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Solar Assault 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.

Later in 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.

Plot

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.

Gameplay

Solar Assault Ships

Vic Viper, Lord British and Alpinia

One 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:

Stages

StageNameBoss
1 The River StyxBig Core MK I
2 Fierce BlazeIntruder
3 CurseTutankhamon
4 Abyssal ForestDinosaur
5 Speed DemonBig Core MK II
6 Solar AssaultCrab

Gallery

Solar Assault
Ships Vic ViperLord BritishAlpinia
Stages (Arcade) The River StyxFierce BlazeCurseAbyssal ForestSpeed DemonSolar Assault
Bosses Big Core MK IIntruderTutankhamonDinosaurBig Core MK IICrab
Gradius Video Games
Gradius series GradiusGradius IIGradius IIIGradius GaidenGradius IVGradius GalaxiesGradius VGradius ReBirthGradius: The Interstellar AssaultGradius NEOGradius NEO Imperial
Spin-offs Salamander (Life Force) (MSX ver.)• Salamander 2Nemesis 2 (Nemesis '90 Kai) • Nemesis 3Nemesis (Game Boy)Cosmic WarsSolar Assault
Parody games ParodiusParodius Da!Gokujō Parodius!Jikkyō Oshaberi ParodiusSexy ParodiusParo WarsOtomedius (Otomedius Gorgeous) • Otomedius X: Excellent!
Other games ScrambleFalsionThunder CrossThunder Cross IISpace ManbowForce GearTrigonXexex
Pachislot Gradius: The SlotCR Parodius Da! EXGokuraku Parodius
Cancelled Vic ViperGradius ArcSalamander HD Remaster