The first game, named Star Soldier, appeared on the MSX and NES in 1986, and the series has continued on various gaming systems. Star Soldier itself has received enhanced remakes for both the GameCube and PlayStation 2 in 2003, and a different remake for the PlayStation Portable in 2005, while the latest installment of the series was released on the Wii as a WiiWare game in 2008. In addition, Super Star Soldier, Final Soldier, Soldier Blade and Star Parodier have been re-released on the Wii's Virtual Console and on the Japanese PC Engine's Best Collection lineup for the PSP.
Star Soldier was developed as a spiritual successor to Tecmo's Star Force, from which it borrows most of its gameplay elements. The Star Force series, along with Hudson's Star Soldier, was often featured in the popular Japanese gaming tournament known as "Hudson All-Japan Caravan Festival."  Home ports of Star Soldier games would sometimes feature "Caravan" modes in which the player would race through timed stages while trying to accumulate a high score.
Being an arcade-style game, Star Soldier's objective is primarily based on achieving a high score. The series often makes use of hidden destructible tiles that offer bonus points when shot, but may occasionally power-up the player's ship instead. Bonus points will also be awarded for defeating sequences of enemy formations while they're within a certain proximity to the player's ship, or defeating mini bosses before they have a chance to attack.