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Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth Preview

Publisher - Hudson Soft
Developer - Hudson Soft
Platform - N64
Release Date - March 1999
Type - Action

Although Hudson hasn't made up its mind about a US release, Japanese gamers are also playing Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth on their N64s. The Hudson overhead shooter is the sequel to the popular 2D shooter Star Soldier, which came out for the NES in 1986.

While the 64-bit sequel preserves the basic vertical scrolling gameplay of the original, it delivers all the upgrades one would expect from a Nintendo 64 game. This includes polygonal graphics, brightly glowing weapons effects and gigantic 3D explosions.

The player chooses from three ships, each varying in mobility and weaponry, and heads out on an assault on the Zeograd Army. There are seven stages all together, with three bonus stages, ranging from space based battle zones to attack runs over intergalactic oceans. In addition to regular shield and weapons power-ups, you can earn bonus "hit combos" if you destroy more than 100 enemies. Hudson says that with three levels of difficulty, the game is exciting for beginners, and a challenge for experts to get high scores.

Besides the Normal Mode, which follows a storyline, there's a Caravan Mode as well. Caravan Mode is essentially a Time Attack gameplay in which the player must get as high a score possible within either two or five minutes. This Caravan Mode has made the original shooter a popular centerpiece for large-scale videogame contest in Japan.

Star Soldier was released in Japan on July 10. With the renewed interest in space shooters spawned by Square's Einhander on the PSX, we're sure someone will pick it up for release in the west. Look for more info on this returning classic soon.