Friday 23 October 2015

Sol-Feace (Mega CD / Sega CD review)

Developer: Wolf Team
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1992

Sol-Feace is a shoot-em-up that was first released on the Sharp X68000 in Japan (1990).

You play the role of a resistance fighter and your mission is to destroy an evil Gatefold Computer System that rules over human inhabitants. You're initially armed with a weak gun but power-up icons enable you to add two extra guns; each individual gun can then be powered-up by collecting icons such as a Laser and Missiles. Unfortunately, the weapon range is small and the ones that are available never really make you feel like a true badass! You can also change the angle of the outside guns by pressing a direction on the d-pad when you're not firing; this is a brilliant idea and gives you a great deal of flexibility over your shots. The game is hard, mainly due to the large size of your ship's sprite. Enemy bullets constantly litter the screen and barely a second goes by when you can relax. To its credit though power-up icons are always available once you die so you're never doomed to fail like in some other shoot-em-ups. There's lots of cool explosions but the locations and enemy ships aren't terribly interesting and there's a real lack of standout moments. Some of the bosses are decent though, especially Stage 3's giant centipede, which zigzags around the screen before stopping to spew out exploding projectiles. I also love the bizarre Stage 4 boss which has huge, chomping teeth and a firing eyeball! The extra power of the Mega CD isn't really put to good use but there are some great Anime cut-scenes and excellent voice acting. The music is outstanding and the up-tempo tracks are reminiscent of songs found in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (1993, PC Engine CD).

Sol-Feace is a good shoot-em-up but there's nothing truly outstanding about it and it doesn't take full advantage of the hardware. Still, if you're looking for a highly challenging shooter with some great music you could certainly do a lot worse than this.

Random trivia: The game was also released exclusively in North America on the Sega Genesis in 1992 as Sol-Deace.

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