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Solar Assault (ソーラーアサルトグラディウス sōrā asaruto guradiiusu ) is a three-dimensional shoot 'em up released by Konami in 1997. As its title may suggest, the game is a spin-off to the long running Gradius series. This 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 two versions, a wide stand-up arcade cabinet, and a SpeedKing deluxe simulator. The SpeedKing is an enclosed pod which tilts, using pneumatics, according to the action occurring on-screen.
The game play is similar to other 3D shooters like Star Fox, where the player must move both horizontally and vertically. One change from previous Gradius games is that the player now has a health bar; the ship will not immediately destruct upon the slightest shot or collision. 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:
- BP 592A Vic Viper
- LS-379G Lord British
- WC-672H Alpinia
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.