A star with soul? Works for me!

Soulstar [Mission-Based Shooting Game]


U.S. Game Front

Soulstar is often compared to Galaxy Force due to the perspective.

Galaxy Force II for Sega Genesis

A comparison shot!

Electronic Gaming Monthly Said That
Fans Of Galaxy Force Would Be
Pleased To See Soulstar. They Are
Similar In Perspective.

Gria tells you what you need to know.

Gria's Mission Briefings (Voice Done By
Yvonne Varnier) Are Done On
The Screen Shown Here.

-General Information-
Version: U.S.
Year: 1994
Publisher: Core Design
Developer(s) and Others: Core Design
ESRB Rating: Kids to Adults
# of Players: 1 or 2
# of Blocks: None
# of Discs: 1
Estimated Market Value as of 08/28/2007: $15 - $?? (USD)
Other Info: Distributed exclusively in North America by Time Warner Interactive. You can see a company profile from Neoseeker here. You can see a wiki article on Time Warner here. You can also see their official corporate site here. Electronic Gaming Monthly, Gamepro, and Game Fan all talked about Soulstar (See case back in the scans section). The "C" in the past core logos were shaped like Pac-Man. "Soulstar" can also be spelled "SOULSTAR" or "SoulStar". The manual and case use all three spellings and some others use "Soul Star".

The manual explains the story of this game quite well, but as far as in-game story, the plot is pretty straightforward. You are Bryk Hammelt, a Cryo-commando who sets out on his spaceship, the Treaghon, to destroy the dreaded Myrkoids. The Myrkoids drain the life and energy out of every planet they come in contact with and thus they are a threat to the entire universe. Armed with "The Aggressor", Bryk's morphing battle vehicle, you must sail the Soulstar system and hunt down the Myrkoids until they are annihilated. Gria, the Treaghon's sentient computer (with a feminine voice) will guide you and brief you in as to your objective given the circumstances. The plot is pretty decent for a shooter, but it isn't all too great.

Soulstar had a bit of hype back in the days with mentions from numerous publications...and why not? It's a good thing to hear of Sega CD release that isn't a game filled with nothing but movie action. Graphically speaking, the game utilizes some basic 3-D graphics and the game perspective is from behind the ship. The graphics are impressive for a space shooter. While the game takes place in outer space, I'm glad that the game uses a little diversity in terms of design and variety. In other words, you aren't always thrown in empty regions of space. You will battle over water (and underwater as well), through tunnels, underground, and more! There are also a couple of 3-D stages that require you to follow different locations on a map, rather than follow the set course of traditional horizontal or vertical shooting stages. To that effect, the game is well done and offers more scope to the player than the average shooter.

To add to the great visuals, the game also has remarkable audio that makes this space saga one to remember. The composition is excellent and there are 18 tunes...each track being named. This makes the game seem a little more inspired rather than just selecting "BGM 21" or "0C" or something like that. Overall, the game is quite showy in its presentation and with its "Star Wars-esque" soundtrack, Core Design Inc. put the Sega CD hardware to good use and the game is one shining example of what the Sega CD can do as far as visual and audio.

The only area where Soulstar happens falls a little short is in gameplay. Truth be told, the staff that made this game is very small and I must give credit where credit is due. Games like this, Puggsy, and Flink do damn good jobs considering the lack of staff. I see the clear effort put behind this game. There are games in this genre made by much larger staffs that aren't nearly as competent. Firstly, you should know that the Aggressor has three different forms. Your primary form is the "Sub-light Strike Craft". You pilot this fast and agile ship in the standard missions. The standard missions function like traditional shooters and require you to fly on a set course while blasting everything in sight. The second is the "Turbo Copter". It is suited for attacks within 360 degree environments and can also go underwater. You must use this form to play various "3-D" stages. The last form is the "Combat Walker". This form is suited for ground combat and is a bipedal-type model. You must use this to fight underground. The game has a total of ten different weapons and various modes of play and is also two players with one player controlling the ship while the other player attacks.

This all sounds great until you actually get into the game. I guess my primary gripe lies with the controls. Whenever you shoot and move, you bullets swerve with you which can make hitting some targets a little annoying. While this isn't such a big deal in the Strike Craft levels, I found it pretty annoying in the 360 stages which resulted in several cheap deaths. When you are trying to take evasive action while firing back, your bullets shoot upward due to how your ship leans upward when you move back. While this is realistic, it kinda hampered the fun factor and some shooters don't do this for a reason. It's even worse in Soulstar's case cause on the 360 levels, there seems like no end to the cheap kamikaze robots and gun turrets. The controls in the 360 level definitely needed some work because you can find yourself sliding all over the place for no reason at all. Switching my weapons is sometimes unresponsive as well. If the controls were better, the game would probably get more praise. The game also brags about "40 missions" but it really mostly boils down to "shoot this" then "shoot that". It would be nice if you had to excavate something or rescue civilians in the Combat Walker.

Still, the game is a nice game in and of itself and a noteworthy addition to any Sega CD owners' collection. The game has moderate length, stellar audio, and excellent graphics with some good gameplay marred by a couple of control issues and a somewhat awkward 2-player mode. Keep your eyes out for this one.

- Written by Vyse the determined -

Game Screenshots

Title Screen. Options Screen Part of the opening movie. Dodge the rocks while blasting the objects on the ground and in the air. Time to pull out the big guns on this guy! This Combat Walker can also move at high speeds in the air.

This review has 12 extra images.

Audio Samples (MP3 Format)

Soulstar: Soulstar Theme [Size: 4.00MB]

Soulstar: Leira [Size: 5.17MB]

Soulstar: Twingha [Size: 4.00MB]

Soulstar: Malice Of The Myrkoids [Size: 2.76MB]

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