Solar Assault (ソーラーアサルト Sōrā Asaruto ) 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.
In December 1997, Konami released an updated version of the game titled Solar Assault Revised. It 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 as well as several modifications to the game, like the all-new level Fierce Blaze, new attacks to the Speed Demon level boss Big Core MK II and a total revamp on the Abyssal Forest level, with a new color palette and some new enemies, making it much harder than the original. Also, it has an actual final boss fight. The US version of the game was based on this one, just simply renamed as "Solar Assault".
In the year 6852, 12 years after the Third Bacterian War, a mobile planet-like fortress appears suddenly, moving toward planet Gradius. Oddly, the planets in the fortress' path vanished to nowhere - it seemed like the planets got warped into some hyperspace zone. Planet Gradius is in danger again. Alpinia, Vic Viper, and Lord British make a sally, flying toward the mysterious fortress.
GameplayOne 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:
|1||The River Styx||Big Core MK I|
|5||Speed Demon||Big Core MK II|
|Ships||Vic Viper • Lord British • Alpinia|
|Stages (Arcade)||The River Styx • Fierce Blaze • Curse • Abyssal Forest • Speed Demon • Solar Assault|
|Bosses||Big Core MK I • Intruder • Tutankhamon • Dinosaur • Big Core MK II • Crab|
|Gradius Video Games|
|Gradius series||Gradius • Gradius II • Gradius III • Gradius Gaiden • Gradius IV • Gradius Galaxies • Gradius V • Gradius ReBirth • Gradius: The Interstellar Assault • Gradius NEO • Gradius NEO Imperial|
|Spin-offs||Salamander (Life Force) (MSX ver.)• Salamander 2 • Nemesis 2 (Nemesis '90 Kai) • Nemesis 3 • Nemesis (Game Boy) • Cosmic Wars • Solar Assault|
|Parody games||Parodius • Parodius Da! • Gokujō Parodius! • Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius • Sexy Parodius • Paro Wars • Otomedius (Otomedius Gorgeous) • Otomedius Excellent|
|Other games||Scramble • Thunder Cross • Thunder Cross II • Space Manbow • Force Gear|
|Pachislot||Gradius: The Slot • CR Parodius Da! EX • Gokuraku Parodius|
|Cancelled||Vic Viper • Gradius Arc • Salamander HD Remaster|