PC Engine: Compile Shooters (Super Star Soldier, Blazing Lazers/Gunhed, Soldier Blade, Final Soldier)

[Editor’s Note/Admission of Guilt: This was originally going to focus solely on Super Star Solider, but I realized that all of Compile’s PC Engine shooters fall into the same description I’ll be writing about here.]


There are four games made by Compile and Hudson Soft for the PC Engine. They each involve spaceships shooting at other things that might be spaceships over the course of six or seven levels, each one more difficult than the last.

These details are not important. This one is:



Pressing Select at the title screen of each of these games brings up these options, “2 Minute Game,” and “5 Minute Game.” This is where the real game lies.

You get two or five minutes to fly through a level, shooting as many enemies down and earning as many points as you can. Of all of humanity’s greatest enemies; Hitler, Bush, “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, they don’t stack up with Father Time. There’s just never enough time for things. And that’s the one enemy in all of this that you cannot beat. Once that clock runs out, that’s it; here’s your score, brag about it to your nerd friends. It’s surprisingly realistic that way.



These games live up to the phrase, “the journey is more important than the destination.” Those two-minute bursts of video game are some immensely satisfying stuff. Constantly beating your or someone else’s previous score and finding that perfect “line” that makes you just that much better is the real goal, not (just) getting to a “Congratulations” screen like in other games.

I hate doing these short, barely there paragraph long write ups, but I can only say so much about playing a five minute game before it becomes redundant. Sorry about that.

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