(PSN) Söldner-X: Himmelsstürmer
It’s Full Of Stars...
Posted 4 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
The galaxy is in peril and it’s up to you save it. SideQuest Studios and eastasiasoft bring you Söldner-X: Himmelsstürmer to the PlayStation Network, a horizontal, side-scrolling shooting game. Does this manage to save mankind or does it only cause more harm than good? Read further to find out.
Söldner-X is German for Mercenary-10 and in this shooter you play as the tenth and final pilot in the hopes of preventing an evil source from destroying our galaxy. It seems that your Renegade flying skills are the best shot mankind has at saving itself. You must travel through 4 different worlds in order to reach and prevent this evil from destroying us.
This is your standard side-scrolling shooter. You control a ship and must battle wave upon wave of enemies as you travel to your final destination. From the moment you start, you are thrown into a challenge having to battle various enemies and environments in order to reach the end of each world. Your arsenal starts off small, but if you survive long-enough and manage to pick up the right power-ups and weapons, you might be able to be a hero.
The combat system places the emphasis on weapon chaining. If you use your weapon successfully for a certain amount of time your chain meter increases. If you manage to change weapons and continue the chain and you’ll unlock random power-ups and increase your attack strength. If you overuse or switch weapons before filling up the chain bar, you will after to start over again. It’s a great idea, but it doesn’t always pan out as you’ll play majority of the game with your two most basic weapons. The two other weapons are only offered late in the game and do not stay in your arsenal for very long to be able to chain all four of them. Also, because of the emphasis on power-ups, your first weapon, the Pulse rifle, ends up being the most effective one.
The game is incredibly difficult even on its ‘Very Easy’ setting. When you first start playing, you are only given one credit and three lives, which will not get you to the end of the game unless you are a pro at side-scrolling shooters. There is a rank system where you are rewarded the more you play the game. As you progress, you’ll get access to more credits which, in turn, help you complete the game. It’s a nice idea, but because of the game’s difficulty, chances are only those who actually dedicate the time and fight through the frustrations will reap from the benefits this has to offer.
While the game has four distinct worlds, the level designs can be quite problematic. The first world is fairly straight-forward with only one section near the end that causes problems. That quickly changes once you start playing the second world where you will not only have to battle your foes but the screen and your environments as well. Like most side scrolling games, the screen moves independently and there will be times when you will have to fly through enemy fire or else get stuck in certain spots and die. In fact, there might be times when you will die only to get re-spawned in a in a corner or behind a wall which causes you to quickly lose another life. The fact that obstacles create an added challenge will frustrate most people.
Graphics and Sound
For what it’s worth, Söldner-X’s graphics are quite appealing. There is a lot of variety in the enemies as each world has more than a dozen different opponents you will encounter. Unfortunately, some of them do not really stand out. In areas which contain turrets or stationary opposition, you might not notice them as their colors do not stand out. This may cause you to accidentally fly into them and seriously damage your health. Since there is a lot of action occurring on the screen, I was surprised that the game did not suffer any frame-rate issues or slow-down, but that might be because the backgrounds in each world are pretty static. While you won’t be blown away at what is on offer here, credit must be given to the emphasis placed on having your screen filled for long periods of time with the action never losing a beat.
As for the sound, the soundtrack is very techno and tries to mimic the frantic action on the screen. It probably won’t appeal to many people, but in reality, you won’t be spending too much time listen to the music. The game does contain some voiceovers but those are very annoying, since the voice often repeats or speaks to you in German, which chances are, you won’t understand.
The game does offer a two-player co-op mode which makes the game a bit easier. If you decide to play with a friend, they’ll have to play in the same room as you since there is no online co-op. You two share power-ups and your health bar but thankfully your weapon powers are independent of each other. The game is significantly easier when played with two people, but the game does not keep track of scoring nor does it help to increase your rank in single player.
From start to finish, Söldner-X will only take you about an hour to complete. Each World is about 10-15 minutes depending on how long it takes you to beat each World’s end-boss. The boss battles are long and drawn out to the point that there is a timer that appears if you take too long and if you do, the punishment is losing all your lives. Chances are you won’t finish this in your first sitting, so if you do invest the time, you will be playing for a while before you actually manage to complete the game. There are six game difficulties but once you beat it once, unless you are a side-scrolling fanatic, you won’t bother to try out the Impossible or Nightmare settings. Lastly, there are secret picks up that can be collected in each world and the ranking system does prolong the experience if you don’t give up after your first few attempts.
In the end, your enjoyment of Söldner-X will lie solely on how fond you are of Shoot-em-ups. Those unfamiliar with side-scrolling shooters will be put off by the game’s difficulty while veterans may not experience anything new to make this game stand out from other similar titles. I would still recommend giving it a shot, but try to forget about the frustration and just let yourself loose on the action since it does not give up.
+ Plenty of Frantic Action
+ A lot of different Power-ups available
+ Rewards you for dedicated play
- …Even on Very Easy
- No Online Co-Op
- Awkward and Questionable Level Design
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Release Date : 2008/12/04
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : EastAsiaSoft
Developer : SideQuest Studios
Category : Shoot’Em’Up
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
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