Game Review - by James Allen
The fine folks over at GameActive Networks have been kind enough to provide a beta version of their upcoming arcade shooter Solaris 104. This "old school" offering hopes to provide the same adrenaline mayhem as the old side scrolling shooters. Let's see what's in the game so far!
Solaris 104 provides us with a side scrolling single player shooting extravaganza. With a game like this, you can't really put multiplayer into it, and (not surprisingly), it is absent here. There isn't any precious hard drive space sucked up by Solaris 104, and you don't need 3D acceleration: both pluses for those of us with slow computers. You can set up the controls for both the keyboard and a joystick, although if you have two joysticks active (like I do), you can't set the controls to the second one. The game allows you to resume the game if you choose to exit (like if your laundry is done) where you left off. There is a multitude of ships, weapons, and associated nonsense, but I'll talk about that in Gameplay. So there!
The sound is pretty much what you would expect: lots of lasers, explosions, and other standard fare for a shooter. Nothing too terribly impressive here, but it does fit the game like a glove, so that's something to be noted.
Solaris 104 features many levels of white-knuckled shooting action. You can choose between three ships: fighter, bomber, and scout, which have varying levels of speed, shields, and weapons. As for the weapons themselves, they all have a normal and a charged mode: if you wait a period of time to fire said weapon, it will unleash a more powerful version of itself. We have two-way guns, heat seekers, phasers, spreads, and bolt guns. To help you out, there is a large number of items to be collected. They cover certain areas as powerups, shields, secondary guns, drones, invincibility, invisibility, and full charge. All of these add up to a sensory overload, with masses of enemies coming at you, and you're firing back with piles of lasers and such. Also, at the end of each level, there is a boss to contend with. Really, this has been done before in other games, but I'll be darned if it still ain't fun.
The graphics are actually quite good, even though the maximum resolution is 640 by 480. All of the weapons, ships, and enemies are rendered in fine detail, and I'll give in to the atmosphere of the game. The main problem with the graphics is the inability to determine which solid objects are in the foreground or at the same level as your vessel. That is, until you run into it. This is the really the only annoying aspect of the graphics, and you'll get over the low resolution (you had BETTER, punk) because the game still looks nice.
Solaris 104 revives the classic shooting game from days of old. With a multitude of shooting options and pretty good graphics (without all that high resolution baloney), we will be anticipating the release of the final version in November, and you should be too!