Sunday, February 19, 2012

Game of the Day - Sol Divide

Sol Divide is a nouveau horizontal shooter that throws in a little hack & slash.  The first thing you'll notice about Sol Divide is its graphics.  They are a very nice attempt at quasi photo-realistic blended graphics - combining colorful foregrounds with rich and incredible backgrounds.  Since this was an early attempt at this kind of art, they can sometimes be a bit muddy or unsharp, but that being said, after playing more levels recently, I have an even deeper appreciation for the graphics.

You are a flying warrior in fantasy/medieval times zooming past great landscapes and huge castles.  You fight warriors of many shapes, sizes and colors, and many are very difficult to defeat (they take many hits before croaking).  Bosses and mini-bosses populate the levels and they are often the coolest part - flying dragons, two headed snakes, and all kinds of evil are there to take you down.

The game is played with the joystick and three buttons... Shoot, slash & change magic.  You deploy the pre-chosen magic by pushing the shoot and slash buttons at the same time.  There are many different types of magic to collect, and they have icons that sit in a row near the top of the screen.  The 3rd button selects between them so you can choose which magic to reign down on your enemies.

From what I have played, the slashing does much more damage to your enemies than the shooting - but, of course, it's more risky since you have to be right next to your opponent to hack them.  And there are the (ever-present in these games) power-ups.  You need to get magic power-ups to be able to use your magic, and weapons power-ups make you more lethal.  You can also obtain more lifeforce throughout the game... Sol Divide is one of those games that you play with a life bar that goes down and then the game is over when the bar is empty (as opposed to having a certain number of lives).  You can combat this by collecting all the life power-ups floating around.

It's a visual feast, but with lots of action.  And the hack/slashing makes it a somewhat different game from many horz shooters.  Another gem from Psikyo.

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