There weren’t a lot of shoot ’em up games released during the Sega CD lifespan but in my opinion, Sol-Feace and Android Assault are two of the better ones. The first I will cover, Sol-Feace, was the pack-in title for the model 1 launch in Oct 1992. What’s the plot of Sol-Feace? I don’t really know…my copy is loose with no manual and after reading the Wikipedia page I still don’t think knowing the plot enhances my experience. Shoot ’em ups are all about exciting gameplay, interesting levels and bosses, cool power-ups and finding that perfect balance between challenge and fun. I think Sol-Feace accomplishes this and while the graphics and music don’t really show off the Sega CD in the way that a FMV game would have, the playability factor makes it a nice launch pack-in title. To find a copy today isn’t difficult and even a complete copy with jewel case won’t set you back too much.
Android Assault on the other hand, isn’t one of the more common Sega CD titles despite it being a fairly standard shooter. Like Sol-Feace, you guide your ship through wave after wave of enemies while picking up power-ups to enhance your attack. Each additional power-up acts as a enemy barrier so if you get hit, you simply lose a power-up level instead of a life. Once you’ve lost all of your power-up levels and you get hit by an enemy, you lose a life. This is not unlike Mario going from Super to little once he’s hit by an enemy. There are also mini-bosses but they have a tendency to get repetitive throughout the levels. Android Assault’s music is a standout and takes advantage of the CD format even if the graphics and gameplay don’t add much beyond what the Genesis could have offered. All in all, definitely a positive addition to any Sega CD collection if you can afford it.
I really don’t care for loose copies of Sega CD games or any CD game for that matter. A CD game in a generic jewel case doesn’t appeal to me as a collector but unfortunately, Sega CD games (after the original launch titles) were packaged in brittle plastic long box cases. This means that finding a Sega CD game in good condition is considered fairly rare 25 years after their release. The tell-tale blue frames and spines are an easy visual signal you are looking at a Sega CD game. I find the overall look of the games to be attractive and have no interest in buying loose games to add to my collection. I hope to someday swap out my loose Sol-Feace with the original small red cardboard jewel-case copy at some point. I was very pleased to find a good condition Android Assault to add to my collection and consider it one of my crown jewels of my Sega CD collection.
Currently in my collection:
- Android Assault: The Revenge of Bari-Arm – game, manual, case. Solid gameplay with high fun factor but not exactly revolutionary. B+
- Sol-Feace – game only. Probably could have been a Genesis title….oh wait, it kind of was and it was called Sol-Deace. B