I said there’s only one space level! Give it a try if you want a shooter that leans more on the easier side.
Solar Striker scores an 8.4 out of 10.
What would you write in your Solar Striker review? Do you remember Solar Striker as a kid? Was it a technological marvel at the time of its release? How does it compare to other shooters that you’ve played? What was your favorite boss and level? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!