|Release date(s)||July 1997|
|Cabinet||Upright, sit-down enclosed cockpit|
|CPU||PowerPC 403GA @ 64 MHz
ADSP-21062 (SHARC) @ 36 MHz
|Sound||68EC000 @ 16 MHz|
|Display||Raster, horizontal orientation|
Solar Assault (ソーラーアサルト Sōrā Asaruto?) is a three-dimensional shoot 'em up released by Konami in 1997. A spin-off of the long running Gradius series, the title retains most of the gameplay characteristics of its 2D counterparts including the same enemies, protagonists, the selection bar power-up system and familiar settings. The player takes control of one of three spaceships, battling enemies and bosses in settings like underground tunnels, planet surfaces, and space fields.
The game came in three versions, two wide stand-up arcade cabinet (one Japanese and one American), and a SpeedKing deluxe simulator. The SpeedKing is an enclosed pod which tilts, using pneumatics, according to the action occurring on-screen. The American standard version had its cockpit permanently attached with the game monitor, while on the Japanese version there were separated pieces for each one of them.
The game play is similar to other 3D shooters like Star Fox, where the player must move both horizontally and vertically. Like the other games in the Gradius series, there is no health bar, meaning one hit ends up in death; however, this time the player may be able to collect a "shield" power up which can take one hit or two hits before the ship's destruction. The other major gameplay change is the ability to adjust the speed, which is necessary to time the avoidance of certain obstacles and enemies.
There are three ships to choose from:
The original levels of the first Japanese release are the following:
- River Styx
- Abyssal Forest
- Speed Demon
- Solar Assault
Solar Assault Revised
Solar Assault Revised is an updated version of Solar Assault released later in 1997, and introduced a new arcade board that was co-developed by Konami and IBM which allows five boards to be stacked on top of each other, as well as several modifications to the game, like the all-new level "Fierce Blaze", new attacks to the "Speed Demon" level boss and a total revamp on the "Abyssal Forest" level, with a new color palette and some new enemies, making it much harder than the original. Also, it has an actual final boss fight. The US version of the game was based on this one, just simply renamed as "Solar Assault".
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